The purpose of any business is to acquire and keep customers. Customer acquisition is rather expensive (advertising). Customer retention is rather inexpensive (marketing).
According to Dan Kennedy, renowned marketing expert and business philosopher, we lose customers because:
Advertising is what you do to get people in the door. Marketing is keeping them coming back for more. Communicating and demonstrating appreciation to customers is paramount to retaining customers.
Customer retention (and therefore, higher customer lifetime value) relies on 2 things:
A good customer experience doesn’t have to be at Disney World levels. Just meet expectations. I think everyone wants to be served promptly and they want the food to be good (on par with the price) and they want their order to be accurate.
A good customer experience means your service should be polite, and your place should be clean…EVERYWHERE…floors, walls, tables, chairs, outside, and especially the restrooms. I strongly recommend your employees be trained and required to make eye contact and say “THANK YOU,” and I recommend you lead by example.
Today, it’s pretty easy to stand out. Following these basic expectations can actually make you exceptional. This level of service will get you some high review scores.
Good communication is the Holy Grail of customer retention. There’s simply too many choices in the restaurant business. Your competition is every other restaurant in the vicinity. The power of their marketing, the ability to get your attention is your challenge. National chains and franchises have massive marketing budgets for TV & radio advertising, direct mail, and newspaper inserts.
But YOU have things THEY don’t. Read on!
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You, the owner, and your story is important to a lot of people. It cultivates emotional connections. Unlike the chain restaurants and franchises, whose owners are shareholders and investors, YOU have a story. You have a reason for being in your business. People love stories. It’s how the human brain is wired. Whether you started your business from a personal passion, or if you took over the family business, a paragraph or 2 creates a story…and connections.
Do you use your grandmother’s recipes for inspiration? Have you picked up great ideas from your experiences to other parts of the country or other parts of the world?…More connections.
What about your family? Is your spouse involved with the business? What are your interests? Pets? More connections. “Dog people” love dog people. Golfers love golfers. Adding photos of yourself, your family, and your pets make you likable, friendlier…a friend.
One of the most valuable assets you can have is a list of your customers with their name, email address, and birthday. It’s so easy to accrue a list just by offering a free birthday meal and an occasional email announcing your specials, promotions and events. A restaurant email list can grow from Zero to 1000’s in a matter of months. Tens of 1000’s in a matter of years.
Smart and successful restaurant owners keep in touch regularly with relevant information, an offer, a Thank You, and a Happy Birthday and Holiday wishes. This gentle communication, when you have hundreds, or 1000’s of customers on your list, will keep you in top-of-mind position.
Lots of restaurant owners don’t want to send emails because they don’t want to be “a burden” to their customers. This is nonsense because if they didn’t WANT your email message, they would have never given you their email address in the first place.
Every time I think about this subject, my cousin George comes to mind. His father started the Elgin Diner on Mother’s Day, 1961 . George eventually took over the diner after his father died. Although George spent plenty of time in the kitchen, what I remember most was the time he spent in the dining room greeting customers and treating them like friends.
I think every owner should cascade around the dining room, make his or her presence known because your customers like it. Ask them if everything is okay, like George did. He owned a diner, not a 5-star steakhouse, so if this technique worked for him, it’ll work for you too.
I know for a fact that the Elgin diner didn’t just have REGULAR customers, they had LOYAL customers, many who ate their multiple times PER WEEK.
Treat your customers like their the love of your life. If you can’t, you’re guilty of indifference which means you’re probably in the wrong business.
Author: Andrew Mazer, Founder of Small Business U.
Contact Andrew at Andrew@smallbusinessu.org or sign up for THE ONE GOOD IDEA NEWSLETTER for great Small Business Marketing and Management Ideas.
A majority of small business owners share a similar attitude about email: they don’t like it, and they don’t want to use it for marketing purposes because they don’t want to “burden” their customers with it.
Permission-based marketing is a gift. We’re living in a world where we’re usually trying to avoid the bombardment of marketing messages by using a DVR, satellite radio, Netflix, and YouTube. However, when people GIVE you their name and email address in exchange for the promise of providing some sort of value (and that’s the only reason they’ll give it to you), they’re giving you permission to send them your email messages. They have essentially raised their hands and said, “Send me your advertising.” I’ll say it again: This is a gift.
Keep in touch with your customers with email because you need to keep your promise. They gave you permission because you promised something of value. “What’s in it for me?” This is what people want to know before they give you their email address. But the best reason you want to keep in touch is because you want them to remember you the next time they’re making a decision to buy whatever it is you sell. You also want them to remember you the next time a referral opportunity comes along.
I will give you 3 quick examples of the value you can provide with email messages:
Keep in touch to maintain top-of-mind position with your customers. Provide good and valuable information because it positions you as an expert.
Tip: Consider teaming up with a non-competitive business who serves a similar clientele so you can share ideas and cross-promote.
This is an image of one of our client’s email messages as it appears in my inbox. This independent health foods and supplements retailer has huge competition. They send out informational emails frequently to both inform their customers and promote products. If the subject line of an email doesn’t strike a cord with the recipient, they will simply ignore it or delete it, which is fine. The message is still effective in keeping the retailer in top-of mind position and a trusted authority.
The average email open rate is under 30%. Do you think that’s bad? It’s not! It’s a lot better than most other forms of media, plus here’s something else about email you may have never considered: the name of the sender and the subject line get seen by MOST of the email recipients. Even though they don’t consume the entire email message, you have still reminded them you exist, and you’re keeping in touch as promised.
Sending a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to email marketing is a big one. Although a great portion of email marketing can be automated, it still requires planning, writing, and a little bit of creativity.
Friends, keeping in touch with your customers pays big dividends and I highly encourage it.
If you need any help with setting up an email marketing system for your business, CLICK HERE to start the conversation.
Welcome to your Monthly Marketing Ideas Calendar is for December, 2018. Add some fun, or support a cause by utilizing this monthly treasure chest of ideas to tie into your emails, social media posts, print ads, and in-house promotions.
Subscribe to get this valuable marketing resource in your email every month! CLICK HERE.
National Car Donation Month
AIDS Awareness Month
National Pear Month
Bingo’s Birthday Month
National Drunk & Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month
National Human Rights Month
National Tie Month
National Write A Business Plan Month
Operation Santa Paws (1-24)
Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month
Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Spiritual Literacy Month
Universal Human Rights Month
Worldwide Food Service Safety Month
12/1 Woody Allen
12/5 Walt Disney
12/8 Sammy Davis Jr.
12/18 Stephen Spielberg
12/22 Ted Cruz
12/24 Howard Hughes
12/25 Isaac Newton
12/27 Louis Pasteur
12/28 Woodrow Wilson
12/29 Mary Tyler Moore
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Dec 1 – 7
Cookie Cutter Week
Chrohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week
Dec 2 – 8
Dec 4 – 10
National Hand Washing Awareness Week
Dec 3 – 9
Recipe Greetings for Holidays Week
Dec 10 – 17
Human Rights Week
Gluten-Free Baking Week
12/1/2018 National Pie Day / Rosa Parks Day
12/2/2018 Special Education Day
12/3/2018 National Roof Over Your Head Day
12/4/2018 National Cookie Day
12/5/2018 Bathtub Party Day
12/6/2018 St. Nicholas Day / National Gazpacho Day
12/7/2018 National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
12/8/2018 Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day
12/9/2018 National Pastry Day
12/10/2018 Human Rights Day
12/11/2018 National Noodle Ring Day
12/12/2018 Gingerbread House Day
12/13/2018 National Cocoa Day / National Guard Day
12/14/2018 National Salesperson Day
12/15/2018 Bill of Rights Day / National Wreath Across America Day
12/16/2018 Barbie and Barney Backlash Day
12/17/2018 Wright Brothers Day
12/18/2018 Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day
12/19/2018 National Oatmeal Muffin Day
12/20/2018 National Sangria Day / National Re-Gifting Day
12/21/2018 Winter Solstice / National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
12/22/2018 Forefathers Day
12/24/2018 National Egg Nog Day / Christmas Eve
12/26/2018 Boxing Day (Canada) / National Candy Cane Day
12/27/2018 National Fruitcake Day
12/28/2018 National Card Playing Day
12/29/2018 Tick Tock Day
12/30/2018 Bacon Day
12/31/2018 New Year’s Eve / National Champagne Day
In this post, I’m going to show you a smart way to get more 5-Star Reviews. Getting more positive reviews is a critical marketing component your independently-owned restaurant (or whatever business you’re in). Want to make ALL your advertising and marketing work better and pay a bigger return on investment? Read this post. (Video Posted Below)
More positive reviews will make your ads pull in more customers. Do you advertise?
