Visual Communication Group’s Webtools is an essential component to your success competing online locally for prospective customers. Whether they find you through word of mouth, searching the internet or other means, having the right Web Presence empowers you to present your business in a way that supports your professionalism, expertise and brand.
But it doesn’t start and end with Webtools – there are many other actions you must take to succeed online. We have compiled a list of best practices learned from our experience providing web solutions for the last 14 years as well as exhaustive research. This list is by no means everything there is to do – ideas abound in the market – but they are critical steps to ensure you position yourself for success online.
Doing Business: In the course of your activities every day, there are key actions you need to take to drive success online.
- You use a single dedicated domain (website) for all online initiatives. One website connected to your social media and other sites provides a “hub” for all of your web initiatives. Webtools provides this value if used as your primary website address.
- You do NOT use 3rd party email (e.g. Gmail) for business email. Many companies overlook the credibility of using email from your website address. It not only reinforces your brand and legitimacy, it leads prospects and customers back to your site!
- You promote your website on ALL collateral (business card, trucks, invoices etc.). Advertising ranging from word of mouth to collateral is very important to any business. Be sure you put your Web Presence front and center. After all, it’s another way for your customers to engage with you on their time.
- You solicit customer feedback and have >5 reviews / testimonials. Customers are your best advocates. They offer credible stories about how well your business has served their needs. Be sure to solicit positive feedback from your customers consistently and publish them on your Website – always ask permission to do so as well.
- You maintain accurate business profiles with Google, Bing, and Yahoo! The rise of local search results has been extremely fast. With over 20% of all online searches being for local businesses, having the right information on the three major engines is critical.
- You’re active in social media and include links on your website. Hundreds of millions of people use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to be the most expert, but having well crafted, legitimate pages and messages reinforce the credibility of your business.
- You ask customers if they visited your website. Having a strong Web Presence is a part of doing business in today’s market. Ask if new customers visited yours.
- You ask customers how they found you – be specific. There are many ways new customers can find your business. They range from the phone book through word of mouth and Google. As you serve the new customer, ask how they found you and keep a list. The results may surprise you.
- You invite people to visit your website when interacting with them in person. You are your best advocate! Always ask people you meet to visit you online.
Your Business Online: Being deliberate about how you manage your Webtools will provide the best chance to succeed online.
- Your website content accurately represents your business. As you evolve and change your overall business model, be sure your Web Presence keeps pace. Make time to review how you are presenting your business on a regular basis, and update as needed.
- You display >20 quality website images highlighting your company's work. You know the old saying, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words.’ Be sure to have at least 20 images on your site to present your finest jobs.
- Your web presence accurately represents current products and services offered. Once you have people visiting your Website, it’s important to deliver the services people expect. Make sure as your business offerings change, your site does as well.
- You actively promote products via your online Store. All products aren’t created equal. Some have more applicability seasonally, while others have better sales success. Make decisions on ones that best support your business and put them front and center in your Store.
- Your website homepage is informative and easy to navigate. When people are browsing online, their attention spans are often short. Webtools delivers an easily navigated Website, and you need to ensure the correct, compelling copy representing your business is the first thing they see on the home page.
Take Action in your Store: Just like managing your overall web presence, keeping your Store fresh and current will better capture the attention of visitors to your site.
- Know what you own. Take the time to be very familiar with your online store. This will pay off when a customer calls in with a question and says “I found it on your web site.”
- Connect your store to the world. If you have a Store, you have access to all of our Website features. Take advantage of all of the Webtools you own to keep everything in one place, under one domain.
- Promote everywhere. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with your customer. Put a link to your website in your email signature. Add your business domain to your letterhead, invoices, and business cards. Promote your website through in-store promotions and vehicle wraps.
- Contact your existing customers. Take advantage of what you have. If you have customer email addresses, send announcements and promotions to your customers. If you have physical addresses, send them a postcard or magnetic sticker.
- Cross sell. There is a great selection of products in your Store that may complement the products your customers are buying directly from you. Make sure that every staff member knows to direct customers to your online store to find related products. It may even be a good idea to have a computer right in your store and encourage customers to browse your products while you have them on location.
- Know your customer. When someone makes an online order, email or call them right away. An online customer is still a customer. Make sure their shopping experience was a positive one and they’ll be more likely to come back for more. After all, sales is about building trusting business relationships.
- Feature products. Pick five ready-to-ship products that you’d like to feature, put them on your home page and mark them down aggressively for a limited period of time. Include an “online product special” as part of the newsletter you send out to your customers. This is especially powerful when custom a printed banner coupled with a discounted stand, for example.
- Run promotions. Offer a discount for new online customers. Discount orders over $100. Promote limited time free shipping on select products. Be creative with your promotions! There are lots of ways to encourage buying behavior online.
- Configure your Store. Add custom graphics on the home page of your Store – make it your own! Change them out for the season or to highlight a special promotion.
- Add your own products. If you can sell it, you can add it! Add your own unique products or Design Your Own (DYO) Product materials to the Store, promoting the products you supply for a higher margin.
- Design your own. Don’t like some of the default (DYO) Product templates in your Store? Turn them off and add your own! New designs can be created for any (DYO) Product right in the (DYO) Tool itself.
- Build Customer Storefronts. By creating unique Customer Storefronts for your best customers, you're creating a more personal ecommerce environment and encouraging repeat business through re-orders.