Running your own business involves a lot of moving parts. From building a team of stellar employees to managing inventory and advertising your products and services, there’s a lot to keep up with. But one to-do that almost never gets enough attention is your small business’ website. If you think about your own buying process, it probably starts online, and the same thing goes for many of your existing customers as well as your target market.
So, how do you optimize your small business website to set yourself apart from the competition and ultimately, engage and convert customers? In this post, we’ll take a look at 4 ways to do just that. From nailing down your brand image to curating blog content and improving your ecommerce functions, there are plenty of insider techniques small business owners need to know.
1. Hone your brand image and voice
Every brand has a backstory that makes them different, and it’s this difference that gives you the edge on the competition. As you’re creating your small business’ website, consider the things that make your business unique, whether that’s your mission, founding story, staff, community involvement, or core values. These elements should shine through your brand image and your voice.
If you’re not sure where to begin, check out these tips for crafting a brand image and voice.
- Talk through your origin story: Uncover what makes you different and what makes your product or service stand out among competitors.
- Identify your target market: In order to create a brand that resonates with your existing and potential customers, you’ll want to start by establishing who those individuals are. By creating buyer personas, you’ll be able to craft your content and imagery around causes, visuals, and values that represent your key audiences.
- Use imagery to highlight your differentiators: As you build the design elements of your website, make sure that your story and uniqueness is displayed within the images and graphics that you choose. In the example below, this natural health supplement brand shows off their commitment to natural ingredients within their copy and imagery.
- Create key messaging: Once you’ve nailed down your brand’s origin story and your target audience, you can start creating messaging based on these details. A mission statement, positioning statement, and core values are a great place to start formulating your voice.
- Develop tone for other platforms: Digital marketing is multi-faceted. From blog content and email marketing to social media engagement, it’s important to make sure that your brand voice is consistent across all mediums. Below is an example of a San Diego brewery, Modern Times Beer, that does a stellar job of demonstrating their bold brand voice across all of their platforms.
2. Create unique functionality
Depending on your brand image and the type of website your building, you may want to get a little creative with your site functionality where you can. That could mean incorporating gifs, displaying an aesthetically-pleasing slideshow, or getting wild with dev.
Asana, one of the most popular project management platforms on the market executes this idea flawlessly. Since they’re in the business of making people get to business, the brand figured they’d have a little fun with it! By creating celebratory icons and fun distractions like flying screen unicorns and narwhals, this productivity platform makes it fun and exciting to check tasks off of your to-do list.
3. Craft useful content
Coming up with words to fill your website isn’t always an easy task, and many business owners where they can even get started. Here’s a tip: consider your FAQs. What are the most common questions you’re confronted with when you interact with customers and potential buyers? Are they wondering how to use your product? Are they looking for industry tips or best practices? Leverage these questions and use them as your guide as you create new content.
Check out this blog post “Will vs. Trust — What’s the Difference?” from Trust and Will, an estate planning company. By focusing on a topic that their target audience is already researching, the brand can help answer questions, work toward improving their keyword rankings, and guide users through their sales funnel.
If you’re creating your own content for your small business, check out these tools to help you craft the most effective copy:
- Grammarly: Identifies errors and makes suggestions for better clarity, flow, and engagement.
- Answer the Public: Generates common questions around specific keywords and phrases.
- Keywords Everywhere: Browser extension that displays monthly search volumes and related terms.
4. Leverage social media
Social media is an integral part of digital marketing, activism, and personal connection these days, and it can be a great place to expand your business’ reach, too. Don’t stop at creating and posting your blog content or inventory, let the people know about it by sharing and engaging with your audience on social media. Not only will this get the word out there, but it can also help humanize your brand.
When it comes to choosing which platforms you’ll be active on, make sure you consider where your target audience is. Do they primarily occupy spaces on Facebook and Instagram, or do they forge more professional connections via LinkedIn? These considerations will help you develop a social media strategy that will help you generate more traffic and in turn convert more customers.
Standing out as a small business is a tough task in general. Many shoppers surpass local brick and mortar and mom and pops in favor of large chains and conglomerates, but we’re seeing this taking a turn! By highlighting what makes your business unique and reflecting these characteristics on your website, you can set yourself apart from your competition.
As you create or revise your website, just heed these four tips:
- Hone your brand image and voice
- Create unique functionality
- Craft useful content
- Leverage social media
Which of these changes are you going to implement on your site? Open up the discussion in the comment section below.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.