Many small business owners set up a website to act as an online business card. They invest in a developer, include the bare minimum regarding content and point potential clients to it, should they need to appear reputable. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but if you are looking to generate more sales and leads, you will need to rethink your portfolio site’s real purpose.
Namely, it should be an online destination in and of itself. It should include useful information, regularly updated content and social proof of people engaging with your brand. This post will lay out five reasons why people aren’t finding your site – and what you can do about it.
Reason 1: You’re Not Ranking for Key Phrases
Keyword research is an essential part of engineering your site’s SEO. Aside from actually ensuring that your site is indexed by search engines, this is the most obvious method for driving organic traffic to your pages.
Conducting keyword research on SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends et al. is a vital first step. Put all of the essential terms you want to rank for in a spreadsheet and look to include long-tail search queries within your titles, meta descriptions, and image tags.
You can also use Google Analytics to ‘tune up’ existing terms you may already rank for and give them a boost.
- Head to Google Analytics
- Open Acquisition, SEO and then Queries to bring up the list of essential phrases you currently rank for
- Pick out the most useful terms to bring in qualified leads and consider your rank. Filter the list by Average Position > higher than 10
- If these phrases rank on average at 11+, this means you are appearing on the second page on Google, or lower
- Confirm the ranking by searching the for the linked phrase and look at ways you can improve your score through optimization
Alter your title tags, meta descriptions and page content to include the exact keyword phrase – do this sparingly, so as not to ‘overstuff’. Be careful to check the phrases you are ranking well for. Make sure you are not undoing your good work by attempting to rank for new phrases when your existing pages could be working out well.
Useful tip: include the keyword phrase elsewhere within your site copy and include a hyperlink back to your homepage to give your query a tad more relevancy to your site’s primary services.
Reason 2: You’re Not Incentivizing People to Find out More
You may have spent lots of time building up a bank of useful content for your site visitors. However, you may not be leveraging it in the right way.
If you are a new site, a selection of informative articles on your subject helps Google’s crawlers find out what your site is all about. But it doesn’t stop there. Your website copy has got to inform as well as incentivize visitors to become buyers.
There are three main reasons why people don’t buy from you:
- Your products aren’t relevant to them
- Your customers are not ready to buy
- The offer isn’t tempting enough
What can you do about this?
Make Your Products Relevant
You need to make your products more desirable in some way. Adding reviews and testimonials to your page and social media profiles will help you build up social proof. You can also adjust your site’s aesthetics to make it look more desirable and in keeping with the competition.
Run a full audience analysis and dig in deep to social media analysis tools to build up a detailed set of customer profiles. If you are using PPC advertising, you should be looking to add negative keywords to your targeting criteria on a monthly basis.
Prepare Your Customers to Buy
Run a full content audit and ensure that your customers can access all the information they need to make a purchase quickly. This may mean digging into your site’s information architecture and UX.
Redesign your navigation to make it easier to complete a sale and ensure that you have an excellent mobile site design. Quite often, internet shoppers will check out your site on mobile first and then finish their transaction from a desktop or tablet.
Make Your Offer Tempting
You need to look at your products’ affordability if you’re struggling to bring in sales. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lower your prices. Look to alternative payment methods. For example, a subscription plan (over a few monthly payments) can be a great way to get potential customers ‘off the fence’.
Use ecommerce plugin tools that generate discount offers to those who refer a friend. You can also look to set up point-earning systems for loyal customers, helping these folks get money off for their loyalty. Even accepting different payment methods (like PayPal) can make your offers seem more tempting.
Reason 3: You’re Not Generating Engagement through Social Channels
Assuming that your social media channels have advertising accounts, making the most of your paid posting budget can make all the difference to your site’s traffic and ranking.
In the first instance, you want to make your brand memorable. People who are using social media are not looking to be advertised to, by default. They are there to hang out with their friends and be entertained.
Focus your campaigns on giving something of value to your fans, for free, if you want to stick in your audience’s mind.
Video brings in the highest levels of user engagement. Think about the original broadcasting model. Brands will pay millions to secure prime-time advertising slots. They are paying for their audience’s attention spans, and you can do the same with video content on social media.
Whether you’re using Facebook ads, paid Instagram advertising or even SnapChat, draw the punters in with a funny, exciting or emotive video ad. This is an excellent start to any social media campaign funnel, as you can analyze the interaction data and then decide how best to proceed, based on how many seconds your viewers watched the clip.
If they stuck around to the end of a one-minute advertising testimonial, you can assume these viewers will be ‘warmer’ to your sales message than those who only tuned in for 10 seconds. As an offshoot of that, you may then want to try retargeting a post or a discount offer to trigger their memory and make them curious to find out more.
The critical thing for effective social media campaigns is to use a mix of customer checkpoints:
- Get visitors signed up to your mailing list
- Give them a useful tutorial to draw them to your site’s blog
- Get them to refer a friend via social media or share their user-generated content under a branded hashtag
- On Facebook, experiment with Collection Advertisements. Include a video post and a carousel of related products underneath
- Get them to comment and share a blog post that appeared on a leading site
- Set up shoppable galleries on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram
All of these methods should be applied to varying segments based on their journey and readiness to buy.
Reason 4: You Are Wasting Energy on Mundane Tasks
For your average business owner, making the most of your site can be a massive undertaking. It can be tempting to outsource all things ‘website’ and wash your hands of it entirely. But this is not the wisest method for keeping on top of things.
No one knows your business better than you do, which is why it is vital that you stay on top of your brand’s narrative and ensure that you have all the tools in place to make your marketing tasks and analysis easier.
If you are not using a social media management suite like BlabberJax yet, get ready streamline your social media posting immediately.
If you are running an ecommerce website, explore the list of marketing automation plugins and apps available directly from your online storefront. Retargeting apps, email newsletter pop-ups, referral programs and more can be handled with ease from your dashboard. Why not install an app that reposts blog posts from your archive to keep your content fresh in your followers’ feeds?
Once you have settled on a system for regular and consistent posting and content creation, next look at how you can build yourself up as an industry thought leader. Find influential social media users and publications in your chosen subject. Build relationships with these people over time by commenting and interacting with their content. Approach them with a sponsorship opportunity if you are looking to target their fanbase.
Head to sites like Help a Reporter and set up a profile in the hopes you can attract an interview from a broadcast or print journalist. You want to make sure that you know your company’s values, unique ‘voice’ and backstory. If you want to be noticed by the right people, dedicate lots of time to building your online reputation.
Reason 5: You Haven’t Made the Most of Local Search
Your local community should be a priority marketing segment, regardless of the products and services you’re trying to sell. Millions of internet shoppers prefer to shop local and like the idea of localized content and offers.
- Ensure that your company is listed correctly on Google and set up Google Authorship to link from your Gmail account. Use a headshot and include a photo of the business premises to make your site details look more appealing within the Google search rankings
- Within your ad campaigns, add photos of local landmarks and mention your city within your content
- Join forces with local businesses in your area to connect an online network. Add yourself to all of the relevant local directories and use their platforms to bring search to your brand
- Set up local community events or offer local customers a specialized discount using geo-targeting filters
‘Omni-local’ is a new internet marketing phenomenon that is bringing in brilliant results for businesses of all types. If you cannot hope to compete with the major multinational players, make your brand uniquely appealing to a localized audience. These fans may become loyal brand advocates if you play your cards right.
There may be many technical reasons why your site isn’t ranking as well as it should. Run your checks, do your analysis and test creative ideas until you find the right fit. Your promotion should be all-encompassing with in-depth consideration for your audience's needs at the right moment.
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