Right now, many small business owners are facing a near future where operating remotely is truly the only option to remain viable.
Even as Ontario slowly and cautiously begins to open back up, many workers are scared to re-engage with customers and vendors at former levels. On top of that, many business owners are scared to let them.
After pouring your heart and soul into your business growth, this situation may feel nothing short of heart-breaking. Have you come this far just to lose it all to an opponent no one can even see?
No, you haven't. This is a time to get creative - not a time to give up.
For as many businesses that are closing their doors each day, there are still many others that are finding fresh ways to operate, serve customers and reinvent themselves.
If you have the will, chances are there is a way. In order to navigate this rapidly changing business landscape successfully, you will absolutely need to avoid making THESE THREE MISTAKES:
Mistake #1: Believing You Don't Have the Skillset to Work Remotely
The first critical mistake new remote workers and companies frequently make is to assume that some people have what it takes to succeed when working remotely and other people do not.
The truth is, when working remotely is our only option, we all have what it takes. We have to if we want to pay our rent, our mortgage and buy groceries to feed our families.
It’s important to understand that expecting yourself to do it perfectly might just set you up to fail. Expecting your workers to deliver perfect productivity right out of the starting gate is also setting them up to fail (and thus setting your company up to fail in the long run!).
Now is not the time to institute punitive standards and issue harsh threats. Now is the time to get creative, invite continual staff feedback, celebrate small successes and build teamwork like you have never built teamwork before.
By engaging and empowering each worker on your team, truly listening to their ideas, implementing as many as you can and doing whatever you can to ease their learning curve and meet their needs, you may just discover your greatest strengths as a company hiding in the unlikeliest of places.
Mistake #2: Burning Out Due to Poor Boundaries
The second critical mistake new remote workers and companies frequently make is to think the boundaries required to stay productive will somehow be adapted to automatically.
Just to be clear, boundaries are limits, divisions and dividing lines. Boundaries are what tell you that now is work time and later is personal time. Boundaries are also what tell your co-workers, family and friends that same important information.
It is easy for boundaries to stay clear when you leave your home each morning and go to another place to get work done. Then you come back later in the evening. Perhaps you do bring some work home here and there, but you do this work casually while juggling personal chores and family time.
But now you are working from home - the same place where your personal chores and your family members are also located.
So many new-to-remote-work workers make the mistake of thinking it will be easier to get your work done remotely.
After all, there will be no time-suck conference room meetings, no annoying gossipy coworkers popping by for a mid-morning vent, no walk-in customer or vendor traffic to disrupt your carefully planned daily schedule.
On the flip side, however, it can also become hard to know when to put your work away for the day. Working remotely can make separating out clear personal time from work time feel nearly impossible. You may even feel guilty about it!
Burnout is far more likely when your worksite and your home are in the same place. If you have ever felt burned out in the past, now is the time to remember how hard it was to recover, to refocus and feel productive and fulfilled at work again.
Take the time to actually set the boundaries you need to do your job from home. Post a daily schedule. Let your family know. Then do your best to stick to the boundaries you have set up. Your sanity (and your family) will end up thanking you for this kindness.
Mistake #3: Failing To Set Your Business Up for Remote Success
The third critical mistake new remote workers and companies frequently make is to try to cobble together a set of remote work tools without taking time to sit down and really consider what is needed by all.
How speedy and responsive (or not) is your website? What does it look like on small screen devices? Is your site SEO optimized to make it easy for new customers to learn how to reach you and get their needs met?
What about your online marketing efforts? Do you have any? How well situated is your company to connect with existing customers who may not even know you are still in business? What about your online store? Do you have one yet?
And what are your plans to keep in contact with your remote work team? Do you have project management software or a business communication portal that makes collaboration, meetings and connecting simple, intuitive and easy?
If your answer to any of these questions is "I don't know" or "what does that mean?" it is time to get serious about organizing for remote workforce success.
Companies that do will position themselves for long-term growth in our collective uncertain future. You definitely want your company to be one of them!
