If you are a small business, a lot rides on efficiently marketing your business. Your website is used to help potential customers find you and learn more about your business. You dream big and your web presence should reflect that. The bigger and better your website looks, the bigger and better your business will appear. It doesn’t matter if you only have 3 employees – you can make your website look like you are a team of twenty or more just by following a few guidelines. You have all the same tools at hand that large businesses have, and even though you may not have the same budget, that doesn’t mean that you can’t compete.

Mistake #1: Old, Outdated Design and Content

How often do you go to a website and immediately make a decision that this business is not one you want to do business with? That immediate response is made by how the site looks. Is it modern, engaging, and enticing you to learn more? Or is it cluttered and has no cohesion? Your website doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to look modern and clean. Today’s styles use a lot of white space, images, and videos to dominate the look of the site. Once you have your visitors sticking around, your content needs to be fresh and up-to-date. Most of all, Your site must be mobile-friendly and engaging on all device size and types. Google now even uses mobile friendly design as a metric to determine how you rank within the search engine results.

You should also link to your social media profiles from your website. This helps your online visitors learn more about your business and your culture. But, just as an old website can turn them away, so can old social media accounts. Make sure that your social media profiles look up-to-date and are branded with your logo. Don’t try and sign up for as many social media accounts as you can either. As a small business owner, you need to pick and choose the profiles that you are willing to keep up with.

Mistake #2: Targeting Everyone

One of the top mistakes new businesses make is to make the assumption that everyone wants their products or services. This not only dilutes your message, but your effectiveness at targeting the right people as well. By narrowing down who you want to do business with, you can better connect with the right people and create more effective messaging. Your website needs to show who you are and best reflect that through highlighting your unique expertise in your industry.

Remember, targeting everyone usually means that you please no one. The more you know your customers, the more likely they’ll be able to recognize themselves in your marketing strategies. Keep your marketing copy laser focused on who you serve by finding out how your customers describe your services and how they search for you within the search engines.

Mistake #3: Not Utilizing The Proper Online Tools

There are many online tools that are cheap or free that can help you market your business. The best tools are the analytics tools available through Google. These tools can help you learn more about how your online visitors are using your website, which pages they are spending time on, and how they click through your site. By knowing how to use this information, you can decide which pages need more work and discover how small changes can affect your engagement. There are also a number of different webmaster tools that can let you know how the search engines view your website. These tools will report to you the health of your site and tell you which pages have potential problems.

Another way to grow awareness of your business is to list your business in the appropriate online directories. There are many industry-specific online directories, such as Findlaw for lawyers or Thumbtack for professional services. These online directories can help you save money on advertising, gain more exposure, and reach more potential customers. By using many different directories that are appropriate for your business, you can dominate the search results. This means that your company name will appear in the search results multiple times.

Mistake #4: Not Using A Business Blog

For your website to be the most effective tool to market your business, you need to show your expertise. How better to do this then to use the tools already available to you and write about the topics and questions your clients need and want to read? Most website technologies come with a content management system, allowing you to write on topics and engage your online visitors. This has more than one benefit. Not only does it establish you as the expert, but it also provides Google more content to draw upon when serving the search engine results.

When it comes to competing against the other options facing your potential customers, you can set yourself apart by writing about the topics that you know your customers are asking. You should also follow a set blog schedule so your regular readers know when you will be producing new content.

Mistake #5: Not Showing Your Personality or Uniqueness

A small business may not have the same budget as a large business, but what you do have is your unique way of doing business. You connect with your clients on a more personal level, providing high quality services and products that help you to stand out. Your website needs to reflect your uniqueness in its style, design, images, and content. By providing insight into who you are in the business community, you are providing the edge that helps your online visitors decide they want to do business with you. Show how you give back to your local community and what non-profits you support, then tell us why these causes are important to you and why you donate your time and/or money to them. Your customers will then be able to connect with you on a personal level and become more trustworthy of you and your business.

Mistake #6: Not Giving Your Visitors Any Direction

In order for your site to successfully capture leads and gain new customers and clients for your business, your website must make them want to sign up with you. You must be very explicit with what you want your visitors to do on your site. Each page should have its own, clearly defined Call To Action (CTA), while also educating them as to why they should choose to work with your business.

In Conclusion

It’s easy to think that as a small business you are at a disadvantage online. However, by doing these few things correctly you can stand out from the competition, show your true spirit and passion in your industry, know how to make educated decisions when it comes to improving your online presence, and tell your story to connect with your online visitors. You are the authority in your industry. Make sure you set yourself apart from the crowd!