We all hope it is true, that someone is out there looking for us.
Practically every business needs to incorporate an online presence into its marketing plan. Why? Because we see over and over that the vast majority of consumers search online as part of the shopping process. Whether we are in ‘research mode’ or are actively looking for where to make a purchase, we search online.
So if people are looking, will they find you? This is certainly not a technical “how-to” article, but rather a brief introduction to a few online tools to get you started asking the right questions. And right away I want to thank Chris Manley of Engenius Web Development (www.engeniusweb.com) for sharing some of these sites during a recent workshop he led for us here at the SBDC. His presentation helped to formulate this blog for those who are in the trenches of their business every day and need a 5-minute exercise to keep their online strategy on track.
The first tool is http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/ where you can find a number of tools to evaluate the keywords used in your website. With very little training I quickly explored a couple tools and found that in 15 minutes or less I could compare present keywords with the keywords that potential customers actively use when searching for a product or service. The Google AdWords: Keyword Tool also features a “competition” ranking that indicates how many sites (potential competition – or distractions) use various keyword combinations.
The second trick is really a bundle of ways to find the same thing: try searching for “keyword ranking tools” or a similar phrase to find your choice of websites which will help you gather information on what prospects are likely thinking (or searching on) when they are looking for you. There are dozens of sites out there – some better than others. I picked a random FREE site from the list and ran a couple quick tests. Professionals in the field would probably recommend a specific site, but my point here is that there is a lot you can learn quickly. Try a few variations to see where you land in different search strings.
The real take-away here is both strategic and practical: it doesn’t matter how well you present your business online, if you can’t think like a consumer they may never find you. While you know what you offer and how you want to be perceived the goal is to understand the thoughts, needs and vocabulary of the prospective customer. You probably ask customers how they heard about you, or if they have seen your website. But the truth is, if they didn’t find you online they may be someone else’s customer by now. It is about getting into the mind of the prospective customer you seek to attract.
Good luck! And please let me know if you find these thoughts helpful.
Merry Christmas and a Profitable New Year to you!