Every time you spend money on advertising, many of the people who see your ad will check out your reputation. They’ll go to sites like Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, and Facebook to find out what people are saying about you.
The technique recommended in this article will help you get more positive reviews while also helping you build customer loyalty.
The best customers to ask for a review are the ones who join your “Specials & Coupons” email newsletter. How do you get people to sign up for your “Specials and Coupons” newsletter?
Make sure every adult patron of your restaurant receives the opportunity to fill out a form like this one. You can leave a small stack of them in a tray or a business card holder in the table, or you can have your server set some on the table with a pen toward the end of the meal. You may want to have the cashier bring up the subject if your customers pay at the cash register. Th point is:
You’ll need to get an assistant (you can get someone for minimum wage or less) to send out an email the same day (or the next day-sooner is better) and send something like this in an email:
Dear Mr. Smith, thank you for signing up for our “Specials & Coupons” Newsletter. There’s a coupon waiting for you at the bottom of this message! We’re looking forward to serving you again soon. Mr. Smith, as a family-owned restaurant, it’s especially important to have a good reputation on the internet.
Every 5-Star review we get on Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Facebook can meaningfully help potential customers find out about our restaurant. If you would spare 5 minutes to leave us a positive review on any of these websites, it would be a huge favor to us. We’ve made it very easy.
Just click on any (or all) of the links below to leave a review. If there’s any reason you think we don’t deserve a positive review, please reply to this email and let us know so we can address the situation. -Respectfully, Joe & Josephine Owner
Get the link to your profile on each one of these popular “review” sites and link directly to them right from your email. (I also advise you to create a Review Us page on your website.)
Eliminating negative reviews from the sites listed here ranges from difficult to impossible. The best remedy for bad reviews is 10 times more great reviews. More great reviews will raise your average review rating. They will also bury negative reviews.
Equally important is, lots of great reviews will generally push you up in the search results so people will find your restaurant online even if they don’t already know you exist.
While you’re in the process of improving and building an incredible online reputation, you’re also building a permission-based contact list. You have fans, and you have friends. These folks have freely given you their contact information in return for a promise. The promise that you will keep in touch to let them know about your specials and coupons! Imagine…a giant list of people who have raised their hand and said, “Yes. Send me your advertising!”
Keeping in touch with your customers is good business. This is especially true when they have requested it. This article will explain why building a customer contact list and keeping in touch is so important and so valuable to your business now, and in the future.
Permission-based marketing is when people have given you permission to send them your offers. If people have had a good experience in your restaurant, they’ll often give you permission to keep in touch, especially if you have a special offer for them. Keeping in touch is easy and cheap with email marketing automation. It’s also really valuable.
It’s not your customer’s job to remember you, it’s YOUR job to remind them you exist. When people give you their email contact information, they’re ASKING you to REMIND them. This is a gift.
You want to be remembered when the question arises: “Where do you want to go out to eat (or order take-out)?” Among ALL the choices there are (and new ones popping up constantly), it’s a lot easier to be remembered when YOUR restaurant shows up in their email inbox once a week.
Even when the customers on your list don’t open your email, they will usually SEE your name and subject line which reminds them of you.
Why do customer stop coming to a place? It’s SO important to keep in touch!
According to Dan Kennedy’s research (a well known marketing guru), we lose customers for the following reasons:
Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those who die or about those who move out of the area. But if you have permission to keep in touch with people, you can continue to keep in touch with a friendly message and an offer. Done with class, this will help you retain more customers, even win some back.
When someone fills out a signup form like the one pictured above, the information will need to be manually entered into an email database. This is about the only part that’s not automatic, but it’s not difficult.
A page on your website should be setup with a similar form or coupons. These can be setup to capture your customers’ contact information and automatically add them to your email database.
Email marketing technology allows us to setup emails in advance. Your email messages can be planned ahead to be sent on a schedule of your choosing-once per week, every other week, or once each month.
“But I don’t want to burden customers with emails.”
