Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Seeing Your Business Through Your Customer’s Eyes

When you’re engaged in running and building your business, sometimes you get caught up in the details of day to day operation.  If you're like most small business owners there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  This can lead to missing out on the bigger picture – your customers. 

When potential customers search for your products and services, visit your website, and connect on social media, they do not see the intricate details of your marketing efforts. Instead, they see what is at face value – your content, your social media presence, your competition, etc. In order to ensure that your business covers all bases and provides the customer with what they want to see, it is helpful to look at your business through their eyes. 

When was the last time you…

You probably jump on the internet on a daily basis, but how often do you visit your website as your customers see it? When it comes to the customer, the most important aspect of a website is current content. Keeping your content current and regularly updated shows the customer that your company is still active and that you are experienced in your industry. First, you should ensure that the products and services you offer on your site fall in line with the current direction of your company. An obvious mismatch could make your customers more likely to choose one of your competitors. 

Second, you should regularly update any content on your site that is dated, such as news, blog posts, and articles. Having old content may cause potential customers to place less trust in your brand or even assume that you have gone out of business. Finally, you should ensure that the employees featured on your website are still a part of your business. One key aspect of creating a connection to potential customers is by giving a face to your business. Your website should always stay updated with employee changes in the same way that you would update new products or your blog.

Googling your company is a simple and fast way to see what your customers see when they seek out your business. You can easily determine how high you are ranking in search results, what other places on the web your company appears, and whether potential customers are seeing negative or positive results. First, you should ensure that your website and all social media profiles are ranking at the top of a search for your business. Customers should be able to easily locate any and all online presence that represents your business.

Next, you should continue scrolling through the search results to see where else your company appears. Do any other organizations or directory sites list your company? If so, you should ensure that information about your company is correct and updated on these sites. Finally, look further to see if any search results provide negative discussions of your company, such as bad reviews, lawsuits, or product recalls. This can both inform the next steps in your internet marketing campaign and keep you in the know about how your business is viewed by customers. 

Googling your industry and competition is also an excellent way to see how you match up in terms of internet presence. The best way to test this from the customer’s perspective is to type in keywords or phrases that potential customers use to find your products or services. Using keywords that customers search for in your industry will show you exactly what they see.

First, check out what competitors show up in your search results. Because these are the other companies that your customers are seeing, it is imperative that you match up to their online presence. You should also determine if they are local, national, or international players; figuring out the scope of your competition will enable you to tweak your own marketing campaign accordingly. 

Next, see what products or services your competitors are offering, and examine how well your own products and services match up. If your competition is providing an in-demand service or brand new product that your business is not, it may be time to change and update the products and services of your own company. Finally, you should also determine whether or not your SEO campaign is missing out on any keywords that potential customers are using. Your website should be optimized for these keywords to ensure that when customers search for products and services in your industry, they find your company first.