Small Businesses Employ More People Than All Other Forms Of Business
Finding Customers However Is Harder Than Ever
Since my time working in banking I've moved to a small town and met many small business owners that are scraping by. I don't live in a tiny town by any means but it is not big enough to classify as a city. It's big enough however to entice big business to set up shop and as a result small businesses that have oporated for genorations are havign a hard time competing. Although many do alright I've talked with a number of small business owners that are just barely scraping by. Many are closing up shop or selling out to chains.
Over the last year or so I've discussed the problem of drumbing up new customers with a few small business owners in my town and it's quickly dawned on me that the main problem they have is in their website. Most local businesses are savvy enough to have learned that having a website is as crucial to business success as having a physical location but most don't know what to do with their website. They don't know how to get their website to actually attract new customers.
Local Traffic Comes When You Connect With Customers
I was talking very intimately with a local business owner that was considering closing up shop. he started his business about 18 months prior to our conversation and he said he just couldn't get new customers reliably and those that he did get were not always for the highest paying jobs. Some would cancel on him with no warning. He was tired of the inconsistency and tired of wondering if he's be able to make bills for another month.
I took a look at his website and couldn't find anything on it that would make me WANT to call the number and book a job. He had a generic homepage with only a small amount of information on the site. His contact page was very unattractive and almost reminded me of an email signup form that results in tons of annoying spam emails.
It was also clear that there was no clear indication of what kinds of services this business did. Oddly enough his yelp page actually broke down his services better than his website did. This was a problem.
How To Get More Local Traffic To Your Small Business Website
The problem outlined above is not uncommon. More small businesses have terrible websites than ever before. This is probably due to many businesses starting websites because they think they should but not know how to go about it.
The way to connect to your potential customers is to tell them who you are and what you can do for them. It's not rocket science and it doesn't take special insight to understand.
If you do residential painting let them know what your credentials are and what kind of residential painting jobs you do. Put a face to the website so that customers know they are dealing with a person who is actually local and make sure to describe in detail how you operate as a business. if you don't they will simply head down to the local Home Depot and find a referral from the big company or muddle their way through it themselves.
The business owner I was speaking with was involved in in home air systems. He did primarily duct work. Some of his business was geared towards dryer vents, duct cleaning, and chimney sweeping however he was qualified to do a wide variety of jobs that were not as widely applicable to all potential customers.
Most small service businesses fall into this boat in one way or another. I told him that by having an uninspiring homepage that didn't really sell anything he wasn't selling a single type of service to anyone. If this business owner were to sell his primary service and post his company information on the homepage and then put up a sales page for each service he was qualified to do he would have much better chances of finding customers for a wide variety of service jobs.
Don't just do a sales page for your company and stop there. Publish on your website a sales page for each service you are qualified and willing to take on. You not only will more effectively sell that one service but will also find more customers as a result. Customers searching the internet for chimney cleaning are not likely to find a company in the local search results that seemingly only cleans dryer vents.
If your company does 20 different "jobs" then a sales page for all 20 jobs needs to be created and published. This is the most effective way of generating more traffic to your website from local customers and it's the best way to pre-sell them on your services before they ever shoot you and email or give you a call.
Off Website Necessities
These Things Must Not Be Neglected
Once you have your website in order and you've created a decent sales page for every service line your business handles it's necessary to update all the local business directories with your company information. Everything must be claimed and profiles must be filled out.
The most important part in doing this is to get all the big players and as many of the smaller one's you can. And even more important is filling the information out consistently on all the sites. You can't list your company name as Billy The Kid Enterprises on one directory and then Billy The Kid, Ent on another directory.
When all the directories are exactly identical and all are claimed with complete information then your website will begin getting more traction in local search results and your website will in turn get more traffic. Make sure all local business directories have your correct URL included in the listing. These are commonly referred to as citations and with them you will fare even better.
Remember, getting traffic to your website is easy if you pay for it. But even if you pay for it with a campaign on Google, Bing, or Facebook you will get more calls and more qualified leads if your sales pages on your website are well thought out.
The website is necessary in business these days but just having one is not enough. You need to spend some time to make it as good as it can possibly be - or at least as informative as possible. Without information customers will go elsewhere; somewhere that may not be as good but somewhere that they trust a bit more.