Why do you wear nicer clothes to work? Your favorite pair of sweatpants cover you just as well as slacks or a pencil skirt. Sure, there's a mustard stain (or maybe it's popcorn butter) and they've sidestepped the wash the past couple of weeks, but they look (and smell) fine. If your cat doesn't care, neither should customers. Besides, sweatpants pair well with unwashed hair.
If you have a storefront, what's the ROI of keeping it clean? Do you have hard numbers suggesting that you move more units if the floor sparkles? What's the correlation between cockroaches and quarterly sales figures?
Of course, the above questions sound ridiculous. It's a given that you'll shower and dress nicely for work. It goes without saying that you need to keep your storefront clean and presentable. Those are just business essentials. No one asks for an explanation or for proof that it's valuable. They're simply things you know you have to do to give yourself the best chance at success.
In a similar way, there are content essentials that every business needs to have. Before fretting over ROI, make sure the basics are covered first. Neglecting these content essentials is like wearing your sweats to the office or letting dirt pile up in the doorway. It makes your company look unprofessional, out of touch, or out of business. Your online presence speaks volumes about your business. What you do and how you look online matters more than ever. What are you saying to potential customers who find you online? Is your 'digital storefront' clean? Are you a part of the conversation? If these questions make you uneasy or you can't come up with good answers, it's time to take action.
1. Updated Website Copy and Images
If you navigate to a sports news website and the header features Alex Smith in a San Francisco 49ers uniform, it's going to raise a red flag. Smith plays for Washington now and Kansas City before that. He last suited up for the 49ers in 2012. The same concept holds true for your business. If your website references dated products, old events, or past employees, it's going to raise questions. Does anyone still work at your business? Who is in charge of the website? Has no one noticed this is outdated? Fair or not, it makes your business look negligent and vacant.
2. Fresh Blog Content
Content is king. That's said in many contexts, but it's proven true again and again for businesses looking to get ahead. Fresh blog content can inform, entertain, and educate your potential customers. Consumers are empowered today. They do their own research when looking to make a purchase and they know what they want before they start a conversation. Make sure that your website aligns with how people buy today. If you have an inactive blog (or no blog at all) you're actively preventing potential customers from learning more about your products or services and moving closer to a buying decision.
3. Active Social Media Channels
There are people who claim they don't "get" social media. That's fair enough - it's a set of newer marketing channels and it's hard to build a strategy or following. Even if you don't "get" it, your potential customers do. More than that, the next generation of customers definitely does. If your business isn't involved in social media, it makes your company look old and out of touch. Building an audience on social media may take a while, but not having social media channels isn't an option. It's a must-have. You may not recognize the value, but not having a social media presence can put your business in a bad light.
4. Multiple Contact Options
How can potential customers get in touch with you? Unbelievably, there are companies who don't make that obvious on their websites. A single contact form doesn't cut it. What if the person doesn't want to give that info to you right away? Make sure that your website has a phone number, a contact form, an email address, and social channels. Make it simple for potential customers to reach out and start a conversation. Better yet, create and display Calls to Action on your website. Give potential customers the ability to download more information or content in exchange for their contact info.
5. Available Long-Form Content
Every business should have long-form content available for download. Potential customers are coming to your website because they're interested in what you can offer. Make sure that when they're there, they have something they can take with them. Consider eBooks, checklists, comparison guides, and more, to help further educate and inform your potential customers. You'll capture more leads and your potential customers will be able to learn more about your business. If you don't make those types of long-form content available, you could be missing out on potential customers who want to know more.