As we immerse ourselves in the technological age, we sometimes forget how far we have come in recent decades relative to technological advancements. We have experienced more change in the last 30 years than in the entire lifetimes of our predecessors. It wasn’t long ago we were filing ledger cards, using rotary phones, taking messages for colleagues on pink slips of paper, running to phone booths to make important sales calls while on the road and scrolling through the Yellow Pages to find a business resource.
Today, information is only seconds away as we access the World Wide Web to access data on virtually every known topic instantly. We become impatient when having to wait for the answers we require. Every time a question arises we simply Google the data.
Traditionally, most collection firms have spent financial resources creating collateral material to place in the hands of prospective clients. We continue to produce these materials for trade shows and face to face meetings, but by far most of the business community obtains the information they need about us via our website. Web presence is not only the norm but the expectation today. While most firms spend much time fine-tuning the technologies in the office setting, often websites are out of sight, out of mind and lack the updated content and contemporary feel necessary to promote your firm. When was the last time you seriously looked at your website? I must admit, our firm has failed in this area. Visit my website and you can see a nice picture of me and my business partner from about 14 years ago!
I recently had a great conversation with Duane Watson, CEO of Greenleaf Creative, LLC. Duane heads an experienced team that assists companies with their various levels of digital marketing. According to Duane, here are some important best practices for consideration when assessing your web presence:
• Mobile Ready: Be sure your website is Mobile Device Ready! Everyone accesses websites via their mobile devices today.
• Text: Be sure text is large and legible.
• Buttons: Incorporate big, easy to click buttons.
• Images: Utilize images that resize for optimal viewing and fast loading.
• Accessibility: Be sure your information is easy to find, even on the smallest mobile device.
• Interactivity: Enhance site interactivity through custom forms, client relationship management tools, online transactions, secure payment functionality and file transfer/sharing ability.
• SEO: Become familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The craft of coordinating all of the elements on a web page in a way that best communicates the topic and purpose of a page to the search engines in a way that makes it easier for them to display your page in search results.
• Key Words: Everyone in the industry is trying to be at the front of the online searches. Creativity and strategy in this area are vital to keeping your company at the top of searches. Websites require careful and purposeful key word placement for top positioning within the search engines. Ranking for the right key words can make or break your website.
Most of us are good at managing our operations but lack the knowledge and skill to manage our online and social media presence. Michael Lively of Greenleaf Creative recently shared some industry recommendations that may prove valuable to anyone striving for online marketing success:
1. Create Passionate Copy: Passionate about solving a potential client’s problem.
2. Regular Social Media Updates: Keep your site current. A good rule of thumb is no more than two months old.
3. Content: Publish new content on a regular basis.
4. Guest Blogging: Expand your audience by publishing content on someone else’s blog. Others will notice you and Google will start to think you are important!
5. Create a Satisfying User Experience: Reward users with a good experience and ease of navigating your site.
Most of us may not be online marketing gurus but we know what sites we like and those we find cumbersome. Start recognizing these positive and negative traits and apply them to your own web presence. Reach out to industry experts, as we do with many dynamics of our companies, and obtain the best advice possible. It is critical to keep your organization current, recognized and successful!
We encourage our readers to submit a “best practice” idea for inclusion in this column. Until next time, I’m in a collection office near you!