I used to hang out at Danny’s Confectionary on 8th Street when I was a kid. Danny’s attracted everyone in my neighborhood, kids and adults. It had a juke box with all the latest Led Zeppelin songs, two pinball machines that paid off, and a feeling of excitement. Danny also sold the staples: bread, milk, lunch meats and lots of canned foods. If you ate a chipped ham sandwich from your lunch box, it probably came from Danny’s.
That physical site, now boarded up, gave way to giant supermarkets and convenience store chains, but for a while it was the center of the universe for many people, a place to meet, learn the latest, get supplies and hang out.
Danny’s Wasn’t Unlike Today’s Websites
When Danny opened his doors for business, he had to GET FOUND. Sure, he had a brick and mortar location in the neighborhood, but people didn’t automatically go in. He had to build a following. He had to stock up on the things people wanted, both physically and emotionally. Then, he had to bring people in one-by-one.People visit websites that have been engineered to ATTRACT their ATTENTION. Click To Tweet
Use SEO To Get Found
Danny lived in simpler times and with less competition. Today’s e-customers are overwhelmed with choices from around the world. If you sell on the internet, you have great competition. People don’t automatically visit your site. They visit the sites that have been engineered to ATTRACT their ATTENTION. That means, you need find ways to make people come to you. This requires you to understand technical esoterica such as: off-page and on-page links, meta-tags, 301 redirects, XML, site maps, flash and animation, and other important terms.
You Must Have a Well-Designed Website
Danny had a simple store front. As I recall, he had a four foot Coca-Cola sign on one side of the building and a four foot Pepsi cola sign on the other. He also had some handmade signs in the bay windows, such as, “Lebanon bologna. 25 cents a pound.” He didn’t go in much for DESIGN, perhaps that’s why his doors are boarded over.
You cannot survive in today’s web word without a well-designed website. As they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a great FIRST IMPRESSION. You have limited space, unlike Danny’s three story building. You need to put the right images in the right places and make the site easy to navigate. You need to make things accessible. If you don’t, people will leave your site in seconds.
Content is King (or Queen or Ruler, or Whatever Hierarchy You Use)
Most importantly, Danny had the goods that people needed, the lunchmeat for the lunch pails of the railroad workers who lived in the neighborhood. If you want your website to succeed, you most certainly need the GOODS, that is, the CONTENT. Your website must announce, in a heartbeat, the reasons why viewers should buy from you. When people visit websites, they use rapid cognition; they judge you in a flash. For that reason you need to have a clear site, one that’s easy to navigate. Most importantly, you need to have something worth saying and reading.
The messages of your site need to give readers an education, something they don’t already know. That means quality content. Are you saying something unique? If not, try again. Are you saying it with simplicity? If not, try again. Are you keeping the content fresh? If not, try again and again and again. Use plain language. Tell stories. Avoid jargon.
Bring The Customer To You With Inbound Marketing
The convenience stores put Danny out of business. Danny didn’t have the vision or energy to expand. You, too, need to expand. You can do that by blogging, tweeting and using the popular forms of social media, that is, by being social, by getting yourself out there. Be energetic. Comment on others’ blogs, re-tweet the great tweets, like and share the content that appeals to you and your customers. Above all, make your content shareable and social.
When your customers start coming to you, IN-BOUND, you will find yourself saving money and time. When they come to you, make sure you have an effective CALL-TO-ACTION. Create landing pages for your transactions and create easy-to-use forms that capture the basic and most important information you need.
You can succeed where Danny failed. Find the ways to optimize your business, your website. Design the site to be easy to use and attractive; don’t make it look like a building with homemade signs. Create unique, interesting and useful content; don’t rehash the same old same old. Convert the people who have visited your site. If you’re not sure how to do these things, find a pro to help you. The small investment you make will pay for itself quickly.