How To Drive Readers To Your Website With Locable’s Print-to-Web Strategy

Print-to-Web Strategy is extremely important to focus on as a local publisher. You want to continually drive reader’s back and forth between your print and digital content. Over time this will help build your following on both platforms. In our training below we break down the essential steps of creating a successful print to web strategy and what it entails.

In this training you will learn:

2:34 Print-To-Web Overview
4:10 Popular Places to Promote Your Website in Print
10:09 The Digital Side of Print to Web
12:58 Types of Online Content
17:13 How to Use Online Exclusives to Drive Reader’s to your Website
20:00 Why Guides Are Awesome For Content
21:11 More Examples For Online Extras
27:55 Tips For Creating Online Extras
29:05 How to Tag Online Extras to Curate Content
29:50 How Online Extras Help Your SEO
31:05 Why Planning Ahead Will Help You Win Long Term
32:33 Why You Have to Have Conversations About Web

If you are pressed for time, check out the slides of this training below:

 

What has been working for you in your print-to-web strategy? Are there any types of content we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Reasons you Must Cover Topics Beyond News

News should be a very important part of your content strategy as a local publisher. Especially in a local context, readers take a sense of pride in being informed of what is going on in their community. With digital, you have the opportunity to cover news stories quickly and efficiently to create more content.

With that said, there are many different forms of editorial content you should cover to dig deeper into your community. Great sources of content that go beyond news include: feature articles on local businesses, local guides, rundowns of events going on locally, and inviting community bloggers to write guest articles.

By covering stories that are more than just local news, you are taking advantage of some of the biggest opportunities in your market. Here are a few clear advantages that come from covering stories beyond the news:

Community

We are firm believers that local print publications are the cornerstone for creating a sense of community locally. By engaging readers through unique local stories, you will help to establish you publication as that cornerstone.

Show readers that your publication is more than just a way to pass time; that reading it is a way to be a better local citizen. Shine a light on parts of the community that other outlets may miss by covering local events and organizations not covered elsewhere. In doing so you will be providing a valuable service to readers.

Variety and Reader Interest

Features, community events, and local guides are all great types of content that will help drive readers to your publication. Larger publications often shy away from this content or don’t do it justice. By covering a broad variety of topics you will be able to draw many different types of reader’s and keep them interested.

Some readers may come for very specific reasons i.e. one group may be interested in local restaurant reviews, but others may be more concerned with kids guides for the season. Try to appeal to as many groups as possible. You are giving yourself multiple ways to win more traffic by providing diverse types of content.

Creating many different stories is also important because you never know what type of content will do well on the Internet. A report on health inspections of local restaurants resulted in over 30,000 views for one of our publishers in a community of only 50,000 people. That is huge for a local story. This is local information that is publicly available, but no one was covering it and not in that way. It’s not necessarily news, but by presenting it effectively the story reached a huge audience. Think about the content you can create that isn’t covered locally but still has mass appeal.

Long Term Value Created

One thing that news stories don’t help with is long-term traffic. News stories come and go quickly, and after just a few days they will provide little to no traffic for your site. Content like community guides, or features can be updated and continually promoted on your website. That means that your content will be providing value for you long term. It can be shared on social channels contextually i.e. share an article about best Irish Pubs leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, or shared multiple times year round i.e. a rundown of children’s activities to do locally.

Most news stories can only be shared once, but “evergreen” content can be shared over and over with your audience as long as the information is still relevant. This means you can drive more traffic to your site with almost no extra effort.

These are just some ideas that you can use going forward. There are nearly endless opportunities to cover local content in unique way that goes beyond news. It is one of the biggest opportunities for a local publication, because these are the stories readers love that aren’t covered anywhere else. Keep an eye out for stories that will fill a unique void for the community. If a story you want to cover goes beyond news and it fills one of these categories, you will be in great shape!

What is one example of a story that went beyond news that has been successful on your site?

Publisher Teardown: Connecticut Kids and Family online

In Locable’s Publisher Teardown Series we’re breaking down a website and providing some analysis so you can learn different components of what makes a successful local publisher site. We take into account factors such as design, content, and social sharing to help highlight some of the things publishers should be mindful of on their site.

