Last year, we made a list of our 2016 goals, and looking back, we made great progress. It’s clear to us that small businesses that serve a local community want ways to generate more leads online, and that local digital publishers are the ideal platform where they can get this.
With that in mind, here’s a somewhat provocative goal for 2017: to generate more leads for small and local businesses on a consistent basis. Especially if they don’t have their own website.
To emphasize our mission for 2017, we will highlight two blog posts that came out at the end of 2016. These posts focus on the importance of a small business’s website. The first post states that small businesses aren’t generating enough leads on their website, and the second post suggests you need to dust off that stale website of yours and turn it into a lead generation engine.
Based on our progress in 2016 and our conversation with hundreds of small business owners, we will look at the four major suggestions from these two blog posts, and offer an alternative view on each topic – the direction Bizyhood will propose to small businesses in 2017:
You aren’t optimized for mobile – by now you know the world is mobile, right? Very few people are visiting your website on desktop anymore. The posts suggest that you need to have a mobile optimized site. This is true. However, creating a mobile-optimized site is not trivial, and a small business owner is right to question: is it worth it to make this investment?
Bizyhood’s plan for 2017– What if you had your own page on a site that is authoritative locally and takes care of the mobile issues for you? You don’t need to ditch your existing website if you have one. Instead, combine a simple and responsive website with a local Business Page that takes care of all the mobile optimization so you can be found locally on mobile.
You aren’t listed online properly – This is typically called a “citation.” It is absolutely important to be found online. But it’s also a frustrating and confusing part of being online. There’s little value to the business owner to do this, but there’s certainly a penalty for not doing it.
Bizyhood’s plan for 2017 – What if your own Business Page on that locally authoritative site came with an option to also update your citation on most of the popular Internet directory sites? This would allow you to only keep it current in one place (the one place you actually care about) and the rest was taken care of for you. All at a price that is significantly less than the national marketing and ad companies are telling you that you need to spend.
You aren’t creating “calls to action” on your site – having potential customers come to your site is one thing. Getting them to “convert” on something (such as registering for your newsletter) so you can act on it is another. Most local websites are still in the “brochureware” stage – basic information about what the business can do, and maybe a Contact Us page with a form.
Bizyhood’s plan for 2017 – Calls To Action (CTA) give you the ability to create multiple actions that a user can take and actions that you can measure. But how easy is it to create and track these CTA’s? What if your Business Page on that locally authoritative site came with a simple way to create and track CTA’s? And an ability to follow up with people that execute on the CTA’s that you can easily follow?
You need more real-time engagement – There are many tools out there that let you add “chat” functionality on your site, so people can reach you immediately. But this doesn’t work so well for independent contractors and small and local businesses that may be busy during the day and not have the bandwidth for real-time conversation.
Bizyhood’s plan for 2017 – What if you could use these new-fangled “chatbots” that allow you to create custom answers to typical queries, so you’re only being interrupted with a custom query that could lead to significant new business? And what if these questions could come right to your cell phone (or several people’s cell phones) so you could reply directly from your phone? And what if this functionality was available directly from your Business Page on that same local authoritative site?
Bizyhood’s plan for 2017 include features that Bizyhood has either already enabled for local digital publishers, or plan to enable in 2017. These features are the set of things that a small business owner must do in order to generate more leads. All in one place, offered by your local digital publisher, who creates and shares content every single day.
Lastly, these features help with the 5th and final suggestion these two blogs posed – create more unique content. Why not create content on that local authoritative site, via your Business Page, so it gets more exposure than it would get on your own website? You can even post it in both places if you like.
If you’re a small local business that likes the simplicity of this approach, or a local digital publisher that wants to add this functionality to your current site, give us a shout! And, finally have a happy, peaceful and successful 2017. Talk to you next year!