If you’re considering a website upgrade or overhaul, now is a perfect time to consider utilizing WordPress to create the entire site with an integrated blog.
With a blog, potential customers can see your passion and expertise for your business and you can quickly build client engagement by allowing them the opportunity to leave comments on your articles.
Blogging within a WordPress site allows you to easily post rich media such as photos, mp3s, podcasts and videos directly into your website, giving clients and search engines consistent fresh content to drive business to your site.
Encourage Customer Reviews – If you are a local plumber, for example, you can encourage customers to leave reviews on search engine directory sites like Google Places or Bing Local. These sites, as well as other directories like Yahoo and Yelp, are a critical addition to your local search marketing efforts and multiple reviews do help in getting a higher ranking. Take an hour or two and claim and optimize the pages that will be most important to your customers and then ask your customers to post reviews about their experience with your business. This can be done by adding links to these sites on your website and putting up signage in your business. Not every review will be stellar but that is ok – take the negative reviews as an opportunity to grow your customer service skills or enhance your product offering. We’ll be covering how to properly respond to negative reviews in a future post, so stay tuned.
Post Testimonials and Reviews – Armed with your new blog or WordPress website, you can also capture positive customer comments and put them on your own site in a variety of easy ways. Video testimonials are one such way to get your positive message out and build credibility with potential clients. Grab a video camera or even a cell phone and get a quick interview with your happy clients. Then post it to your WordPress website or blog for potential customers to watch. Another great way to get testimonials on your site and even into your social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter, is with whirLocal.com. WhirLocal is a review system that not only makes it easy gather, manage and share reviews, but it also boosts your search engine ranking with each new review left. WhirLocal integrates seamlessly into WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, as well as many others, so each approved review will be posted live to your website and social accounts.
Utilize Social Media – Building out your companies social media channels can be a big boost to your online “cred”. Social media offers clients and potential customers the opportunity to find and engage with your business in ways that were not even thought of just a few years ago. Not only can your business push offers, promotions and product information, but clients can engage your brand, resolve customer service issues and even spread recommendations all within a social network such as Facebook. Credibility is built by consistently engaging with your fans and followers and sharing client testimonials and customer reviews directly on your pages. Social media sites are indexed by the major search engines and with the advent of Google’s new social site, Google+, social media use will certainly be a factor in getting your business found online.
Learning to create, navigate and promote your business on these channels can be a bit of a time consuming challenge as they each have differing audiences with vastly different expectations. If you’re not totally social media savvy it would be wise to enlist the help of an online marketing agency to set-up your initial profiles and build a social marketing strategy specific to your business needs.
Be Easy to Reach – Open up all the channels of communication! Nothing frustrates clients more than not being to reach or get a response from someone at your business. Foster open communication on your social sites and respond rapidly to e-mail and phone messages. Make your contact info easy to find by placing your phone number, e-mail address and social media channels on each page of your website. Also, add them to your e-mail footers and make sure your website address and social media profiles are listed on any printed documents such as envelopes, invoices and contracts.
Leverage Referrals and Cross Promotions – Build your word-of-mouth marketing with a referral reward program. Referral programs typically offer discounts, bonuses or free services within your own business, but don’t be afraid to step outside the box on this one. Look for reward opportunities that exist outside your core business – clients will appreciate the genuine offering without it feeling so much like a business transaction. Try partnering with a local sandwich shop to give a free lunch and share the expenses and cross promotion. Cross promoting is a great tool to build credibility, since both businesses now have a reputation at stake. If you do choose to stay within your own organization make sure the reward is worth the referral and not just a promotion in sheep’s clothing. Whether you choose to offer discounts to your own business or partner with another, make your referral program easy to share via e-mail, social media, mobile and your website.
Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your business “cred” won’t appear overnight. It takes planning, consistency and great customer service to build a great reputation. It can be hard work at times, but, with the right tools and mindset, it is also a wonderful opportunity to engage clients in new ways and even have a bit of fun too.