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3 Simple Steps to Getting More Customers Than the Competition

By: Jim Plunkett

 

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If you are like most small businesses, your website was probably designed by a local web designer in HTML, without any search engine optimization (SEO). By now you have realized that the web is more important than the yellow pages and potential customers probably not finding you.

 
Google’s recent Panda and Penguin algorithm changes have exacerbated the issue. The good news is that “fresh content” now rules and small businesses can convert their old HTML websites to WordPress and start regularly publishing content. Small Businesses that have already figured this out are rocketing to the first page of Google for their most desired search terms.
 
Now that you are getting found, you should know that 60% of your customers do not have their telephone number prominently featured on their home page.
 
  • 60% of small business websites don’t have a phone number on their homepage
  • 75% don’t have an email address or link on their homepage
  • 66% don’t have a contact form to allow people to leave questions, comments or request information (all stats from SMB Digital Scape)
 
Look at some websites in your area of expertise, and you may be surprised to find how many don’t have a number on their home page, or that they bury it in their footer. You can best 60% of your competition just by doing this. So, when you are rebuilding your WordPress site, make sure that you feature your contact phone number prominently on it, especially on the homepage.
 
Now that your customers are finding you and calling, what happens if you are not available to answer the phone? It is estimated that more than 90% of small businesses still rely on voicemail even though Fortune reported that more than 80% of callers hang up when they are sent to voicemail. If these are potential new customers, they most likely will go back to the search engine results page on Google and call the next company listed in their search. Clearly this is not what small businesses that desire to be more competitive want.
 
New answering service or virtual receptionist companies are providing a viable alternative to these small businesses. These companies are not call centers and are using significantly advanced technology compared to established answering service companies that have built their platforms on the public circuit/switch telephone network. And for most small businesses the costs for these services can now be less than their monthly cell phone bill.
 
These companies answer your calls, transfer the caller to you (so you can close the sale) if you are available, and take a message, which is automatically sent as a text or email or both, if you are not. That way you can get back to the customer as soon as possible.
 
So if you want to be ahead of more than 60% of your competitors:
 
  1. Switch your website to WordPress and start publishing content regularly
  2. Feature your telephone number prominently on every page and
  3. Hire an answering service to answer the calls you miss instead of depending on voicemail.
 
Published: October 15, 2013
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Jim Plunkett

Once lead engineer on the cleanup of the nation’s worst hazardous waste disposal sites, Jim Plunkett entered the digital world in 1999, co-founding Vacation Harbor, a travel website much like AirB&B. As cofounder of Main Virtual Office recently rebranded US Answer and as founder of SmallBizSEO, Jim is an authority on digital lead generation and capture for the nations smallest businesses.

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