Think about this…if you spent as much time on prospecting and sales as you do on social media and online promotions, would you have a more successful website and business? Social media and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are forms of marketing and communications, or more specifically promotions, an effective way of attracting new prospects. However that is only the start of the sales cycle. How your business handles new prospects from there will determine your website success. Having your sales cycle closely linked to your website is critical. And knowing when your sales cycle starts is a key factor. If you have an absent sales process, the best marketing, social media and SEO in the world will not help your website succeed.
If you have a marketing or lead generation type of website the sales cycle might start when you receive an email or phone enquiry from your website or a comment on your blog or a newsletter sign-up. At that point, you would start qualifying and building a relationship with prospective clients and seeing how you can help, if not now then in the future. When someone is ready to buy or have a problem to solve, they often go to a search engine like Google to find a business that has a solution. If your business is in the top search results, they may click through to your website. Or they could ask for a referral on social media channels, the ultimate word-of-mouth referral! The advantage of SEO over social media is that people are searching at the time they are ready to buy. Social media can be hit-and-miss on whether your message gets through to your prospects and it may not be at the time they are ready to buy.
You want your business and website to be on the shortlist when someone is ready to buy. Effective SEO gives you the advantage of being on page one in the search engines for the search terms or keywords your prospects are using. The number one question you can ask your clients is “If you were to search for my business on the internet, what would you type in to Google?” The answers to that questions will be your best search terms. You can also research and anaylse search terms for your business using an SEO program. Its what you do with these search terms that matters. You would use them regularly in your website content, meta titles, meta descriptions and alternative text of your images.
The bottom line is making money from your website. So the challenge for small business owners is to have a marketing strategy that works as well as an effective sales process. Its all about balance and focus.