"This is how customers find products and services these days. The first thing they do is go online," says Ravi Dindayal, BDC’s Director of Marketing – Consulting. "There can be an immense return on investment, but you have to be committed and devote the resources—time and money—to make it work."
The good news: It’s never been easier to create a web presence with free and low-cost services that require no programming know-how. Easy-to-create social media pages have also made it simpler to get online.
At the same time, Dindayal cautions, many companies create a basic website and social media properties, but then put little effort into maintaining them. They also resist hiring the expert help they need. The result is poor performance and frustration.
Four steps to success
Dindayal, whose team of BDC consultants advises businesses on all aspects of marketing and sales, recommends four steps to boost your web success.
1. Start small
Don’t waste time and money on a big, costly website. What’s key is simply to get started. Begin small and build incrementally as you learn.
2. Focus on design
Your site and social media pages should be simple, easy to navigate and not overly text-heavy. Prominently feature attractive photos, clear calls to action (e.g. Download Now) and your contact information on every page.
3. Create a community
Use value-added content to foster an online community. Think of content that’s fun and educational—rather than blatantly promotional. Position yourself as an expert in your field by offering how-to articles, eBooks, infographics and informative videos. Visitors are more likely to share such content with their online networks and ideally become advocates for your company.
4. Measure, learn and optimize
The real beauty of the Internet, Dindayal says, is that you get immediate feedback on your online efforts from information on web traffic available through your website and social media pages. The data lets you easily test the performance of different site designs, content and promotional campaigns to see what attracts the most visitors, gets shared the most—and leads to the most sign-ups or sales.
To learn more, download BDC’s free eBook Boost Your Sales with Online Marketing: A Guide for Entrepreneurs.
With the help of real-life stories from Canadian entrepreneurs, the eBook shows you how to unlock the power of online marketing for your business.