Today, we have a local publisher teardown of the website for Connecticut Kids and Family magazine. We want to emphasize that our publisher teardowns are meant to be educational and informational to help you make sure you’re thinking about important parts of a successful web strategy and avoid some of the common pitfalls.

We are going to take a look at a few different factors that help create a great web experience for your readers and keep them coming back for more.

Design
Pic 1Site design and color choice pop out first. Wow! Those are some really bright colors. While the bright pastels do convey the lightness and fun of a children’s publication, they are also tough to look at after a few minutes. This definitely isn’t going to help keep readers on your site for very long. We would recommend going with a more neutral look for background colors and header.

Screen shot 2015-07-23 at 4.10.25 PM
Two different kinds of navigation

Navigation is also an issue on this site. They have two different forms of navigation with the colorful graphics on the home page below the more traditional navigation bar. If a reader gets to the site and was looking for event info and the blog navigation is in two different places. It’s easily confusing readers can get lost or frustrated quickly.

We would also recommend trying to steer away from graphics that aren’t clearly labeled. It is a good idea to have an event calendar and newsletter button, but just make sure they are clearly labeled. As a graphic only, if the reader isn’t looking for them, they are easily missed.

Content Placement

Probably the biggest problem with this site is the content organization. From the homepage, it’s pretty difficult to locate where actual content is located. You can navigate to the online magazine but this takes you to an online flipbook. It loads slowly and even worse, normal font is almost unreadable once it’s open. If you try to read more than a few pages, it will most likely crash your browser. Most readers likely won’t bother with it at all, meaning they won’t be seeing any of the print content from the publication online.

flipbook
Flipbooks are bad news…

The blog is better for content and you can actually read along, but it feels like an afterthought on the site, and it can only be reached from the troublesome graphics we talked about on the homepage. There is a message from the publisher on the homepage but it is hidden under graphics, advertising, and sponsored events. They do have some great guides that would be valuable to readers, but they are hard to find buried toward the bottom of the site.

Events and Directory

directory
Good business information is a puls

The events directory is one of the best parts of this site. Although the design looks dated, there are many events in the calendar and it is easily searchable by location and date. This calendar would be outstanding if the design was updated.

The business directory is a different story. There is a pretty extensive list, however it is not easily searchable and it’s difficult to find a business if you are looking for a specific category. As a result the directory won’t be a destination for readers and they won’t be able to easily find information about local businesses. This is really a disservice to local businesses, especially those that advertise with your publication because readers won’t be able to find them. Once you do reach a specific business listing you are able to find the important information like address, phone number, website, etc. so that is a plus.

Use of Pictures

For a website focused on kids and family, there is a huge lack of pictures of kids and family on their site. It is very hard to find any coverage of the events they are listing. You don’t fee a sense of connection to places and events in the community because there is almost no visual reference. Text and graphics are important, but sometimes you need pictures of real people and places to connect with readers and that is sorely lacking on this site.

Advertising Placement

advertising
Just part of the ad overlaod

Add subtitle textThis site is also suffering from too much advertising. Local publications have a duty to showcase their advertisers, and getting them business should be a top priority. At the same time publisher’s need to respect their reader’s. Advertising should be present to get the attention of those interested, but it can’t be the main focus of your site. No one wants to visit a site that feels like a giant ad.

Social Sharing

There is almost no place on this site for reader’s to engage or share things they like. Because content is almost non-existent on the main site, it will be especially hard to share anything. However, even with the helpful and engaging content like events and contests, there is no easy way to share them. This will prevent how much the message will spread online and it takes away from reader engagement.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this publisher needs a lot of help. The online part of their tagline “In print…online…and on the go!” is severely lacking. It’s a shame because they have a huge Facebook audience that is obviously trying to receive their content. Their site is really preventing them from fully engaging with that audience. This could result in thousands of dollars or more in lost revenue because of less traffic and advertisers that simply won’t want to advertise online. With some simple design and navigation tweaks and a solid content strategy would go a long way toward creating a huge online asset and extension of their brand.

A Clear Path To 100k In Digital Revenue For Local Publishers

A lot has changed for local publishers over the past 10 years. Technology has displaced the traditional methods most publishers use to generate the majority of their revenue and  rendered other methods moot (Craigslist and classifieds for example). While we strongly believe that print is far from dying, those publishers that fail to adapt to the changing media landscape will be left behind.

So what does that mean?

