Online Marketing Archives | Karyn Paige
Your Small Business Homepage: 5 Features You Need

Your Small Business Homepage: 5 Features You Need

As a small business owner, your website is an important marketing tool.  Your website should be designed to grab people’s attention and invite them to start a “customer journey”.  Most of your website visitors won’t stay on your website for more than a few seconds, so making a clear impression right away is going to make a huge difference.

Your homepage is where you can get straight to the point and introduce your business.  No matter what business you’re in, your homepage should include a few key features in its design to make sure you’re covering all of your marketing hot topics.  

Don’t get hung up on all of the cool graphics, images and icons you include in your homepage design.  As long as you have the five features I’m about to discuss below, you will be in a great position to market your business.

5 Features You Need on Your Small Business Homepage

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to list these five features in order of where they should be placed on your homepage, and not how important they are.

1. A Picture of You

One of the best ways you can connect with your visitors right away is by adding a picture of yourself on your homepage.  That’s how they will get to know the face behind the business. It’s a little marketing trick that draws people in so they can feel like they know you.  

Once your visitors see you and can look you in the eye, they are more likely to trust you.  If you’re trying to sell something, you need to build that trust.

Your picture should sit with a bit of copy so it’s not just floating around on your homepage without any purpose.  That’s where your tagline comes in (more on that later).

Place your image right at the top of your homepage.  There are lots of creative modules and elements you can use for the design.  Canva has a lot of free templates you can use to create homepage banners where you can layer images and text.

2. A Tagline

Some websites are designed to include a tagline near the logo, so it appears on every page.  If your website isn’t designed that way, you definitely need to add a tagline.

Think of your tagline as your slogan.  It explains what you do in a few words or a short sentence.  You also want to identify who you serve if you’re targeting a specific type of customer. Keep it simple. Describe what you do and who you serve. Here are some basic examples:

  • Helping New Moms Find a Time-Saving Self-Care Routine
  • Crafting Artisanal Coffee & Vegan Baked Goods
  • Pampering Busy Hands One Manicure at a Time

In the previous section, I mentioned including a picture of yourself at the top of your homepage.  You can add your tagline in the same space as your image so visitors can associate who you are with what you do.

3. An Email Sign-Up Form

For the purposes of online marketing, the most important thing your website can do is  grow your email list. You want to stay in touch with people who visit your website so you can market directly to them later on via email.  

Your email sign-up form should be obvious to find.  Don’t be shy about including it on your homepage. You want to place it “above the fold” on your homepage, which means it should be seen before someone ever needs to scroll down on their screen.

When I’m building a website for one of my clients, I like to use a horizontal banner that runs across the screen.  Combining your email sign-up form with one of the accent colors in your branding palette draws attention directly to that part of your website.

Using a banner with your form also gives you space to include some snappy marketing copy.  This will show your visitors what’s in it for them when they sign up for your email list.  

You may be wondering if a pop-up can replace an actual sign-up form on your homepage.  The answer is NO. Absolutely 100% no.

If someone closes that pop-up, you don’t want to lose an opportunity to get them to sign up in the future.  Don’t worry about coming off as too “salesy” or too pushy. Promoting your email opt-in on your homepage is the very least you can do.  Here are a few other suggestions for promoting your email list on your website.

4. A Mini or Modified Version of a Sales Page

At this point, your homepage has all of the necessary features for the “above the fold” area of your layout.  But your visitors need to see a little bit more once they scroll past that.

In this area of your home page, you can add some copy that dives a little deeper into what your business has to offer.  This is where you can position yourself as an expert in your niche.

This section of your homepage is where you can let your brand’s personality really shine.  Use this space to show off your brand’s voice. Speak directly to your ideal client here.

You don’t need to write tons of copy here; just enough to keep visitors scrolling a bit more.  

 

Not sure what to talk about?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Show your potential client that you understand their needs and what they’re looking for
  • Description of how you can help
  • Point out your signature services or products

Flesh out your ideas with H2 size headers and a few lines of paragraph text.  

5. A Call To Action

Having a call to action invites your visitors to do more than just read your website and then leave altogether.  The action you want them to take depends on the type of business you have.

A typical call to action is usually designed as a button that sends your visitor to another part of your website. Here are some examples of CTA buttons you can include:

  • Learn More About Your Services
  • Book a Consultation
  • Watch Your YouTube Channel
  • View Your Portfolio
  • Read Your Featured Blog Posts

Be careful not to include too many calls to action.  When you give your visitors too many choices, they may get overwhelmed and abandon your site.

At the very least, your call to action could be inviting your visitors to sign up for your mailing list. If your homepage has enough content to keep your visitors scrolling for a few swipes, you could certainly add another email opt-in banner above your footer.

Final Thoughts

When your homepage delivers a clear message about your business and how it can serve your target audience, it’s already on its way to supporting your marketing goals.  When you add an email opt-in and a call to action for visitors to do something else on your site, you’re making the most out of your homepage.