Get in Touch
The age of the remote workforce is officially here. Need help making sure your company is set up for long-term success? Our team at OSM is here to find solutions that fit your business needs in today’s market. We understand that these uncertain times can be nerve-wracking and unpredictable, but we can assure you that we have a solution that fits your needs! Whether that be design, web hosting, marketing, blogging, SEO, paid media, email servicing or branding, our one stop digital agency can serve you! Just need to have a conversation on your marketing scheme and tactics? We offer consultations as well! Located in the Quinte region of Ontario, we are supporting business both locally and beyond!
As a busy entrepreneur, you don’t have time for time-wasting do-overs. You really need to get it right – whatever “it” happens to be from one moment to the next – the first time.
This includes trusting your employees. For example, you simply can’t be there every second to make sure your workers are taking great care of your company’s customers. You have to train them and then trust them.
This can be a tough balance to maintain!
The same holds true for your website, which is basically your online staff. Is your website doing a great job inviting current and potential customers to browse what you have to offer? Is it greeting people warmly – the way you would greet them if you were there personally?
Is your website giving them the red-carpet VIP tour, advising them of all the latest specials and making a plan to keep in touch? When your website serves your customers and prospects well, there is a much stronger chance they will be back.
If it doesn’t, you can bet they will take their business somewhere else...and likely for good.
How to Know When Your Website Needs a Facelift
Approximately 81 percent of customers go online before they make a purchase decision.
Take a look at your website and ask yourself, “If I were shopping online, would I shop on my site?”
Perhaps right about now you are thinking, “I don’t think my website is that great, but I don’t have money to do lots of expensive Google ads to bring people to us.”
Guess what? You don’t have to place pricey ads to generate more traffic! What you DO NEED to do is first make sure that if new visitors find you online, they will want to stick around and shop with you.
This is called “website optimization.”
It is what most websites need more of, so if your website has it, you are way ahead of the bell curve and much more likely to generate what is called “organic traffic,” which is the biggest generator of new business anyway.
So let’s talk about how to do this without having to invest a small fortune to make it happen.
Understanding Organic Versus Paid Website Traffic
Have you ever watched one of those televised awards shows where the stars show up on the red carpet and just look flawless?
They make it so easy to look perfect. But behind the scenes is another story. They might have spent all day, all week or even all year working up to that one big spotlight moment. The investment will be worth it if the cameras decide to turn in their direction.
But not all red-carpet stars get front-page features the morning after. The reporters choose of their own free will who to photograph, video, interview and feature.
This is the principle of organic website traffic in a nutshell.
Your website shows up. Your customers decide of their own free will whether to give you their attention or turn toward your competitors’ websites instead.
It is your job to make your website look flawless, effortless, perfect, to attract and hold your customers’ attention.
This means it is a misnomer to say that organic website traffic is “non-paid” traffic.
It is paid for in terms of how much time and energy and investment you put into your website behind the scenes. But once launched and visible online, a well-designed, optimized website will generate inbound traffic – new site visitors – without any help from Google Ads.
In fact, the most recent 2020 statistics tell us that up to 80 percent of people who use the internet to research or shop ONLY look at organic search results (i.e., they ignore the paid ads that pop up at the top, bottom and sides of their browser window).
How to Optimize Your Website to Get More Organic Traffic
The first step to optimizing your website is to identify where you are now and where you want to go. This is often the hardest step because it involves gathering data, analyzing that data and making sense of it to create goals.
Unless your business is website design or online marketing, you probably want to bring in an expert to help with this.
A five-star optimized website
is rich in SEO (search engine optimized) keywords
is responsive and interactive on multiple platforms (mobile and voice search-friendly)
is optimized for local SERP results (SERP – search engine results pages, i.e., local organic traffic via Google, Yelp, etc.).
makes full use of email signup, social media, webinars and freebies to collect prospective customer data and begin building that relationship.
A website that is optimized to perform in these four areas is like a trusted worker you don’t have to micro-manage.
They are “you” when you are busy elsewhere. They are so good at their job you might just award them “Employee of the Month” or even “Employee of the Year!”
Getting your website to this point represents the bulk of the behind-the-scenes workload required to capture more organic traffic, or more visitors to your website.