It used to be that a traditional print ad or banner ad online delivered enough value, in the form of new customers, to keep your advertisers happy but as technology has evolved marketing has become way more complex. As a result, business are facing greater and greater challenges in setting themselves apart from their competition.

Forward thinking publishers will realize that while the underlying goals of a business haven’t changed, they are facing a new set of challenges as a result. Publishers that learn how to solve these problems for their advertisers will be able to weather the storm and even thrive in the new media landscape.

So what does this new landscape look like?

In a word, diversification. Traditional print ads will still make up the core for most publishers but being able to leverage existing technology, like the IMPACT Marketing Suite, to help tell a unique story and increase reach across multiple channels simultaneously provides tremendous value to your advertisers, strengthens your relationships with advertisers and provides long-term stability for your publication.

Below outlines how you can combine banner ads, native advertising, digital services and listings to make 100k per year in digital revenue. While getting to this level will take time, we suggest starting with Community Sponsorships so that you are profitable from the beginning and then build on that by combining different elements into packages that solve specific problems for your advertisers (Community Sponsorships are one example of such a package as it includes a directory listing, a banner ad and a sponsored article among other things).

A Clear Path to 100k in Digital Revenue for Local Publishers

3 Reasons You Need a Great Website, Even if You Own a Referral Business

One thing we hear often from business owners is that they aren’t concerned with their online presence because most of their business comes from referrals. We think that is great! Referrals are very important for any business. However, in order to set yourself up for long-term success, you must think about a broader strategy and your online marketing needs to be a top concern.

Referrals are Changing

In the past, referrals were simple. Here is an imaginary example of how things used to work: If John had a landscaping business called “John’s Lawns” and Bob was a happy customer, he would give John’s name and number to Rachel. Then Rachel would call John. While today this is still true at times, more often there is an added step in-between.

Now, after Rachel receives a referral, she goes to visit John’s website before making a call. What services does John offer? What is his pricing? Does he have good reviews? A referral is not worth what it used to be. With so much information on the Internet, even referral customers are expecting to find you there. Word of mouth is great and a referral from a trusted source is always helpful, but sometimes it’s not enough.

Here are 3 reasons why referrals aren’t everything they used to be, and why you need to build a good website:

  1. A Customer’s First (or Second) Impression

Let’s take the example of Rachel above. She might have gotten an awesome recommendation. She is confidant, and she is going to call John. She is so excited that it has got her thinking about getting new sprinklers in addition to finishing a few projects in her backyard. So she wonders if John offers sprinkler installation and tries to check online. But when Rachel reaches John’s website (which takes some digging on Google results just to find), she has no idea any of the services he offers. There are no pictures of past work or any client testimonials. It turns out that John does offer sprinkler installation and he is quite good at it. Only Rachel has no way of knowing this. She starts rethinking her decision…

Rachel does a little more online research and finds another company with a beautiful website, clear examples of past work, and great customer reviews. They clearly and concisely list the service they offer which includes all the projects she had in mind along with sprinkler installation. They have an easy to submit contact form along with a prominently displayed phone number. This get’s Rachel thinking that maybe John isn’t as good as she had been told, and she ends up going with his competitor.

You might think this is an extreme example but the scary thing is, how would you know? There is no way to measure how many prospects don’t call you once they reach you website. You simply can’t know who had trouble finding your website and give up. As more people start their search on the internet, it is critical to have a presence online that won’t be a liability.

  1. You Need Insurance For the Future

One hazard of referrals is that they rely on new or existing relationships in your network that must be constantly maintained. Great relationships are important and should be treasured, but you need to have a fall back plan. If you start to lose touch with people or make fewer new contacts, your business could end up in serious trouble fast. Having a great website is like having an insurance policy in place if your network begins to dry up as a source of business. When you are building up a web presence you are leveraging your current relationships in order to build up content and reviews on your site.

3. Automation

This leads us to automation. Eventually your website and online marketing that go along with it, will become more automated. You can carry out simple tasks that will continue to build your business. This is essential if your goal is to build a business that will be profitable over time. If your business is built on referrals and something happens to you and you can’t perform, it will be a huge hit to your business. By using online systems, you will have a much more automated process of creating new business. When you need a break, this will allow you more time outside your business than before. You will also have some hard numbers to show prospective buyers if it ever becomes time to sell your business.

