Small Business Big Audience: Effective Websites for the SMB

webinar iStock_000024776806XSmallAs a web hosting company, we know how important your website is to you. So we put together a two-part webinar based on our eBook, 6 Steps for Getting Your Small Business Online and In Front of Customers, to help you build a better web presence.

Part I of the webinar, called Small Business, Big Audience – Building a Website that Sells, was held on May 23, 2013. At its opening, we addressed the question, “Do I even need a website?” It’s a question that many small businesses ask. The answer is “yes, you do,” and we explain why.

From there, the discussion centered on some of the basics of getting online for the first time – choosing a domain name, some do’s and don’ts, and the different kinds of websites that exist. Will your site be mostly educational and supported by ads? Or will it be an e-commerce site supported its own sales? The webinar wrapped up with some helpful hints and tips for being listed higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. (That topic is covered in this blog post too.)

Part II of the webinar, held on June 5, 2013, Small Business, Big Audience: Driving People to Your Site, was all about increasing traffic to your site. It began with a discussion of how to use social media to build an online community. Much like having a web site, social media isn’t an “optional” marketing tool anymore – it’s a must-do. Take a moment to consider these facts:social media iStock_000022162080Small

  • An estimated 76% of the US population is on the internet
  • Two-thirds of all web users are on social sites
  • 90% of those are on Facebook

Your competition is there; can you afford not to be?

The webinar went on to discuss what social media can offer beyond an increased customer base. For example, it can increase brand awareness, make for stronger search engine optimization and more.

The webinar reviewed various types of social media you might want to implement. Also discussed was how and what to measure, and when to stop measuring. Most importantly, it emphasized that social media is about having a conversation with your community. Social media is about having a dialogue on a topic of interest to both you and your community. It might create a sale for you, but more essentially, it creates a network of individuals willing to recommend your organization. A dialogue means that you don’t just talk at your community; you listen too, and respond appropriately. (Unlike this series of responses!)

The webinar stressed the importance of having a unifying strategy for your social media efforts, which should focus on where your key audience members are. For example, if your target is young males aged 18-24, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of effort on Pinterest, as women make up over 97% of its users. However, if you’re in the bridal industry, that might change things.

So what’s your social media strategy? Do you have one? What social media outlets have been most effective in getting your message to your target audience? What would you tell others who are just getting started?

Are you engaged in a dialogue with your community, or are you just talking at them? Remember, a true dialogue means listening, too. This webinar can help you learn how to better listen to your community.

This is just a brief overview of what the webinars contained. Both are available for replay or download on Hostway’s webinar page. And in the spirit of listening, what did YOU think of the webinars? We encourage you to come back and post your feedback and comments so we can continue to improve the content we bring you. What can we do better? What do you want more of? Less of? What additional topics would you like to see covered in the future. Talk with us! We’re listening!

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