Use search engine optimization tactics. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to know that strategically placed keywords can go a long way in making your Website stand out from the pack online. This is particularly important for firms that want to do more than just spread information online, says Evan Bailyn, CEO at New York-based SEO consultancy First Page Sage, who sees top search engine rankings as the first step to turning looky-loos into paying customers.
Bailyn says a good starting point for firms looking to improve their Google placements, for example, is to closely examine the “pinch title,” or the words that are written in the blue status bar at the top of the Internet browser. Be as specific as possible when crafting this title, says Bailyn, who suggests using phrases like “Personal injury and accident attorney” in lieu of “Welcome to John Smith’s law firm.”
Make use of social media. Combining useful posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace with Websites can help companies more effectively bridge the gap between cybersurfers and paying customers. Start by going to the social networking site of choice, accessing the “search” feature and figuring out what people are saying about your competitors, and their products and services.
“Write a message to anyone who cared enough about the other firm to talk about it online, and introduce yourself and your firm,” suggests Bailyn. “Then ask them to follow you on Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking sites. Bailyn sees this as a targeted, deliberate approach that can easily turn into “real” business, namely because those commenting online have already had experience with the competition.
Take the strategy a step further by setting up a regular schedule for contributing useful content to those social networking sites. “Write about interesting subjects that are of value to your target audience,” says Bailyn, who adds that traditional business values like excellent customer service and quality products also contribute to a bricks-and-mortar firm’s ability to attract customers on the Web. “At the end of the day, word of mouth is still the best way to acquire new customers,” he says.