Conclusion

Don’t get us wrong, referral business is awesome. You should be jumping for joy if the majority of your customers are coming from referrals. You are definitely doing something right. However, we hope through this post you have gotten an idea of how you can be doing better and how you can protect your business for the future by building a great web presence. A great way to get started building this presence is through the IMPACT Marketing suite. It is designed to help you build the kind of web presence that sets you up for long-term success while only requiring a minimal amount of time. Learn more here.

6 Reasons Why You Need to Run a Best of Your City or Reader’s Choice Contest

Any publisher that has been around digital for long enough has seen or tried to run a best of their city/county/town or reader’s choice award. The benefits of running these contests are huge. Best of and reader’s choice contests are sources of pride for local business; they ignite people around their favorite places, and most importantly create more awareness and traffic online for your publication. Businesses frequently feature best of the city awards for many years in marketing materials, signage, and on their website. This means more eyeballs seeing your logo and name out in the community and online.

  1. Invigorating the Community

Before we dig into the details of why a best of the city or reader’s choice contest will be good for your publication, we should take a look at the greater scope of what a contest accomplishes. Once the competition is announced, businesses will be trying to win. They will rally members of the community for votes and help spread the word about local business. Reminding people about local business once a year is a nice boost to the local economy that your publication can help provide. This is one of the many factors that we are thinking about when we talk about building communities online.

There are many ways to execute a best of contest and we will explore some of the most successful strategies and the benefits of implementing them. You may think that these contests are too much work and not enough return, but that is just not true when executed properly. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you need to be doing a best of or reader’s choice.

  1. Traffic

Best of the city contests drive huge amounts of traffic to your site. By making reader’s vote online, you are sending them directly to your website. This will help grow your traffic overall. You can also creatively feature content on your site so when they arrive to vote they will want to stay. Chances are if they are coming to vote for a local business, they will also be interested in other local news and features so make sure they see what else you have going on.

  1. Social Shares

You need social shares. Best of contests get you social shares. A LOT of social shares. Make voting pages very easy to share. Allow people to easily vote. Once they are done voting, sharing it with their friends and family on social media should be extremely simple with the click of a button. People like to look cool, smart and useful when sharing things on social media. Participating in a best of contest is something that can accomplish all of these things. This makes best of contests ideal for getting social shares for your publication. Of course businesses also have quite a stake in winning the contest so they will almost always promote their voting link on social media multiple times to their followers.

  1. Audience Building

People are dying to get the latest community news and information but there isn’t always an apparent way to get the information. The need for a connection to “Main Street” has never died, even though physical Main Streets are becoming harder and harder to find. We believe that most local publications have the opportunity and duty to fill this void. Best of contests are a great step in the right direction toward recreating this community. People that might not have found your publication online are now instantly connected with it and many will want to stay in touch to get the latest local news and lifestyle information.

  1. Email List Building

Building your email list should be one of your primary goals when conducting a best of contest. We have previously covered how to create an email newsletter that doesn’t suck. Building that list is extremely important to create an ongoing flow of traffic to your site. By capturing reader’s emails through a best of contest you can give one-time visitors a chance to receive your emails on a regular basis in order to convert them into loyal followers. This can create hundreds of new newsletter subscribers which means more loyal reader’s.

  1. Business Engagement

This is one of the most obvious benefits of running a best of contest. You will be exciting and engaging local business owners. Many will try to compete to be the winner in their category. You can create many categories in order to engage as much of the local business community as possible. Some will promote harder than others but most will actively try to get votes online meaning more traffic for your publication. You may also require businesses that compete to fill out an entry in your business directory in order to get votes. This adds content to your site and cements your publication as a valuable community resource. We have found that business owners can also become the most loyal reader’s of local publications because they have a stake in the community.

After the contest has wrapped you also have a huge amount of content ideas that you can execute. The most obvious is a complete best of the city or reader’s choice guide. You can also do ongoing roundups of the top 5 businesses in each category such as “Top 5 Steakhouses in Your Town”. These are all valuable and shareable pieces of content that will keep traffic flowing in. You can also choose to connect with winners to do more detailed profiles. Approaching winners to be featured as advertisers can also a great way to create revenue.

