Your Digital Facelift: No Botox. All Tech. 5 Tips (Several Great Links)

Lauren McCadney cdw Head Shot.jpgLauren McCadney, Senior Segment Manager, Small Business, CDW shares her insight on you can give your company a digital facelift.

Give Your Company a Digital Facelift: Five Tips

Does your company need a digital facelift? Tightening up your online image can help you put your best face forward.
Recently, I spoke to two small business owners – both of whom I consider to be smart and successful, but not technology or marketing experts. In their opinions, success in their chosen fields does not depend on mastering all things digital. One owner had an informative newsletter delivered via email, yet the content was not available online. The other owner made a conscious decision to keep a low profile, allowing the market to define his firm – but none of the information found in an initial Google search for his business was produced by him or fully accurate. It is clear that our digital environment does not leave much room for separation between your business and tech-savvy marketing.
To take these business owners to the next level, I offered these five tips:

Clearly define the “net impression” of your company:

I love vision and mission statements as much as the next person – that is not what I am talking about here. Decide upon three instant impressions people should have after encountering your company on the Web. Allow these three things to dictate how communication about or from your company is developed, and work toward delivering a consistent impression.

Periodically do a Google search on your company:

What comes up when you search for your business? These results are what current and potential customers will encounter. Determine whether the results are consistent with the three impressions you want your brand to make, and ask yourself the following: Can a customer find you? Is the information accurate? Does the information paint the right picture of your business? If the answer to any of these questions is no, take some time to address the content you see.

Own your presence on the web:

Continually work to mold your brand into what you want it to be. Left stagnant, the market will define your brand for you, and public perception may not align with your own. Keep in mind that your company’s Web site is not the only place on the Web that contains information about your company. Beyond your company site, actively work with social media to own your web presence – your customers use social media; use this as another way to reach them. At minimum, take the time to create a thoughtful LinkedIn business profile, and review your company’s information on Manta.com for accuracy. Both sites are often a first stop when researching a company.

Make sure your Web site is search engine friendly:

While a Web site is great, it is not enough by itself to control your image on the Web. Although it allows your existing customers to search for your name and access your site like a digital brochure, the challenge is ensuring that your site comes up in the first page of results when someone searches for your company name or for terms related to your business. Why is search important? Because 64 percent of people use the Internet to initiate a local search, and 31 percent report using it as the primary method of research. Not surprisingly, this tops the Yellow Pages and the White Pages, which were cited as a primary search tool by 28 percent of respondents (Outspokenmedia.com). This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. You’ll find a list of 95 SEO tips and tricks here.

Further, depending on the type of business you are in, you should also pay close attention to local search.

Local search ensures that your business is included in the localized tools that consumers use to locate businesses, such as Google Maps and review sites like Yelp. Here’s one of the best explanations and tip lists that I’ve come across for local search. It outlines three tips for small business local search marketing

Increase your content’s reach with social bookmarking:

Many small businesses went digital years ago in its early forms – launching newsletters, e-mail campaigns, and blogs. Increasingly, businesses are embracing social media, from Facebook and Twitter to Foursquare. As the market continues to evolve, circle back and ensure that your digital content is compatible with social media. A recent Comscore study shows that the growth in global minutes spent on social networking is exceeding email minutes. This is not to suggest that your company abandon newsletter campaigns entirely, but it does present an opportunity to broaden your reach by making your content easy to share via social avenues. Here’s a great overview and comparison of 10 social sharing widgets.

In today’s digital world, these tips can offer a boost to small business owners. Do you have other tips you would like to share? I would love to hear from you.

Lauren McCadney is the Senior Segment Manager of the small business sector at CDW, a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education, and healthcare. McCadney joined CDW in 2005, and is responsible for the company’s small business marketing strategy and program execution. She is the 2010 recipient of the Corporate Executive Board’s Small Business Marketer of the Year Award, and a graduate of Howard University and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in marketing and her MBA, respectively.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook