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The New Year is a fantastic excuse to not only better yourself but your business as well. A new year provided businesses with the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and review their activity moving forward.

For many businesses, the best place to start is with your online presence. In an increasingly digital world, a business’ online presence is arguably their most important shop window. However, with changes in the online world happening almost daily, your activity can soon become outdated if you don’t keep on top of your strategy. This could affect the user friendliness of your site and in turn, the number of leads you receive.

Here are a few ways you can revamp your online presence in the New Year:

Re-evaluate your target market

Whether you are selling to consumers or other businesses it is important to know who your target market is and how they shop.

Understanding your audience will allow you to revamp your online presence accordingly. Take a look at your demographics data and web analytics to get an idea of who is visiting your website.

Find out the average age, sex, income level, location, marital status and race of your target market. If you want to analyse your consumers even further consider psychographics, i.e.  their values, lifestyle, religion and purchasing motives.

You can also utilise your email lists and social media accounts to conduct some free surveys and polls to find out this information. To encourage consumers to fill out the surveys offer a discount code or a free download upon completion to encourage the response rate.

Once you discover the demographics of your audience you can begin to evaluate how you can appeal to them in the New Year.

You can also figure out how they shop and it’s well worth taking a look at the search queries they used to land on your website, which you can do through Google Search Console. This should give you an idea of what they are looking for when they come to your business, which helps you to decide how to organise and present your business online.

Look at your engagement on channels

If you are not currently active on social media you are potentially harming your business. Social media has become an integral part of marketing, almost as vital as having a website or even phone number in some cases.

eMarketer found that 55% of small businesses updated their social media business content monthly or less frequently, 30% updated it weekly, and only 15% did so on a daily basis. If you are one of the businesses that only updates monthly or less, then you need to reconsider the budget and resources devoted to your social media strategy in order to improve engagement.

Consumers will follow brand pages in search of offers, news and even to communicate, if you are not active on your accounts they may decide to look to one of your competitors that is.

Keeping your feeds up to date with the latest developments, such as new products or upcoming sales, may encourage people to buy from you.

Be sure to upload non-promotional content as well to encourage interactions, people enjoy interacting with a humanised brand. For instance, you could upload images from behind the scenes, live videos answering questions and polls to inspire business decisions. This will strengthen your online presence and create an affinity with your consumers.

Improve your customer service

Customer service will always be a vital aspect of any business. How you communicate with your customers, whether the reason of their enquiry is negative or just to ask questions, is important.

Fewer and fewer customers are picking up the phone and calling businesses for answers or to make complaints.  In a survey by Aspect Research they found that phone/voice was the most frustrating customer service channel. For this reason, many consumers are instead turning to online methods.

Improve your customer service online by ensuring that there are systems in place to deal with customers on your online channels and perhaps consider offering additional contact methods to suit customers’ demands.

Firstly, make sure there is someone monitoring your social media accounts. Many consumers turn to a business’ social media pages to ask questions or make a complaint. In fact, according to Convince and Convert, answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%. It is important that this communication opportunity is not overlooked as it could reflect on your business negatively and inspire a retaliation in the form of a poor public review.

If you have a Facebook page, be sure to set up the automated messenger chat feature where visitors can choose from a number of options if they need to get in touch with you, from enquiring about delivery options to asking where their order is. Vegan skincare brand Botanicals, has set up their messenger response with a series of predetermined queries:

As they’re not able to man the account 24/7, this feature lets them know what a query is about as soon as they’re able to attend to their messages.

Secondly, considering offering a chat bot on your website. These are artificially intelligent bots that use natural language processing systems or, as is seen with the simpler bots, they use keywords or wording patterns, to answer questions. This would mean that customer service would be available 24/7 without having the expense of additional man hours. Unless you are a techy person adding a bot to your website may require bringing in a professional, which could be an unbudgeted cost. But there is another option, instead of charging the cost to the company card where interest rates are high, consider a business credit card alternative to give you the additional funds you need.

Optimise your presence for conversions

At the end of the day the aim of any business is to convert visitors to customers. Whether you are a B2B or a B2C business you need to consider optimising your online presence for conversions. The easiest way to do this is to improve the usability of your website.

If your website is difficult to use, consumers are less likely to convert. Here are a couple of quick fixes that can make a difference:

  • Page load speed: to improve this you can optimise images, enable browser caching, prioritise above-the-fold content and minimise HTTP requests. Use Google Analytics to discover your page load speed
  • Make your website responsive: Your website needs to be easy to use and view on several devices, particularly mobile. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to see if your website fits the bill, and if not take the necessary measures to make it so.

Another way of optimising for conversions is to ensure that landing pages have clear calls to action on them. For example, if you share a post on social media encouraging people to book now, make sure that the page they land on has a button to book now or an actual booking form on it.

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Billy Goodwin A.K.A Skaidon (my gamertag). As you can probably tell I love gaming. You will more often than not catch me with my headset on yelling online. I also love blogging, especially about the tech industry, hence the birth of the blog ' Skaidon'. Feel free to get in touch with me anytime or if you fancy a challenge add me online using 'Skaidon'.

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