Authored by Raquel Guarino
Maria Elena Duron is an expert in Google, marketing, and SEO. She helps small businesses, startups, creators, and execs manage and develop their personal brands in the ever-changing digital world. This is the second of a multi-part series.
Before You Start
Before you begin working on customer outreach, make a plan for your website, says Google Local expert Maria Elena Duron. First, ask yourself why you want one and what you want the site to do. Is your site for brand awareness, to help you sell, to inform potential employees, to re-engage past customers, or something else? Confusing websites without clear customer journeys bounce people off, says Duron. That's why people need to be able to browse your website and understand it fairly quickly.
Here are a few other questions to keep in mind:
- How will you reach customers? Make sure you have tools available on your website that guide the customer journey. These generally include clear calls to action.
- Who is your ideal audience? Your target market should be specific (hint: if your target market is "everyone," you will need to narrow it down). To help you understand who your target market is, Duron suggests thinking of potential customers this way: your target is the client that gives you enough pleasure and profit. Having 100 of these customers would make your company successful.
- How will you measure success? Define your goals with metrics and a timeline. If you’re not measuring, you’re throwing money away, says Duron.
Create an SEO Friendly Site
Duron says that how your website is organized is extremely important for both customers and Google SEO. Here's what she suggests:
- Update your site with useful, original content. Whether it's a blog giving tips about your expertise, adding a recent change in your menu to your website, or posting your artwork in a photo gallery, if you don't have the right kind of information, your target customer will end up leaving.
- Include text links throughout your site. This will give your visitor ideas about how they can learn more about you and could even guide them to making a sale or reaching out about your business.
- Add specific page titles and descriptions. Without these, your visitors may get confused and bounce off the site.
- Ensure your website has a fast load time. Duron says your website must load in 4 seconds or less, or else they’ll bounce off. Research shows you lose about 50% of people who found you when your website load time is too slow. You can test your website with this free Google tool.
- Optimize your images for web. High resolution photos can slow down your load times. On slower computers, these photos might not even show up at all and a red X could appear instead.
- Make sure your website is Google-friendly. Use Google Search Console to get data, tools, and diagnostics for a healthy and SEO-friendly website.
Master Your Marketing Strategies
Duron says that strong content, social media, and email marketing can help widen your audience and reach relevant people more quickly.
- Experiment with different formats. Try text posts, video, and whatever other media you'd like. Stick to the formats that engage the most people and work best for you.
- Post different types of content. Vary your content to get a sense of what your target market is looking for. Some examples include how-to articles, top 10 lists, and educational material.
- Make sure your content is relevant. Use tools like Google Trends to research which topics are popular and gain useful insights on what people are searching for online.
Social Media Marketing
When it comes to your social media accounts, Duron says your content should be:
- Entertaining and engaging to read
- Useful and actionable
- Visually appealing
Duron also emphasizes the importance of creating a call to action for your social media posts. She says vanity metrics aren't useful to you if your followers are not taking the actions you'd like them to take (such as visiting your website or signing up for your newsletter).
It’s not dead, says Duron. In fact, it's one of the main ways so many of us get information from brands about sales, promotions, and events. According to her, great emails contain:
- A clear subject line
- A call to action
- Great mobile design
- Content personalized for recipients
- Correct spelling and grammar.
Don't Forget Mobile
Mobile accessibility may be the last thing on your mind, but it shouldn't be. Nowadays when anyone has a question, the first thing people grab isn't their computer, it's their smartphone. Here's what Duron suggests you do to make your site more mobile-friendly.
- Focus on making your navigation and homepage easy to use on a smart device.
- Make sure it's easy to search your site on mobile.
- Double check that mobile visitors can easily complete tasks on your site via mobile.
- Make filling out forms as easy as possible. Don't ask visitors for more than an email address.
- Get rid of popups, which can be impossible to X out of on a smartphone or tablet.
Which tips are most useful to you? Do you plan to use any to improve your website's accessibility?