Unless you’re a fluffy toy business who sells cutesy bears and Hello Kitty products or your business sells products that easily lends itself to a having a friendly vibe online, it can be difficult for business owners to hone their website in a style that is anything but po-faced and direct.
Gauging how far to go in either direction is tough at the best of time, but it your business is security based or industrial, it becomes even tougher. Finding a voice is important for your online presence, and that voice could be the difference between you standing in front of your competitors or behind them.
Simply putting your products on a webpage and hoping customers find you isn’t enough in the Google age, you have to give the online world a reason to find you, a reason to look around your site and then, a reason to buy with you. If you can pull that off, the Holy Grail is that they will also come back to you in the future.
Content is Key
Once a customer has found your site, it is the content on your website is what will engage them and make them stick around, hopefully leading to a sale. Deciding on how to approach this is key to the success of it.
If we’re using the physical security industry as an example, the way to engage the customer is by spicing up the basic content – what the products look like, the technical data, where they are fitted – with some interesting facts or stories about what they can be used for or prevent.
An example of this is roller shutters. On the surface, they look like basic physical security tools that come down at the end of a busy shift for a shop or retail store. But during the riots of August 2011 in London, the shops without roller shutters were targeted more heavily by rioters because they knew that the security wasn’t as tight as the shops that had shutters fitted.
Already you have an exciting angle in which to write content about your products. The riots were an extreme case – and hopefully will never be repeated – but it makes your content engaging and will make your customers see that if roller shutters can protect you from rioters, then they are a good idea to have them for the day to day security.
The key is not to sensationalise with the content by screaming: “Our products can protect you from rioters!” But facts are facts, and if your shutters will better protect you against the likes of burglars and criminal damage, be clear and proud of this in your content.
Using Social Media Wisely
Every business has a voice and a personality, and it can be lightning in a bottle if you can translate this to the online world of your business. Social media like Twitter and Facebook is a great way to connect with your customers, and can go a long way to endearing them to your company. Your strategy shouldn’t be ‘sell, sell, sell’ as much as ‘engage and convert’.
There have been examples recently where large corporations have tried using social media and it has backfired spectacularly. McDonald’s and Waitrose are two of the biggest companies in the world in their fields, but they misjudged the Hashtag trend on Twitter and found themselves a little red-faced over it.
In the instant messaging world, one false move could end in ridicule, and for smaller businesses it could be a huge problem for you if you don’t judge it right. McDonalds and Waitrose are huge enough to shrug it off, but your company might not be.
The best way to use social media is to announce products, share news about your industry and to just be friendly. The occasional sales tweet won’t go amiss, but if you base your entire social media strategy on selling your products, people will lose interest very quickly. If your company has been involved in charity event – why not post some photos or write a blog post about it? It shows potential customers that there are real people behind the business.
Keep in Touch with E-Mail Marketing
Repeat and loyal customers are key to the success of a business. A contract, verbal or handshake agreement is always great, but it is important to think about other ways to keep in touch and nudge your past customers every now and then to let them know that you are still here and waiting for their call.
E-Mail marketing is extremely useful for businesses. This could be anything from a newsletter detailing any news updates about the company – including what you have been up to, any new products being released or new staff have come on board – or special offers that only your loyal customers are entitled too.
Keeping in touch with your client base lets them know that you still value their custom and that you will be waiting for their call when they need the products and services that you offer again.