Firing up your business: 5 tips from Google

Mark Jackson, Industry Head, Finance at Google New Zealand
Firing up your business: 5 tips from Google

With more and more Kiwis using the web to research and buy goods and services, it’s essential that New Zealand businesses get their online strategy right. Here are 5 tips for getting your business firing:

 

1. Be the best at being found

Not being online is the same as not being in the phonebook was a few years ago. You should regularly perform a ‘test search’ for your top selling products – would you click on your ad or are your competitors standing out better?

Unfortunately there isn’t a magic formula to make sure your website is the first listing on organic search engine results. But smart use of online advertising can help you reach the right customers, just as they looking to make a purchase.

The more relevant your ad to the users’ search query, the more likely they are to click on your ad. For example, if you are selling shoes, you should have very different ads for ‘stilettos’, ‘jandals’ or ‘gumboots’.

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2. Think Mobile

Just as smartphones are an integral part of our lives, they should also be a key part of your marketing strategy.

Think about how, when and where your customers might be doing things differently when they are searching for or using your products or services on a mobile, then market to these different needs and behaviors accordingly.

For example, a restaurant might want to put more investment behind their search bids for people searching on a mobile on a Friday or Saturday night, because there is a higher chance of these people being out and about and ready to convert to immediate sales.

It’s interesting to note that 1 in 5 searches on Google are related to a customer’s location, such as people looking for the closest shop or service. If you’re not showing up on online maps, you may be missing out on a lot of business.

The good news is getting listed on Google Maps is quick and free using a new tool called Google My Business, which you can find online.

 

3.  Work your website  

Once you can be found, it is important that when a customer clicks through to your website, they are going to want to take action based on what they see.

Even service-based businesses which are largely offline, like builders or hairdressers, can still use websites to show off the inside of stores, display services, profile the experience of their staff or customers.

Think carefully about what you want your customers to do when they get to your website. Are the top reasons to buy from your business clear and concise, with a strong ‘call to action’ standing out at the top of your page?

You can also learn a lot what your customers are looking for and whether you were able to help them from your website. You can sign up for a free analytics program such as Google Analytics that provides insights and tips which help you make your website easier to use – leading to more people talking about your site, sharing your content and linking to you.

 

4. Be chatty

Social media lets you get closer to your customers, providing a new avenue of customer service that allows your business to build a reputation beyond bricks and mortar.

But before you jump in, pick your platforms wisely. Some businesses, like florists or clothing retailers, can make the most of visually rich sites like YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram.

Others will have more success by offering exclusive deals, competitions or chatting with like-minded people on Facebook or Google+.

Take a look at similar businesses to your own and observe how they’re using social media.  

 

5.  Switch to the cloud

Some of New Zealand’s fastest growing companies are using cloud based technologies to run their business. It lets them work from anywhere, share large files quickly and employees can work on one document together in real-time, regardless of where they are located.

Along with boosting collaboration and productivity, having your data and resources online removes the need for physical office servers and IT support – dramatically cutting costs. 

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Mark Jackson is Industry Head, Finance at Google New Zealand

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