By Chanda Temple
So someone told you that you needed a website to bring in more customers for your business.
You created one and nothing happened. Now you’re wondering what went wrong.
Andrea Walker, a digital strategist and start-up marketing expert based in Birmingham, Ala., may have some answers.
On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 she will lead a free workshop on how to make money from your website. The session will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. It’s free but registration is required, via this Eventbrite.
The workshop is part of an ongoing entrepreneurial series sponsored by Renasant Bank and Trudy Phillips Consulting Service. (Go here for the entire schedule.)
“A lot of small businesses don’t have the money to do advertising and ad campaigns, so (this workshop) will really be for how to use content marketing and social media to attract the right kind of customers they are looking for,’’ Walker says. “At the end of the day, I want people to walk away learning something they haven’t learned before and knowing they can do it.’’
Her session will address several topics, including the importance of content marketing, which is how to create and share free content on the web with the goal of attracting potential customers and turning them into repeat customers. In order to do that, here are a few things Walker says you should to consider:
Offer effective content on your website
A good way to market your business is through website content that’s effective. Don’t treat your content as an afterthought. Before posting information on your “About Us’’ page, think about what makes your company different from competitors; what problems are you solving for customers; etc.
Define and discuss the solutions you offer. Studies have shown that people tend to connect to content that addresses a problem rather than details on how a product works or was made. If you have trouble creating the content, hire someone skilled at writing for the web.
Know your site’s metrics
Do you know how people are finding your site? How long are they staying on it? Why are they leaving? You must know your numbers. Understanding Google Analytics will help.
Have a call to action
Once a person visits your website, encourage them to sign up for your company newsletter. You will capture email address that way. Make sure the newsletter invitation is compelling. A subtle invitation may be ignored.
A lot of small businesses don’t have a huge, in-house team to create weekly content. For those on a budget, consider tweaking or repurposing content you’ve already posted on social media or in a previous newsletter.
Seek helpful resources
Read books such as Eric Ries’ “The Lean StartUp,’’ which examines approaches to how new products are launched and companies are built; check out copyblogger.com, which discusses the latest trends in content marketing; join Birmingham writing groups such as See Jane Write to find good writers or improve your own writing; sign up for the newsletter from REV Birmingham, which offers entrepreneurial workshops; and look into Birmingham Entrepreneur, a bi-monthly organization that offers workshops.
Start creating good website content now
There was a time when people used to tell Walker they didn’t have time to have a website. When they did, she was quite frank with her response, telling them, ‘You are leaving money on the table. That’s the No. 1 way people do business now,’ ‘’ she said. Today, fewer people tell her that. A website is the first impression people have of you, she said. If they Google you and can’t find you or they find a bad-looking website that’s hard to navigate, they may assume you or the company may not be reputable.
Chanda Temple is a former reporter now working in public relations. She blogs about being better in business and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.