 

Why Your Small Business Can’t Rely on a Facebook Page

Why Your Small Business Can’t Rely on a Facebook Page

When you’re just starting to build your new small business, it can be really tempting to save as much money as you can.  There are some expenses you can’t avoid, like paying for your business license or leasing a brick-and-mortar storefront. But then there are other expenses that you can cut corners on, like the tools you use to manage your day-to-day admin and operations.  All of a sudden you’re falling down a rabbit hole of business expenses. That’s when anything that’s free starts to look very appealing.

But like the old saying goes:  “You get what you pay for.”

One of the biggest variables in your startup budget is how much you spend on your website.  It’s easy for you to think, “I don’t have the budget for a custom website, so I’ll just set up a Facebook business page instead.”

But here’s the thing:  Your Facebook business page is not the same thing as your business website.  It doesn’t even come close.

If you’re relying on your Facebook business page to find customers and close sales, you’re missing out on some major opportunities.

Here’s why:

Why Your Small Business Can’t Rely on a Facebook Page

 

Your Customers Aren’t Getting a Unique Experience

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling sandwiches, manicures, life coaching sessions or dog-walking services — your business needs to provide a unique experience to your customers.

And they won’t get that if they land on your Facebook business page.  

When your client finds you on Facebook, they are having a Facebook experience, not an experience that you create.

They will see Facebook’s logo before they see yours.  They will guided by the content layout that Facebook dictates (which, frankly, is cluttered, ugly and confusing).  

Your ideal client will associate your business with something that lives on Facebook and not an independent and unique business.  

The Facebook experience is generic. It’s predictable and it doesn’t have a “wow” factor.

When your ideal client searches for your business online and the first thing they find is a Facebook profile, there’s no intrigue.

But visiting a custom website piques the curiosity.  That split second of mystery is what starts your ideal client down a special customer journey.  A journey that is more likely to end with a sale.

When your ideal client visits your custom website, it’s like you’ve given them an invitation to your home.  They get a chance to see your business’s personality (also known as your brand identity). They get to see what makes you different from the other businesses they can choose from.

When they see your Facebook business page, it makes your business look like every other business out there.

Doesn’t seem too enticing, does it?  

Having a custom website can draw your client’s into a journey that you have designed.  When they land on your homepage, you can direct them exactly where you want them to go.  You can show them exactly what you want them to see.

A custom website gives your business much more flexibility to stand out.  It gives you a better chance to make a strong (and lasting) first impression.

Keep it Social on Facebook.  Conduct Business on Your Website

Facebook is a social media platform first and foremost.  It’s a great place to showcase your business, but it can’t support all of the functions you need to run your business.

While Facebook might give you some basic business operations like a “Book Now” call-to-action button, you still have to redirect people off of Facebook (usually to your custom website) in order to finish the task.

In that regard, a Facebook page is better suited as a marketing tool than a website.  You can use it to get attention from your ideal clients, but your website is where you close the sale.

Sure, Facebook is a great place to hang out with your followers.  

You can use it to do all of the same things you would do with your personal page, like share updates and photos and have discussions.

But when it comes to actually running your business, Facebook doesn’t work as a standalone base of operations.

And never forget that you don’t own or control your Facebook business page.  If you put all your eggs in the Facebook basket, so to speak, all of your hard work would disappear if it ever shut down.

Your Customers Are Probably Missing Your Facebook Updates

When you’re using Facebook to make business announcements and offer promotions, you’ve got a lot of other distractions to compete with.

The Facebook algorithm that determines when and where your posts appear to your followers is always changing. Lately the trend has been to prioritize and feature posts from friends and family over businesses and interests. Most users don’t even get notifications from pages they follow unless they actively engage with those profiles.

But here’s another detail to consider:  Your ideal client may not be on Facebook at all.

Your ideal client may be hanging out on other social media platforms, or they may be part of a slowly growing group of consumers who have opted out of social media altogether.  

Facebook is a good place to market your business, but marketing directly to people on your email list has a much higher sales conversion rate.  

You can create several opportunities to get people to sign up for your email list directly from your website, and then email them directly when you want to promote your products and services.

And unlike your Facebook page, you do own your email list.  You have much more control over it. You can market your business via emails that land directly in people’s inboxes, which is far more effective than getting buried in someone’s Facebook feed.  

Final thoughts

Having a Facebook business page and a custom website isn’t an either/or choice.  It’s a both/and choice. You want to be accessible to your target audience from many locations.  Ultimately, all marketing channels should lead back to your custom website, where you have more control and autonomy over how you run your business.

 

Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

Using social media for your blog or business is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.  When your entire business is based online, you can’t live without social media marketing. It’s that important to the growth of your business.

Most of us are pretty comfortable with using social media for personal reasons. We use it to keep in touch with friends and family.  We use it to post pictures of important events in our lives. We use it to voice our opinions. We use it to follow our favorite celebrities and public figures.

