Ah, Utah. The Beehive State. The land of snow and red rocks. The land of Sundance and the great Salt Lake. There are a lot of reasons to love this state. Especially if you’re a small business owner here. If there is one thing we love in Utah (other than green Jell-O) it’s local business. The shop small movement here is big, with everyone doing what they can to support local artists, stores, restaurants, and farms. But, unfortunately, Utah loving local business isn’t enough to get the word out about your company in any considerable way. Word-of-mouth is a method that many people depend on for their businesses, but it’s slow and certainly not a guarantee. There are other ways to reach a lot of people all at once to get them interested in good and/or services. That is internet marketing or digital marketing.
Here at Avant8, that’s all we do. We’re here to help business, large, small, and everything in between, reach as many people as possible digitally. There are many ways that you can go about this. Tackling your own internet marketing is intimidating to say the least. But that’s why we’re here. Even if you aren’t interested in hiring our services, we aren’t bitter (well, maybe a little bit. But can you blame us? Rejection hurts). We still want your company to thrive in this digital world. So, I’m going to present you with a series of questions to consider, along with tips on how to handle the digital marketing problems that may come up in connection to your answers.
How’s your website?
This is a big one, so we’re going to spend a lot of time on it. When starting out on digital marketing journey, one of the first things you need ask yourself is, “Is my website up to snuff?” By that we mean, how does it look? Is the information on it up to date? What about the photos? Are they at all outdated? Does every link on your site work? Is it easy to use? It may feel like we’re interrogating you, but these questions are beyond important. Your website is often one of the first ways that a potential customer or client will come into contact with your company and brand. You need to be sure of many things, but these things especially: the site is easy to use and it reflects your brand properly.
Let’s cover that first point. Is your website easy to use? If your site is confusing and/or has links and buttons that don’t work, potential customers will be turned off immediately. Trying to navigate a confusing site is beyond frustrating. So much so that most people won’t waste their time with it. If things don’t work or aren’t intuitive, they will often leave the page and find a different site to give them what they need. Our suggestion to you is to have friends and family use the site. Let them explore it and give you feedback. If you keep hearing about particular issues, you should probably address those first.
The other thing you need to be sure of is that your site reflects who you are as a company in an appealing way. Growing up we’re always told that looks don’t matter, and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And those are true. For people. But for websites, it’s a little bit different. Packaging can make all the difference on any kind of product. We as people just naturally gravitate towards the pretty things. Think of your website as the packaging for your company. It should be who you are wrapped up nicely. Find a color story that reflects the feeling you want your company to invoke. Find a font that is just the right amount of playful or professional. Follow your instincts with this. You know what your company is better than anything.
One last thing we want to cover before we move on to stuff other than your website; how accessible is your site? By that we mean, is it ADA compliant. That can make such a difference when looking for new customers. You need to make sure that the colors that you’ve chosen for your color story don’t make your site unreadable for the colorblind. You also have to make sure that your site uses alt text on images, so that those using screen readers can tell what is actually on your site beyond words. If you have any videos with sound/narration consider including either closed captioning or a transcript of the video, this way your hearing-impaired customers can still interact with your site to its full extent. This is something that often gets overlooked, but really shouldn’t be for so many reasons. Not the least of which being that making sure your site is usable by everyone expands your reach more than you may realize.
Spend much time on social media?
There is a very good chance that you have some social media accounts for your company. If not, then you absolutely should make some. Social media is so important for a modern company. It gives you a chance to show your customers and potential customers who you are in a way that other forms of internet marketing could only hope to achieve.
Through social media you interact with your customers, keep them informed about what’s going on (for example, what sales you’re having, what new products or services you may have). It’s also one of the main ways that people hear about new companies. When you make a post and add a hashtag that sums up your company (#utahrestaurants, for example), people will find you when they are wandering through their own social media. Plus, people can tag you in their posts. When someone really enjoys their meal and makes a post “@-ing” your restaurant, suddenly all of their followers are now aware of you, if they weren’t already.
So, if you don’t have any social media accounts for your business or just haven’t been good about updating them, we cannot stress enough how much you should get on that.
Ever thought about ads?
Yes, they are annoying. Internet ads popping up while you’re trying to browse a different site or interrupting a video you’re trying to watch are irritating. But as a business owner, you shouldn’t dismiss the idea. As someone who spends probably too much time on the internet, I can tell you that while those ads annoy me too, but they tend to stay in my mind. Those ads on Instagram, YouTube, and other sites are generally how I learn about new brands that appeal to my interests. And I know that I’m not alone. Online ads are a cheap and easy way to let people know that your company exist. There are a few different kinds of online ads you can try, but I’ve already droned on for a while, so I’ll just let you take a look at some of our blogs covering a couple of these choices (here and here). The main thing to know is that with our incredibly digital world, internet ads are likely to reach more people than TV or physical ads.
So, is internet marketing important for Utah businesses? Absolutely! What we’ve gone over above is just the beginning too. We haven’t touched on SEO, content, or ACF, all of which could make a major difference in your digital marketing. But you now have a good grasp on the basics, now all you need to do is get started. Or (prepare for some self-promoting) you could give Avant8 a try. We can help you plan out the perfect internet marking strategy to help you keep up in the ever-changing 21st century.