NONSENSE! Remember, this is a permission-based list. They have given you permission-they have asked you to send them your stuff. You’re practically under obligation! Besides, everyone on your list can opt-out which automatically removes them from the list.
When someone fills out a sign-up form Like the one above) after they’ve eaten your food, they’re telling you, “Yes. I’m satisfied with your food and my experience. I’ll be back, especially if you keep in touch with your specials, coupons, and news.”
Think about the possible lifetime value of this customer. Do the math: if you can get just 50 customers (with a party of 4) to come back in just 3 more times per year by keeping in touch, how much more revenue will you generate?
When you advertise with Groupon or in print (coupon mailers or local magazines), people will visit your website to take a closer look. If you have a page on your website called Specials and Coupons, people will opt-in to your contact list. Now, every time you advertise, you’ll not only get a bump in sales, you’ll also be building your list.
Building an Asset Which Makes Your Business More Valuable
When you send out emails, you’ll see a bump in revenue. You’ll be on a mission to grow your list bigger and faster. Not only will you generate more revenue, you’ll also be creating a new asset: YOUR LIST. Your huge list of customers (fans), is property-property which makes your business more valuable to you NOW and makes your business more valuable and attractive to a potential buyer.
ADVERTISING GETS PEOPLE TO MY WEBSITE > PEOPLE ON MY WEBSITE GETS PEOPLE TO SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL > PEOPLE IN MY RESTAURANT GETS PEOPLE TO SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL > SENDING EMAIL KEEPS PEOPLE COMING BACK MORE OFTEN > PEOPLE COMING BACK MORE OFTEN GENERATES MORE REVENUE AND HIGHER LIFETIME CUSTOMER VALUE > A BIG CUSTOMER CONTACT LIST INCREASES THE VALUE OF MY BUSINESS NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.
All the marketing and advertising you do can (and should) result in Inbound Marketing. Find out why this matters and how you can leverage this information to your benefit. Simple stuff, yet overlooked and widely misunderstood.
Inbound Marketing is described on Wikipedia mostly as in the form of online content, such as email, search engine optimization, and social media. It’s function is to generate interest with the intention to get people to seek more information by visiting a website or a physical location. Inbound marketing is more subtle than an offer, just as an informational brochure is more subtle than a telemarketing call.
I see Inbound Marketing a little differently for a traditional small business like the ones who advertise with coupons or Groupon.
When you understand inbound marketing, you’ll have a new understanding of the role your website plays in the success of your ads.
Watch this video to see what can happen when you’re not paying attention to your website.
The main goal of your Groupon deal or your coupon ad is to get new people to give you a try. A regular customer begins with the first transaction and repeat business is the ultimate goal. It’s what makes a business more profitable and revenues more consistent and predictable.
What happens when your ad hits the consumer’s kitchen table or they see your Groupon ad in their email? (Hint: It’s INBOUND MARKETING.)
If they’re interested in what they see but have never been to your place before, they’re going to your website to take a closer look. I truly believe most business owners don’t realize how many potential customers will look you up online, especially after receiving your ad. If you did, you would probably want to make some changes…RADICAL changes.
Surely you’re familiar with the term: You never get a 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression. Ask yourself, what do YOU think people want to know when they visit your website?
Focusing on the customer experience on your website is imperative. SO many people will visit your website but only a small percentage will do business with you. Small improvements can make a huge difference. If 10 out of 100 end up doing business with you, 2 more is a 20% increase. A 20% increase in new customer growth could be the difference between just getting by and wealth.
If they’re in the restaurant business, they want to see your menu, that’s a no-brainer. But if they would like to see some images of your food, or people eating your food, that would be better. Think about a Red Lobster commercial, visit the Home page of their website: photos of food and photos of people. You don’t have to be a mega chain to have a website that engages and compels people to come in, your one-location restaurant can do it too. Here’s a great example: Litchfield Salt Water Grille has a great-looking yet simple website and a fantastic About Us page (which I always recommend). Click the About Us link the the previous sentence to see a great job and poke around the site.
If you’re in the service business, they want to see YOU (or at least images of how you’re staff looks). For service businesses who come to the home, people want to feel safe and confident. Horizon Services does a great job with their website. Uniformed technicians- one greeting a customer, several showing them working on a repair job. If you’re a hair dresser, a massage therapist, people want to see what the outside and the inside of your place looks like. They want to see, you, your staff, and some satisfied customers’s testimonials (picture testimonials are better, video testimonials are the best).