Moving Forward

Now that you know what the benefits are for running a best of contest, we hope you will choose to conduct one soon. Start thinking about the next steps you need to take to plan out your contest. What time of the year would you like to start? How many categories will there be? What are your goals for new visitors and emails that you want to collect? These are all important things to think of ahead of time to be able to judge if your contest was a success.

A best of contest does take some detailed planning to go smoothly but we hope we have shown the benefits are most definitely worth it. Creating a contest is also mostly a one-time investment that becomes much easier over time, because it is just a matter of replicating the contest every year. Keep your eyes out for a future blog post on the actual tactics to use when executing the contest.

To get more details on how the Locable Publisher Network will help you quickly and efficiently set up your own best of or reader’s choice contest check out the 1-minute video below or apply now to the Locable Publisher Network.

Have you ran a best of or reader’s choice contest? What were the results and would you do it again?

Audience Development For Local Publishers

Developing your audience online is critical for local publishers. More traffic on your site will help deliver more value to local advertisers and cement your place as a community resource. In this training video you will learn how local publishers can take simple steps and use their current resources to build their audience online.



In This Video You Will Learn:

1:23-How People Find You Online
3:41 How To Highlight Digital In Your Publication
5:12 Use Calls To Action To Drive Readers To Your Website
7:45 How to Increase Social Media Shares
9:28 The “In This Issue” Approach
13:32 How Selling Digital Becomes Easier Through Audience Development
15:20 How The Local Content Ecosystem Builds Your Audience
16:15-Developing Your Audience Through Featured Events, Guides, Contests, and Sponsored Columns
17:56-One Piece of Easy Content That Got HUGE Results
18:35-Bringing It All together

For a quick rundown of this training, check out the slides here:

Making Money Online Can Be Hard

How Publishers Can Boost Online Revenue By Offering The IMPACT Marketing Suite

The media landscape is transitioning ever faster toward digital media. Publishers that aren’t finding innovative ways to grow their revenue streams through digital outlets are missing out on a bevy of opportunities. You may be in denial or you may be struggling to learn the technology, but in today’s market there is no excuse to postpone growing digital revenue.

The longer you stay complacent, the harder and more expensive the transition to digital will be. We are huge advocates of print media and believe that it’s also here to stay, but many publications are facing big challenges without a solid digital strategy.

Local publishers are in a unique position to help create communities online. Rather than hide from digital, you have the opportunity to embrace it and re-imagine online community around your publication that people have been craving since the decline of Main Street.

Expanding your advertising model to include digital, will give you the resources to create these communities. Local businesses have a huge need to find ways to reach their customers online, 75% of small and medium sized businesses say online marketing is effective Because there are so many media outlets scattered across the internet, it is difficult for small businesses to find the right place to reach targeted customers. This is where local publishers have a giant opportunity, given the inherently local nature of their readers, all while simultaneously creating a “town square” for their online for their community.

By fostering this community, publications become a trusted resource online as well as in print. However, this cannot happen profitably without being able to offer creative advertising opportunities. One of the biggest benefits of online advertising is that your readers can reach local businesses with the ease of a click.

After working with publishers in over 80 markets nationwide, we have learned this is a great opportunity for publishers, however at times it can be a hard sell. Many small businesses cannot profit from immediate traffic to their website because it’s dated, nonexistent, or not functioning properly.

This is why we created the IMPACT marketing suite, which includes all the tools necessary to not only build a beautiful website, but makes managing all of  local business marketing efforts dead simple.

Members of the Locable Publisher Network get access to a powerful content management system that helps ease the transition to digital, but publishers also have an exclusive opportunity to offer access to the IMPACT marketing suite to their advertisers.

If a business is unsure about the value of digital advertising because they have a bad website, your publication will become a one stop shop to solving their problem. They will get great local traffic being featured by your publication online, and they will get a website and online marketing tools to set them up for success when that traffic reaches their site.

When looking for candidates for the IMPACT marketing suite a few things are important to look for:

1. A “dated” website. When you reach a prospects website does it feel outdated? Does it feature things like an entry page or auto play music? These are all signs that their website needs to be updated, and the IMPACT Marketing Suite has the potential to greatly benefit their business. Other clues can include old copyright dates at the bottom of their site that are more than a few years old. If you see copyright 2005 they definitely need your help.