Once you start to see results, with more online eyes turning your way, then the rest is simply about refinement, making small adjustments and tweaks to continue to improve your online marketing results.
Get in Touch
Are you ready to turn your business website into your online Employee of the Year? We can help!
Read our local business case studies to learn more about the kind of transformation that is possible with a professionally optimized business website.
Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626.
No one launches a website these days just to have a website.
Sure, it’s cool to claim your own little corner of the web, but it won’t take long for that corner to start feeling lonely if no one ever comes to visit you there!
Plus, launching a website requires an investment. It will take time and finances plus mastery of new marketing skills, like SEO, or search engine optimization.
But why invest in SEO? What the heck is that, anyway?
Simply put, if your website is your business home online, then search engine optimization is the front door through which you welcome visitors who become new loyal customers.
You need SEO to make sure visitors who are seeking what you have to offer can locate you online and navigate their way to your front “door.”
Read on now to learn the four keys required for SEO business marketing success.
What Is SEO: A Non-Technical Explanation
Search engine optimization basically translates to “accurate directions.” Let’s say you head to the web because you need to get your vehicle’s oil changed. You aren’t sure where to go. So you type in the phrase “affordable oil change near me.”
In a flash, your browser detects your physical location and delivers several pages’ worth of information about the closest businesses that perform vehicle oil changes. With any luck, one of the first few listings will be an exact match for your needs.
Before you know it, you are on your way over to get your oil changed and on to the next item on your to-do list.
This is SEO in a nutshell: keywords on a site that Google recognizes as most relevant to your search and then suggests to you.
So now imagine someone is heading to their website browser right now because they need your product or service. What terms would they type in to find you? Would those terms find you? Or would they find your competitors instead?
How to Get Started With SEO For Your Business
If we just did our job well, you are probably already feeling more informed and confident about why SEO is relevant and important for your business success.
But even if the explanation you just read sounds simple in theory, when you go to put it into practice, you will quickly discover it is not as simple in fact.
Successful SEO marketing is hard work!
This is where we come in.
Just as we wouldn’t dream of being able to walk into your company and do your job well from day one, so too do we realize most busy entrepreneurs and small business owners have neither the time nor inclination to learn how to do what we do well.
SEO, like any skill, takes years of education, training and practice to master. Our clients trust us to do what we do well so they can continue to do what they do even better.
Four Keys to SEO Small Business Success
When you work with us to grow your business, we will implement these four critical elements of successful small business SEO marketing.
1. Target Market Business Analysis
Target market business analysis is a fancy way of saying, “How close is your website to page one of Google’s search engine results? Are you on page one? Page 20? Can you even find your website online?
If you are ranking but not on page one, we can help you get closer. If you are not ranking at all, we can help you rank and improve your ranking over time.
There are three parts to target market business analysis.
Initial keyword analysis
By the end of phase one, we will know where you are now versus where your competitors are now, how far we have to go and which strategies are most essential to get you there.
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research takes the last part of phase one several steps further. We identify the keywords your competitors are using successfully to outrank you in search engine results.
Then we look at the most important search criteria and keyword combinations to reach local customers with your marketing message and increase new visitors (inbound web traffic) to your website.
3. Content Optimization
With phases one and two under our belt, the next task is to begin a process known as “content optimization.”
In a nutshell, this simply means taking what we have learned about important keywords and key phrases and strategically using them to beef up your website content.
The goal here is to make calculated changes to your online content that won’t look calculated to Google’s algorithms. This is how a website moves up in the search engine rankings and eventually becomes that website everyone else in the industry wants to copy!
4. Measure and Test
Once phases one, two and three are completed, your website will essentially become a smooth operator online, steadily attracting new site visitors, generating new customer inquiries, gathering positive online reviews and slowly but surely attracting new repeat customers to your business.
But it is not all smooth sailing from here – far from it. Because you can bet that your competitors will notice your share of the local market increasing and will respond accordingly.
As such, this is the step that can most readily propel you to the top of the local competition or send you back into online obscurity. From here, we will continually be monitoring your search engine ranking results, tweaking your content accordingly to keep your success growing.