I hope you’re inspired to take time out to plan your next ad or promotion, and to make your website a more important part.
If you’ve ever done a Groupon campaign or if you plan to do another one, OR of you’re advertising with coupons, you’ll want to get a copy of my short book, THE GROUPON SOLUTION™.
Download it free at https://www.smallbusinessu.org/grouponsolution In it, you’ll discover new ways to make your marketing produce a larger return on investment, gain more repeat customers, and make your business more profitable now and worth more in the future.
Keep your marketing fresh and interesting. Find topics here to perk up your website, your next outbound email or social media post.
Adopt a Senior Pet Month
Aviation History Month
Banana Pudding Lovers Month
Diabetic Eye Disease Month
Epilepsy Awareness Month
Family Stories Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
Historic Bridge Awareness Month
International Drum (Percussion) Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Military Family Appreciation Month
National Adoption Month
National Alzheimer’s Disease Month
National COPD Month
National Diabetes Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Fun with Fondue Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Gratitude Month
National Home Care and Hospice Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
National Long-term Care Awareness Month
National Family Literacy Month
National Novel Writing Month
National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
National Pepper Month
National Pomegranate Month
National Raisin Bread Month
National Roasting Month
National Scholarship Month
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Prematurity Awareness Month
PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month
Spinach and Squash Month
Sweet Potato Awareness Month
NoSHAVEmber (U.S. – Beard Month or Movember; Australia – Moustache Month)
Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month
11/6 Sally Field
11/7 Marie Curie
11/14 Prince Charles
11/20 Joe Biden
11/20 Robert F. Kennedy
11/22 Billie Jean King
11/30 Winston Churchill
11/30 Mark Twain
Nov 4 – 10
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week
Nov 12 – 19
World Kindness Week
Dear Santa Letter Week
International Fraud Awareness Week
National Nurse Practitioner Week
National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week
American Education Week
National Farm-City Week
Better Conversation Week
National Game and Puzzle Week
Nov 21 – 25
National Deal Week
11/1/2018 World Vegan Day / National Men Make Dinner Day (No BBQ Allowed)
11/2/2018 National Deviled Egg Day
11/3/2018 National Housewife’s Day
11/4/2018 Daylight Saving Time Ends – First Sunday in November
11/5/2018 National Love Your Red Hair Day
11/6/2018 National Nachos Day / Saxophone Day / Election Day
11/7/2018 National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
11/8/2018 National STEM/STEAM Day
11/9/2018 National Scrapple Day
11/10/2018 Marine Corps Birthday
11/11/2018 Veterans Day
11/12/2018 National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day
11/13/2018 World Kindness Day
11/14/2018 National Pickle Day / National Educational Support Professionals Day
11/15/2018 Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day / America Recycles Day / Great American Smokeout
11/16/2018 National Fast Food Day
11/17/2018 National Take a Hike Day / National Adoption Day
11/18/2018 Mickey Mouse Birthday
11/19/2018 National Play Monopoly Day
11/20/2018 Universal Children’s Day
11/21/2018 World Hello Day / National Stuffing Day / Tie One On Day
11/23/2018 National Day of Listening / Black Friday / Buy Nothing Day
11/24/2018 Small Business Saturday
11/25/2018 Shopping Reminder Day
11/26/2018 Cyber Monday
11/27/2018 National Day of Giving
11/28/2018 National French Toast Day
11/29/2018 Electronic Greetings Day
11/30/2018 Stay Home Because You’re Well Day
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National Italian Cheese Month: “September is National Italian Cheese Month, and there’s no better time to celebrate the buttery, bold, creamy, crumbly and nutty Italian Cheeses that are essential to our favorite Italian fare.” Surely a fantastic topic to tie into an ad, email, social media post, or promotion, for any Italian restaurant or pizzeria.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month
National Self-Care Awareness Month: Self–Care Awareness Month in is a time to remind us that taking care of ourselves, first and foremost, is essential. Self-care is often neglected in our everyday lives. This holiday can be used to promote fitness-related businesses such as Personal Trainers, Yoga Instruction, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, Health Food Stores, restaurants with an emphasis on healthful choices, and restaurants wishing to promote healthy menu options.