2. Bad online reviews. If a business is struggling with bad online reviews, our directory listing and review automation software is designed to help businesses build a stellar online reputation on their own terms. They will have the opportunity to ask for and control reviews shown on their page ensuring quality.

3. No pictures/bad pictures. Our software is designed to create a beautiful website that displays images to maximize design and functionality. Many times businesses will have great images that they aren’t displaying correctly and our software makes it simple to show those pictures off and keep them up to date.

Providing added value to advertisers by offering the IMPACT marketing suite is one of many creative methods included with membership in the Locable Publisher Network. It help you achieve a healthy revenue stream from your online content.

By offering the IMPACT marketing suite along with other digital assets like online listings and community sponsorships, Locable has mapped out a clear path for online publishers to go from $0 in online revenue to $100,000 a year. Apply today for membership to the Locable Publisher Network and if you are a good fit, you will learn how applying the new tools offered by digital will be the best decision you can make for your publication.Making Money Online Can Be Hard

7 Types of Local Content That Give Local Publishers an Advantage

We believe local publishers are a cornerstone of community and are responsible for picking up stories that have a huge amount of interest in the community, but larger papers may miss. This is the essence of creating a community and fostering connectedness.

We have put together a list of hyper local story ideas and topics that play well online and lead to more traffic and engagement for your site all while bringing together the community. When you are looking for story ideas, try to think of any recent activities that may fall under these topics.

  1. Local History

Local history is both light and fun to learn about. Most cities and towns have a great story to tell full of interesting events, characters, and locations. Check in with your local visitors bureau or historic society to get ideas. You can also keep track of anniversaries of important events and retell the tales to keep your community connected to its history for younger generations.

  1. Philanthropic Events

Always try to stay on top of the different philanthropic events that are going on locally. It helps to cultivate relationships with those in charge of media relations with local non-profits, community organizations, and other clubs. When they are doing work to help the community, try to spotlight it. As a bonus, all the members in those clubs are potential readers that can help boost your traffic. Galleries of photos from these events are great pieces of content online that may not make it into your print editions.

  1. Unique Things To Do in the Area

Family oriented, unique, fun events are interesting to a lot of people and will help drive traffic. Additionally, if your readers go to the events, they will have you to thank. They will keep coming back to check out your events section, building traffic. Try to highlight what makes each event unique. When it is a family oriented event, show how families will have fun there. Be more than just a listing and actually paint the picture of the benefits and fun they will have going.

  1. Guides

Guides are great resources that can act as “evergreen” as well as timely content. Think of things like local restaurants/local business guides as well as outdoor or neighborhood guides. During different holiday seasons, think about creating a guide around that holiday like a “Christmas Lights Guide,” or “Summer Fun Guide.” Guides further act as a community resource and are very shareable on social media outlets.

  1. Business Announcements

You can do announcements of local business openings/closings along with relevant details like timeline, location, and hours. You can also feature businesses’ that are doing creative things in the community that stand out.

  1. Nature Related Stories

These can be stories centered on things like local hikes, local wildlife, or local mountains/rivers/lakes/landscape that sets your community apart. Finding hidden pockets of nature and helping spread the word to the community is a great way to connect with readers and create memorable experiences.

  1. Homes Reports

You can read about how to highlight local real estate to gain more traffic here. People in local communities love to know what properties are on the market, even if they are not looking for a home. They are very curious to know what home prices are like and how it relates to their own homes. Highlighting what’s on the market is a quick way to keep your readers informed and entertained while connected to the community.

What do you think? Have you had success with this type of content before? What has and hasn’t worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments section below and we will give you our take!

Local Website Teardown: Total Perfection Mobile Detailing

Today we are taking a look at a business’s local website in Sacramento, Total Perfection Mobile Detailing, that we think is having some issues with their online presence. We are going to give some pointers on what is going wrong and how that can translate to lost customers.

It should be said that we have not evaluated this business’s service or actual business methods other than online presence. This teardown applies to the website and online marketing only and from what we can find this business actually excels at what they do, they just need help with their online presence.

