Starting out, before we can get into what an SME should be focusing on when redesigning their site, we first need to establish why an SME should be redesigning their site and how to tell if your site is in need of a refresh.Redesigning a website to be more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing can increase the success of a website a hundred times over (See Niebler, 2015: 4 Great Reasons to Redesign Your Website).So, what should you be looking for when deciding if your website needs a makeover?
A study conducted by Verisign in 2013; namely “Benefits And Barriers Of Bringing A Small Business Online: Perspectives From Global Small Businesses“, demonstrated how smaller businesses can leverage their position with relatively minimal effort. If the effort is relatively minimal, the question is; why are some small businesses still falling behind and not maximizing the benefit of having an online presence? Let’s look into the facts. In the UK, for example, Verisign discovered that 28% of SME respondents stated that they were not looking to eventually invest in a website for their company. This is despite the fact that Weebly (the online comprehensive website builder), stated that from research in 2013, 56% of consumers opted not to trust a business which does not have a website.
So what is exactly do you understand by the term SEO? Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is described as a cluster of strategies and techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (Parikh & Deshmukh, 2013). So basically, the aim of a SEO strategy is to increase the visitor traffic to a specific website and make them our customers. But my question is, is it beneficial to all companies? What about small companies? Surely, it’s a lot of work? The truth is SEO actually requires resources, time and money. And it’s continually evolving, which means companies must predict and anticipate changes in the future and need to create a SEO strategy that is prepared for these changes to succeed in the long run.
Nowadays the modern consumer expects not only an online presence from business and brands but an optimised, well designed website (See Taylor, 2012: Building a Business Website: A Small Business Guide). This is unfortunately no longer a job that can just be delegated to the technical department as Thelwell (2000) states that website design should be viewed as a business task as opposed to a technical task due to the design needing to match the needs of the company. According to Misourri Institute of Science and Technology (2012) it takes under two tenths of a second for a visitor to form an opinion of the website and, by association, the brand itself.
In general, most companies and businesses want to optimize the visibility of their portfolio to as many consumers as possible. However, it might not be the case for small bespoke service providers due to limited recourses and capacity. For example, most bespoke wedding planners accept limited number of wedding a week, therefore they are more likely to target valuable customers rather than large amount of customers. The following content will start with some approaches which are widely employed by small service businesses in order to increase visibility of company’s portfolio, and then some social media marketing tips and measurements to guide small services providers.
YouTube provides a simple way for people to store videos online and share them with others. Statistics show YouTube has the second largest search engine in the world(Smarta.com, 2015). This is behind Google, this means people are searching for information through YouTube and discover videos that relate to the specific topic (Gallo, 2008).
The YouTube analytics Provides data about each video you upload, so you can easily track how many views it gets, where people are coming from to find it and what type of people are watching it (Bain and Bain, 2013).
You can set up a YouTube channel for your business, this brings all of your videos together. Therefore you can customise your channel to reflect the correct company image. Your channel will have a URL that you can promote on your website or marketing material. As a result people can subscribe to your channel.
YouTube incorporates features that let businesses promote their videos to people who might be interested in them, targeting customers by demographics, topics or interests. Advertisers pay each time someone views their video. You can choose which locations your ad will appear in and what format it will be (Simply Business, 2015). YouTube’s advertising guide shows how it all works. Small businesses could do well to understand some of the many benefits of using YouTube in their Inbound Marketing Campaign
So what Does YouTube Do for a company?
In my research I have not found many small hairdressing businesses that use email marketing as a technique, and more specifically newsletters – even the most prestigious of businesses with a Central London location… This got me thinking, why?
It could be because businesses feel that they don’t need to, as their competitors don’t either, a lack of financial resources, time constraints and expertise that could mean businesses don’t want to invest into digital resources, and the associated time this would take to implement. The most important factor could be simply because they don’t need to, especially ones with a Central London location, this in itself provides exposure and daily footfall to their premises.
However, if you’re interested in starting email marketing and newsletters, download HubSpots (2014) free and downloadable ‘How to create email newsletters that don’t suck’ which is the ultimate BIBLE for newsletter creation.
The first important point to consider is that SME’s should not be considered as homogeneous and that this marketing technique may not be suitable for every business. It depends on the type of customers a business carries on whether a blog post is necessary or effective, for example, do the customers use or take notice of blogs, is the type of product going to gain interest through blogs, and customer preference i.e. if the customers prefer a face-to-face approach/ have trust in online resources (ibid). A study by Kaye