Get in Touch
Done well, SEO marketing is a full-time job, and you’ve already got one of those! So why not give us a call to see how we can help you realize your business dreams?
Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626.
A recent Google survey highlighted just how important a business’ professional website is to its success.
Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents (adults ages 18 to 64) stated they were more likely to purchase products and services from a business with a website.
Yet, 36 percent of small businesses reported they don’t have even a basic website in place. Why is this?
Running a small business is hard work. In many cases, there simply isn’t extra time or knowledgeable personnel to get a website up and running.
But that lack can cost you customers you don’t even know you’re losing.
In this post, discover how easy it can be to get your own small-business website operating before another new year arrives!
Cost Is Not An Obstacle to Launching a Business Website
With a little extra time and some basic tech savvy, you too could be on your way to populating your own corner of the world wide web.
But how valuable would your website be, given that your area of business expertise likely lies elsewhere? “Not too valuable” is the honest answer.
We’re not talking about launching a placeholder website. We are talking about a bona fide professional business website – one that actively drives new customer prospects to you and generates a continual stream of useful data to help you turn those prospects into loyal repeat customers.
What if you could get a small-business website for your company for less than $85 per month? Would you consider it? Would you perhaps even jump at the chance?
Go From Break-Even to Profitable with an Affordable Business Website
It is one thing to look at the straight-up cost of launching a new business website. We totally get it: when you are running a new business on a shoestring, any added expenses can often look exorbitant on the front end.
But what makes the cost of launching your business website not just affordable but profitable is what happens next.
Remember, your website isn’t just a checkmark beside an item on your to-do list. It is your active marketing partner all day, every day.
While you are busy tending to your customers and marketing your business locally, your website is doing the same for you online.
A well-built, well-maintained, active business and marketing website is going to earn its keep and then some. No one would ever launch websites if they didn’t help business owners increase business!
So if you launch a business website and you don’t see an increase in site visits, new customer inquiries and prospect-to-customer conversions, something is wrong.
This is yet another reason why you need to put your best foot forward the moment you establish your business presence online. The goal is launching a well-designed, fast-loading, seamless, straightforward business website that greets customers like you would greet them if they walked in your door.
Do this right the first time and you won’t have to backtrack to repair your online reputation and attempt to recapture customers who were unimpressed with your company’s online presence.
If These Small Businesses Can Do It, You Can Do It Too
Here at OSM, we are a small business ourselves. We just happen to specialize in website design and hosting, SEO (search engine optimization) advertising and online marketing.
Of course, we built our own website, and it is doing a great job for us!
We have also built sites for many other local businesses that are seeing great results from our affordable yet deeply customized and rigorously tested website designs.
Here again, if our own website wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain, it wouldn’t still be operating, and neither would we. The same holds true for each of our customers and their websites.
We have helped businesses in all stages of growth and at all levels of operation, from libraries and hospitals to residential communities, HVAC companies, consulting firms and nonprofits.
While our customers stay busy growing their companies, we build websites that become essential marketing partners for their success.
An Affordable Website Bundle for Every Small Business
Our Websites Bundle Offer is tailor-made for new and emerging businesses as well as businesses at all stages of growth and expansion.
The Bundle Offer includes everything your business needs to begin seeing results from claiming your internet presence.
It costs a little less than $85 per month (or $999.99 in one lump payment). To consider what this might look like in terms of return on investment, think of your least expensive product or service offering.
Let’s say you sell heating equipment. If you sold one new maintenance plan from launching your website, that would be $150 back in your pocket and two months of website services paid for.
Or perhaps you sell consulting services and your hourly rate is $100. Just one new consultation and your website has already earned its keep!
But you don’t just get a website with our Business Bundle. You also get website hosting (including professional business email) and our introductory marketing package – it is all included!
We do this because we don’t want you to launch a website and then wonder why you did it. We want you to experience the power of a focused, targeted, customized website from day one.
With our Bundle Offer, you get all of this:
Customized business template website design optimized for mobile and desktop.
Introductory hosting plan with lead-capture, analytics, ads, shopping carts and more.
