I created my first website back in 1995 for New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union with a text editor. I later upgraded to Homesite as I became responsible for more websites, but the first round of Dreamweaver was as far as I got into the next generation of site creation software. I moved out of the creative end of things and into marketing management just as the rest of the world was waking up to the World Wide Web, but I have stayed very connected with the growing field of digital marketing. I have experimented with and implemented just about every technique that has been developed to attract visitors and purchasers online. The bulk of my work has been with the credit unions, but there are a couple of non-profits and for-profit businesses mixed in there as well.

A few years ago, with the opportunity to re-design a WordPress site for a family member (rnbflooring.com), I had a chance to really dig into how a very common content management system (CMS) can be used to create a powerful presence for a small business. The experience reminded me that many credit unions and community banks are still, nearly 25 years since the first credit unions developed an online presence, missing out on the growth a fully developed digital marketing strategy can deliver.

Here are some thoughts on what a small business (and credit unions and banks) can do to leverage the web to find new customers.

  • A Clear Focus Is Required – On the web, consumers are looking for specific solutions, and the search engines they use to find those solutions do to. If your website is not focused on delivering information directly related to something a consumer is looking for you will not be found. In RNB Flooring’s case, the company wanted to be found for specific types of flooring needed for commercial applications. The new homepage features a limited menu of services, and subsequent pages are focused on delivering information on specific commercial services and getting the visitor to contact the company for a quote.
  • A Call To Action Should Be On Every Page – Every page on the website should be focused on solving a problem a consumer may have and include a call to action…”Buy Now”, “Contact Us”, “Download Our White Paper”. When an action is to be taken, you should make it clear what they should expect…three easy steps, 1-hour response, etc. This is very important as a search engine may drop a visitor directly on a page deep in your website. You need to treat every page of your website like it the only page a consumer will see.
  • Stress Your Location, Not Just Convenience – Every page should make it clear where you do business. Search engines are very focused on delivering relevant results and are beginning to deliver results that put businesses closest to the consumer on the first page. Besides making it clear what your service area is in your page titles and descriptions, you should include the information in your page content as well. As if that wasn’t enough, these days the search engines also look to see if you are listed on maps (Google Places, Yahoo Local) and social media (listing on Google+ is very important to Google these days).
  • Solve a Relevant Problem – An analysis of search terms can help you find problems consumers are facing. One such analysis a few years ago showed that more than half of the searches in my market for a checking account were for a “no credit check” or “bad credit” checking accounts. This led to researching ways to offer a product that could serve this largely untapped market. RNB Flooring found that it was getting a lot of calls for ESD flooring after posting a story about this special type of flooring on its blog. Turns out, very few competitors were devoting much space to the product on their websites and so RNB Flooring starting coming up higher in the rankings simply by offering relevant information on the subject.
  • Don’t Forget Mobile –  Google penalizes sites that don’t have a mobile site in its page rankings…at least when a search is conducted on a mobile device. Given how many searches are conducted on mobile and how close mobile searches are to purchase decisions (great research on that here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/creating-moments-that-matter/) you should have a mobile site focused on the information most important to mobile searchers (contact info, locations, hours, services, etc.). For RNB Flooring, we chose a WordPress theme that is responsive and presents a mobile version of the site automatically to mobile visitors…and required very little additional work to deploy.

I could go deeper into the world of digital marketing including SEO and SEM, but these are the points that jumped out at me as things that should be considered table stakes for any business with a presence on the web. Developing a complete strategy depends on the type of business, target markets and desired outcomes. I am happy to talk with any business interested in increasing the effectiveness of their web presence. Contact us top schedule a call.