Top Tips – Foundations for your business

TOP TIP #1 -Choosing the right domain name for your business.

You’ve decided it’s time to take the plunge and get your business online, brilliant – now one of the first things to consider is what domain name are you going to use? A domain name is the address used to identify your website.

Ideally you want your domain to say just who you are; if you’re a new business, you may have a slight advantage to search available domains as you make your decision in choosing the right name for your business. Remember also that this will form your email addresses too and you want it to be memorable and representative of your business. It’s one of the first steps of building your brand identity.

As trends and customer search habits have evolved, we’d suggest keeping domains to your business name, adding maybe your location if you need to look at alternatives or a subtle change of word – even changing the order of words could work? This helps with initial brand recognition and credibility that your online presence matches the business card or flyer your potential customer has seen. If possible, we’d recommend that you purchase the .co.uk and .com so that your name is safeguarded against any potential competitors buying a similar domain as this could be damaging to your brand.

A couple of tips to be aware of:
Using unusual spellings or abbreviations in your domain name could be detrimental. Words such as r (instead of are!) or u (instead of you) may be a disadvantage to attract potential customers searching for your business. Causing confusion before they’ve found you, isn’t a good start to the customer journey!

Check if the domain name may have a different meeting, dogsexpert.com (dogs expert, dog sex pert) could provide some interesting search results!
Unless it’s the tongue in cheek shock factor you’re after – best to steer clear of potential mishaps!

TOP TIP #2 – Logos and Brand and Identity

There are many decisions to make when launching / or even re-vamping your business. With a name chosen (#websitewednesday), today’s #toptipthursday is a reminder of why your logo, with your domain name i.e. business name is just as important.

What is a logo after all you might ask?
A: Typically a combination of any/all these elements: Graphic image element / typography i.e. business name / colour / strapline

What does a logo do? / Why do i need it? It’s just my company name isn’t it?
A: The key reasons to have a logo –
1. Making a 1st impression count > you want to entice customers to interact with your brand
2. Gives your business a ‘symbol’ to better remember you by – pictures are often ‘read’ quicker than words and at a glance, capture more attention
3. Creates your brand identity leading to recognition and encouraging loyalty
4. Distinguishes you from the competition

A well designed logo will do a lot of the heavy lifting for your future marketing, it should reflect your business and tell a story of your brand…it’s not just ‘a name’ but a visual representation of your business and should appeal to your target audience. There’s a lot of thought and theory that goes into making your logo just right for you, we like to consider every aspect of your business, it’s values and your target audience to name a few!

TOP TIP #3 – Getting your buisness online

Getting your business online isn’t just about having a website and websites on their own, won’t suddenly send customers flocking to your inbox

Did you know, there’s things you can do even before you get underway with a website to get your business online

You can set up free online listings to get your business name out there and into the search engines so at least you can be found and customers will be able to call/email you, this includes getting listed on the major search engines like google and bing – more on that next week.

If you’ve secured your domain name, don’t just let it sit there. A branded holding page will let your customers know you have every intention of being an online business and let them know what’s coming soon. You’ll be building that early trust and brand recognition too, plus we can include social media links where they can keep up to date with progress and know when your site goes live, because that’s something to shout about on social media too! (That’s a whole other conversation for another post or two)

If you’re working within a set budget these steps can be really utilised as part of your brand awareness and build up interest and hype around your business leading up to your website launch. If it takes a little longer than you first expected, its better to have the right foundation of information in place and keep plugging away. It will be worth it!

 

TOP TIP #4 –Don’t miss an opportunity to share your business info

This might seem like the most obvious thing to do when you have a business, but muddled in with everything else you have to think about, it can be simple to forget to leave a trace or share your business details at every opportunity.

For marketing materials think beyond the humble business card… you can go as big as sign written vehicles and banners on your business premises, maybe embroidered uniforms for staff or A-Boards outside the shop, to branded packaging and tags.

For anything online, it couldn’t be easier to add in links, after all, you’re sharing all this engaging content, you want your interested audience back on your website and making an enquiry or purchase? You can even get clever and track your links, we use bit.ly and can see who’s clicked our links in fb posts and followed them to our website.

TOP TIP #5 – Online Listings: Google & Bing

We’re diving a bit more into what you can get or do with a ‘proper’ listing on Google and Bing’s search and map networks. Yes, you can tell them directly what information you want listed about your business and it has to be verified by the business owner so not just anyone can post anything. Good news!

These listings can be completed without a website link and have all the other information a searching potential customer could want to find out about you; contact info, opening hours, are you a physical shop with parking, or do you provide a service within a geographical area – all of these options and more can be listed and most importantly updated – nothing more annoying to a customer than out of date information.

Google gives you greater control also to add photos and posts, maybe not so much like social media but if you have an offer running, it might be worth a post you can always direct them back to your website or social media page and there’s analytic data to view, so you can see how people are finding you. Plus a sneak at the competition too – always good to be in the know with what your competitors are up to 

Another often overlooked element of these humble listings, is that having all the same information, spread across different listings and any marketing material for that matter – makes you a credible business. That’s an important first impression to make in any business.

Want help with your listing see more info HERE

TOP TIP #6 – Be where your customers are

Love it or loathe it, social media gives us an opportunity to get under our customers’ noses and gently keep us on their radar…but with so many different platforms, should you be everywhere or just pick one?

In our experience, we’d say having worked out who your ideal client is, be where the majority are. For Squiggle, we started on FB as that’s where the majority of our customers hang out, after a few months trial and error we soon saw when our customers were online too – so target our posts to when you’re on your phones! A few of you may have noticed also that we’re just getting our instagram up and running too.

With any marketing approach, have a plan of what you want your customers to do or get from viewing your content and make that your focus.

Don’t go spreading yourself too thin and end up with no engagement. It takes consistent posting, trial and error of varying content types, times and tone to find what works for you and your customers.

Remember to acknowledge the comments and engagement you get, each interaction is building a picture of how your business/brand deals with customers and can be a most valuable tool in building trust of you/your business.

 

TOP TIP #7- WordPress plugins that let you share your reviews.

We love working with WordPress here at Squiggle, the possibilities are endless and there’s normally a widget or plugin to answer any question! One of the key things we love about WordPress is the ability to pull in reviews from dedicated review sites like trustpilot, tripadvisor and airbnb.

You’ve worked hard to get your business online and out there, so it’s only right to want to show off the praise you receive from happy customers. They are your online brand ambassadors and what better way is there to promote your business than direct insight from happy customers?

TOP TIP #8 – Reviews, Testimonials and Recommendations

Whatever we choose to call it, asking for feedback from client’s is something we should do as a matter of course when completing any project but is often the thing we find the hardest.

Word of mouth remains the most credible way to build a reputation, websites and social media have just moved this online. This does of course open up the possibility for anything that may not have gone smoothly to be aired for all to see – spin this around and use this as an opportunity to show off your excellent customer service skills.

Don’t forget to acknowledge, thank and reply if appropriate to comments on your social media too, these customer engagements all form part of your online profile and build a picture of your brand.

So much research is undertaken on a company or deciding on a purchase, that positive testimonials really can make a difference to help you stand out from the crowd and show why potential customers should come to you. Don’t underestimate the impact they have.