Introductory marketing package with SEO optimization across Google, including business directly, analytics, traffic tracking and more
Get in Touch
Connect now to add effective online marketing to your business model!
Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626.
If you have ever found yourself eyeing your competitor’s busy website with envy or wondering how you can bring in new customers without adding anything else to your already packed schedule, what you are really asking yourself is: “Does my website need professional marketing?”
The answer, by the way, is YES.
This can be a daunting realization, especially when you might be an expert in your field, but you have to be honest and admit you aren’t even totally sure what “website marketing” means.
In this post, find out the answer to that question. Also discover why your website needs professional marketing and how it can help you generate new business without adding yet another hat on top of the existing stack precariously balanced on your head.
What Is Website Marketing?
Website marketing is one of many terms used nearly interchangeably to describe the process of seeking new customers in the online marketplace. This is because there are many types of marketing you can do on the internet to reach new customers.
Let’s take an example most small-business owners know well – local marketing.
When you launched your company, you probably already had an idea of where you could go and what you could do to tell potential customers about your company’s products or services.
You printed up business cards, flyers or postcards with coupons. You handed them out to friends, left stacks of them at the library and coffeeshop, took them to business networking meetings and neighborhood association meetings. Slowly but surely, word got out and customers started calling and visiting to hire you.
It is not that different to market your products and services online. But instead of walking or driving around in person to hand out your information, you are finding out where your customers hang out online and distributing your business information there.
Common places where business owners find new customers online include social media platforms, blog feeds, podcasts and vodcasts, email list groups, chat rooms, organic/paid browser searches and more. But you can’t visit these places in person – only your website can do that.
So website marketing is effectively using the information on your website to intersect with customers in the places online where they are most likely to go so you can bring them to your website to hire you!
When Do You Need Professional Website Marketing?
One of the keys to longevity in the small-business marketplace is knowing when to outsource certain critical functions. Unless your primary business is website marketing, at some point in time, you will likely want to outsource your website marketing function.
Of course, you may be thinking, “Well, I built my business from scratch and generated my customer base on my own, hoofing it and working hard. How hard could website marketing really be?”
Pretty darned hard, especially if you are starting from scratch to learn how it works. Sure, you are smart and you could learn how to do it. But is that really the best use of your time?
Here, the right question is to ask yourself is always, “What is an hour of my time worth?”
Think about all the hats you already wear and how much you would pay someone else to do any of the things you excel at. Would you rather outsource those functions or something you don’t (for the moment at least) know how to do yourself?
If you want and need to generate new business but don't have time to learn a new skill, the smart move is to hire experts who can help.
How Does Professional Website Marketing Work?
Every aspect of professional website marketing revolves around two key concepts: consistency and keywords.
By “consistency,” we mean your online (website) marketing presence needs to look the same from one social platform to the next and sound the same from one blog post or article to the next. This is how you build trust with prospective customers and turn them into new, loyal repeat customers.
The reason is that your online customers can’t see you. They can’t shake your hand, read your nonverbal body language cues, look into your eyes, get a gut sense of who you are and how you operate.
What they can do is notice that your brand identity (color, logo, URL, slogan/motto, voice) matches up everywhere they see you online.
This doesn’t mean your message has to be exactly the same on every platform – in fact, here, customization is critical to success. But it does mean that no matter where your online prospective customer encounters you, everything about the experience makes it clear to them that it is you.
When we say “keywords,” what we really mean is SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the primary reason you really don’t want to tackle website marketing as a newbie with a busy business to run.
SEO is complicated! You have to pick the right keywords in the right combinations optimized for where your customers are most likely to encounter them online. You have to read reams of analytics (data streams) and adjust your keyword marketing strategy according to emerging trends.
If that doesn’t sound like fun, you definitely want to hire someone who already knows the ropes to do it for you.
Why You Need Professional Website Marketing Now
When you spend your website marketing dollars wisely, they will start making you money in short order.
The best way to achieve this goal is to bring in an experienced website marketing team who does what they do just as well as you do what you do!
Get in Touch
Are you ready to take your website marketing game to the next level?
Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626.