Using social media for your business is a little bit different than that, though.  

In general, a good social media strategy for business should include the following tactics:

  • Positioning yourself as an expert in your field
  • Posting content that aligns with your brand
  • Providing value to your audience
  • Connecting with your target audience
  • Building your email list

If you can focus on those tactics when you create posts for your business profiles, then you are off to a great start!

Here are some other strategies for creating social media posts for your business:

Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

1. Create profiles for the major platforms

You may not be ready to start posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest quite yet, but you should at least claim your space on each platform.  

Stay consistent with your brand by using the same profile name across all platforms. use the same profile picture for each account as well as the same copy for your bio.

A lot of the platforms integrate with one another, which can simplify things.  For example, you can link your Facebook and Twitter profiles to Instagram, so one post can be published in three places.

Pro Tip:  Create a Facebook business page.  This will allow you to track marketing analytics on other platforms and do more advanced social media integrations on your website.   

2. Keep it professional

First and foremost, your posts should be about your brand and what your business offers.  Save the food pics and vacation selfies for your personal account.

If your company name is your actual name, it’s more than a good idea to create a second account that is only for business purposes.  You can risk confusing your audience if your posts are not on brand.

There is an exception to this, however.  If your whole brand is you and your lifestyle, you have more space to get personal with your posts.

Lifestyle bloggers, coaches and entertainers can blur the lines between the personal and the professional.  If you are in the business of monetizing your lifestyle, you have more reason to pull back the curtain and let the audience into your life.

When in doubt, keep it professional until you get the hang of creating posts.

3. Promote your blog, services and products

The easiest way to create content for your posts is to promote something you want to share with your audience.

When you write a new blog article, share it on social media.  If you offer services or products, you can create content around that which will give you a reason to post.  

You can be straightforward and use your posts to make an announcement about something you want to promote.  You can also get creative and find a unique angle to grab people’s attention, and then work in your promotion that way.

Using this simple strategy will give you enough content to create a few posts per week.  Don’t worry about being too spammy. Once you get the hang of creating content, you can easily promote your services and products on a weekly basis.

4. Show your face at least once a week

I know I just said keep it professional, but you should also post pictures or videos of yourself so your audience knows you are an actual human being behind your business.

Platforms like Instagram are very visual, and there is an expectation that users show their faces every so often.

When your audience never sees  your face, they can’t look you in the eye.  When they can’t look you in the eye, they are not likely to trust you.  If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy what you’re selling.

Start with posting a picture or video of yourself at least once a week.  You can use it as a reason to introduce yourself to new followers. You can use it to let your audience “behind the scenes” of your business.  You can even post a selfie with a caption of something inspirational.

5. Get really good at one platform.  Then add more.

Keep your social media responsibilities simple at the beginning.  Start out by posting to just one platform at first.

Once you start to get the hang of things over at Instagram, for example, then you can move on to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.  

Like I said earlier, you could post strictly to Instagram as long as your account is linked to Facebook and Twitter.  This will help minimize any overwhelm you might feel about managing too many accounts all at once.

Do some market research to figure out where your target audience hangs out online, and start by posting there to develop a presence.

6. Post Regularly

It is important to post consistently.  You will stay relevant to your audience and your posts will be less likely to get lost in the feed.

A regular schedule varies from platform to platform.  For example, on Twitter and Instagram, it’s customary to post 1-3 times per day.  On Facebook, however, you could get away with posting once or twice a week.

Pinterest, on the other hand, is more of a visual search engine than a social media platform.  Many marketers will suggest posting at least 25 pins per day in order to grow your audience and drive traffic to your website.  

7. Use a scheduler to plan ahead

If all of this still leaves you feeling overwhelmed or you just don’t want to spend your time posting in real time every day, I highly suggest using a social media scheduler.

Schedulers will allow you to plan out your posts far in advance, which makes social media marketing so much easier.

Facebook business pages allow you to schedule posts without having to use a third-party app.

WP to Twitter is a free WordPress plugin that lets you auto-post new blogs to Twitter when you publish them.

Apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Loomly* let you manage all of your accounts in one place, and will offer analytics and optimization features so you can post at the best times to reach your audience.

My favorite schedulers are Tailwind* and Planoly*.  Both have an emphasis on visual marketing.

I use Tailwind* for scheduling all of my blog posts as Pinterest pins (it works as an Instagram scheduler).  Tailwind can also link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can schedule posts there, too.

For Instagram, I prefer Planoly*.  The visual grid allows me to drag and drop all of my pictures so I can envision how they will look on my Instagram grid. I also love that I can use Planoly to save all of my hashtags.  

Overall, using a scheduling app to plan your posts ahead of time will make your social media marketing strategy much more streamlined and effortless.

Get started

Just go for it.  The best way to develop a social media marketing strategy for your business is to simply start already!  It’s very much a “learn by doing” situation.

*This is an affiliate link, and I may earn a few dollars if you purchase this product.

 

 

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