Guest post by Megan Totka, chief editor for ChamberofCommerce.com
When we talk about small businesses, plenty of images pop into our heads. Suits and ties, lots of shaking hands and crowds of busy mouths chatting it up and making deals. We think of the community that small businesses represent and the millions that they serve. In short, we often think of people.
The reality of most SMBs is often a lot lonelier. We write. We produce. We call. Unfortunately, we often get silence in response. Despite taking all the necessary risks and putting our well-being on the line, we are forced to sit on the other end and play the waiting game. We refresh our email and sit quietly by the phone in anticipation of a sale, a deal or just something to break the silence. What if the break never comes?
Is it us? It is them? The blame game doesn’t get businesses very far. It’s the responsibility of the modern business to encourage activity from their users in some way, shape or form. Our websites represent the best platform to do so. Whether you’re looking at existing customers or new clients, consider the simple steps you can take to get the most out of your visitors and encourage meaningful interaction and engagement.
If you want something, sometimes it’s best to just ask.
If you’re looking for feedback or some sort of impression from your visitors, feel free to ask directly. This could mean:
- Asking tip or entry on a review site such as Yelp
- Posing a question to your followers on Facebook
- Requesting a testimonial about your customers’ most recent experience
Whether it comes from your site, social media or even email, sometimes users require a little extra push in order to give you a piece of their mind.
Perhaps thing have grown cold on your content. There are a ways to encourage activity on your content on both a direct and subconscious level. If you want your readers to comment, it’s simple enough just to ask. Additionally, consider topical content that drives discussion and encourages shares. Include images to increase visibility and improve readability, too.
Don’t be afraid to delve into controversy in your quest for comments, but be relevant. Also consider that blogs that update more often drive more traffic and, therefore, more discussion.
But What if Nobody’s Calling?
If your office feels like a library, and there’s no noise, there might be something wrong. Whether on the surface or at a technical level make sure that your clients can get a hold of you.
Broken Links – Firstly, ensure that your site works. Especially if you’re on the heels of a big update or just revamped, ensure that everything’s in its right place and you’re leading users where they need to go. New visitors will turn off quickly if a site bounces them around or leads them in circles.
Outdated Information – Businesses change and evolve. Likewise, ensure that your contact information stays up-to-date. Minor changes such as your company’s Facebook URL may seem insignificant; however, such changes can keep your customers from getting in touch with you. Big changes matter, too. If your business changes phone numbers, update accordingly. Furthermore, make sure you’re adding new information to your site if you’re entering new social spheres.
What About You? – About Me and Contact pages are crucial to the success of your site. Despite often being overlooked (consider how simply adding a phone number to your site can increase trust and conversions), such pages are paramount when it comes to giving your company a personal touch and letting users know that they can (and how) to a hold of you. Consider the fact that your users are at your site for something (oftentimes, information) and it’s your responsibility to give it to them
The Bottom Line
If your small business is in search of more buzz, it’s up to you and your website to encourage your visitors. What’s your business doing to spur more interaction?
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.