Website:

http://www.tpdetailing.com/

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 1.38.38 PM

Problems:

Overly simple

We advocate for a simple design that is easy for customers to follow, but this site takes it to the extreme. There is just not much to this site. We don’t get any background of the business. We have no information about detailing services, other than they exist. Listing “Website Under Construction!!” is it’s own problem. Every day this site stays up is potential for lost business. At the very least this site needs some kind of page about services that are offered, a page for how the business was started, who the owner is, and a handful of pictures. Simple changes like that are not hard to execute and will make a world of difference.

Why it matters:

Customers that visit the site may stay for very little time and there is simply not enough on the page to help them take action. Even potential customers that are referred to this business may choose to go elsewhere because they are turned off by poor site design.

How it can be fixed:

Adding a simple navigation bar to the top of the site and adding a few pages of content about the business’s story and services. This simple tweak will make a huge difference.

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 1.39.01 PM

Not much credibility

There is little on this site to convey confidence to the customer. It is obvious from looking at the businesses Yelp! reviews that the owner has a commitment to quality and customer service. This is apparent nowhere on the website. It is a shame because this business owner is clearly knowledgeable about his field. It is a good first step highlighting his presence on Yelp! because of the terrific reviews, however your site should be strong enough to stand on it’s own because only a fraction of people that visit will take the time to click the Yelp! link as well.

Why it matters:

Potential customers have no reason to trust this business over others. Many people are very particular about their cars and this website does little to earn their trust. When you do nothing to get visitors to trust you, they will go elsewhere quickly.

How it can be fixed:

 Add a page of content that includes external reviews site like Yelp! along with prominently featured reviews and testimonials that the business collects on its own. The social proof will add huge value and help prospective customers make up their mind and be that much more likely to pick up the phone.

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No real explanation of what services are offered poor call to action.

After reading the entire site, you still don’t really have an idea of what the actual service will be. You know that they offer detailing and will come to you, but you don’t know what specific services are included, what to expect, or how long the job will take. You don’t know if the detailing is a really deep clean or more of a surface level job. You don’t know if there are tiers of packages or just one service. A close viewing of their Facebook page shows engine detailing is offered, this is a unique service that would set them apart from competition, but you would never know this by visiting their website.

Why it matters:

These are all determining factors in the eyes of potential customers before they make a buying decision. Without having any of this information, it makes it hard for anyone to pull the trigger and make the call. They don’t even have a clue whether or not this business can fulfill what they are looking for, why would they pick up the phone? This is absolutely detrimental in the case of referrals as well. Without this information people that were referred and were planning on using the service may actually decide NOT to call.

How it can be fixed:

 Adding a better call to action is a simple fix that will help this business ASAP. Rather than “Please call today to set up an appointment or for more information.” The line could be tweaked to “Call now for your personalized free no hassle estimate” This accomplishes two things, it gives both a sense of urgency to the prospect along with eliminating fear of the hard sell in the customers mind.

No Pictures

This is a huge, huge problem, probably the biggest on this site. A detailing business relies on MAKING CARS LOOK BETTER. This is an obvious chance to show expertise and the level of service they provide. Before and after pictures are a GIANT missed opportunity for this business.

A close inspection of their Facebook page shows that they actually have a huge amount of photos of past work and some great before and after pictures. But they are very hidden and the typical customer will not take the time to dig that far. It’s actually very tough to even find that their Facebook page exists let alone dig into pictures that were posted years ago.

Why this matters:

Customers can evaluate their work and make a decision ASAP with visual information. If potential customers reach the site and don’t see any pictures it can also create mistrust. I.e. “What is this guy trying to hide??” All of this will result in lost business.

How it can be fixed:

This is a pretty simple fix. Just add the pictures they already own to their site. There isn’t a lot of fancy camera work necessary. Simple photos are fine as long as the work shown is high quality. Even just one before/after shot would be a HUGE improvement.

Overall evaluation:

This site needs (A LOT OF) improvement. I don’t think any business owner would call this a good website.

That’s OK; the steps to take to correct it are actually quite simple. They just need the right tools. With all the great pictures on their Facebook page, this website needs just a few more images along with some navigation to pages explaining some of the core parts of the business, and they will begin to see much more customers flowing in from their online presence.

Although these problems are all very damaging to gaining customers online, this business shouldn’t be discouraged. They just need help addressing these issues in order to turn their website from a liability into a money maker.

If you would like to learn more about how our IMPACT Marketing Suite can help handle all the problems listed here and more, click here.Add a little bit of body text (1)