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Digital presence key for small business success


SCORE is a national organization and resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Tuolumne County SCORE chapter covers Tuolumne and Calaveras counties and has seven counselors. These volunteer counselors assist clients with one-on-one mentoring at no charge.

You’ve dreamed of owning your own business and decided to make is a reality. Your meeting with a SCORE counselor gave you a path forward with your first “homework” to write your business plan. It should contain your business ideas, strategies and tactics and, of course, will include a need for a website.

A website is just one element of your “digital presence.” Social media such as Facebook business pages, Twitter and others add to your overall presence.

But let’s talk about THAT website for your business.

You may be one of more than 2.4 billion people using the internet daily. About 90 percent of them purchase a product or contact a company. If you purchase products online today, what is it about your favorite site that makes you click the “buy” button? Are they easy to get around? Do you find your desired products quickly? Do you see them asking for you to join them on Twitter or Facebook or other social media? They keep their sites current, interesting and updated while increasing their digital presence and digital footprint with social media.

A website creates your legitimacy by telling the world you are genuine, credible and authentic. You may consider creating a homemade website using an online website creation software service. Be honest and determine if you know that you either have or don’t have the creative juices to create and maintain a good, no, great website. Don’t make a decision feeling you have website creative marketing knowledge — that could be an immediate disaster. A bad website can make your business look bad. A great website must be consistent, and fresh content is essential for drawing customers

First impressions count and you only get one first impression. Professionally created and maintained websites can save money for you. As a small business owner you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but you can’t afford not to. Website hosts and designers get paid when you realize your site is increasing your exposure and revenue. Many reliable local companies are available, and Tuolumne County SCORE can help you in that endeavor.

Open for business 24/7

Interested customers use your contact feature, meaning they want more information or are leaving a comment. Negative comments can be used to understand what and how people interface and react to your website

Who are your target customers? Is your product or service attractive to a certain generation? Millennials, Gen-Xers, Boomers? You may need to tailor your Digital Presence on your answer. Millennials, generally, are far more comfortable with online communication. Conventional wisdom about Millennials is that they don’t respond to many traditional marketing methods, can spot insincerity or deception a mile away and desire a relationship of unprecedented substance with brands and yet can be fickle when their needs aren’t met. Older folks tend to want to speak with a live human via phone. Google the phrase “generational marketing” to find site after site where the traits of various generations are explained in the manner of a play’s dramatis personae.

On average, site visitors spend five to seven seconds on a page unless something grabs their attention. Further clicks lead to success if you’re offering what they’re looking for. If your website is boring, has too many words, consider photos, videos or useful links. Boring your viewer can make them leave, quickly!

SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. A professionally designed and maintained website could mean your company’s listing is one of the first search results.

Is your site getting favorable reviews? Many people visit online review sites and decide then and there whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business — or a business like yours — should offer.

Your Tuolumne County SCORE website (tuolumnecounty.score.org) has links to workshops and a library as well as a search field where numerous website and related resources are ready for you. One of many useful links is “10 Things Every Website Needs.” Spend a few minutes to find more website-related webinars and articles.

The “Find A Mentor” icon will link you with one of our counselors who can help you can begin making your dream come true.

Please join our Facebook page for announcements on upcoming Workshops.

Email Paul Halek at halek.score@hotmail.com