Baby Safety Month
Better Breakfast Month
Classical Music Month
Fall Hat Month
Little League Month
International Square-Dancing Month
International Update Your Resume Month
National Blueberry Popsicle Month
National Chicken Month: Another obvious promotional opportunity for restaurants of all kinds. “Add chicken to your salad…, Chicken Wing Specials, All Chicken Dishes Come With…”
National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
National Courtesy Month
National Honey Month
National Library Card Sign Up Month
National Mushroom Month
National Papaya Month
National Piano Month
National Potato Month
National Preparedness Month
National Rice Month
National Sewing Month
Save Your Photos Month
Whole Grains Month
National Suicide Prevention Month
9/5 Freddie Mercury
9/8 Bernie Sanders
9/9 Colonel Sanders
9/15 Prince Harry
9/21 Stephen King
9/26 Serena Williams
National Payroll Week
National Childhood Injury Prevention Week
National Waffle Week
National Days of Prayer and Remembrance
National Environmental Services Week
Line Dance Week
National Assisted Living Week
National Suicide Prevention Week
National Farm Animals Awareness Week
National Rehabilitation Awareness Week
National Keep Kids Creative Week
Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week
Active Aging Week
Sept 26 -Oct 2
National Fall Foliage Week
9/1/2018 National Tailgating Day
9/2/2018 National Blueberry Popsicle Day
9/3/2018 Labor Day
9/4/2018 National Newspaper Carrier Day / National Wildlife Day
9/5/2018 National Cheese Pizza Day
9/6/2018 National Read a Book Day
9/7/2018 National Food Bank Day / National Lazy Moms Day
9/8/2018 National Pediatric Hematology/ Oncology Nurses Day
9/9/2018 National Teddy Bear Day / National Grandparents Day
9/10/2018 National Swap Ideas Day
9/11/2018 Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance
9/12/2018 National Video Game Day
9/13/2018 National Peanut Day
9/14/2018 National Eat a Hoagie Day
9/15/2018 National Online Learning Day / Greenpeace Day / Responsible Dog Ownership day
9/16/2018 National Step Family Day / National Working Parents Day / Wife Appreciation Day
9/17/2018 National Apple Dumpling Day
9/18/2018 Air Force Birthday / National IT Professionals Day
9/19/2018 Talk Like a Pirate Day
9/20/2018 National Pepperoni Pizza Day
9/21/2018 National POW/MIA Recognition Day
9/22/2018 Elephant Appreciation Day / National Hunting and Fishing Day / American Business Women’s Day
9/23/2018 National Great American Pot Pie Day
9/24/2018 National Cherries Jubilee Day / National Punctuation Day
9/25/2018 National Comic Book Day / National Voter Registration Day
9/26/2018 National Pancake Day / National Women’s Health & Fitness Day
9/27/2018 National Chocolate Milk Day
9/28/2018 National Good Neighbor Day
9/29/2018 National Family Health and Fitness Day USA
9/30/2018 National Love People Day
Please read this important message about slow websites. Your website speed is crucial for search engine optimization and for a good customer experience.
Slow website speed is a drag on your customers’ time. User experience is crucial and a perception of the way you do business. These days, we expect web paged to load inside 2 seconds(literally). According to Alexa.com, a website which loads in 4.3 seconds is 88% slower than all websites worldwide. Slow to load = Bad for business. You could lose a potential customer before your home page loads!
Get a website speed test free, CLICK HERE.It takes less than a minute.
Website loading speed is a major criteria for search engine optimization. Search engines, especially Google, weigh “user experience” as one of the most important factors in SEO. Slow loading speed is a no-no and your website will fall in the search ranking against faster-loading sites.
One easy way to solve the problem of slow website speed is to move your site to a better host-a DEDICATED host. A dedicated host means your website is the only site on the server. This will be a little pricey for a typical small business website, BUT, if your website is responsible for converting new customers and real sales, it’s probably worth it. There’s other options-read on.
Most small business websites are hosted on the very cheapest hosting plans such as Godaddy, Host Gator, or Blue Host. These companies provide hosting on “shared” servers. This means dozens of websites and potential 1000’s of web pages, and tens of 1000’s of images, are hosted on a single server. Each of these sites are using and sharing the resources of the server. This causes slow page-loading speed. I’ve noticed this problem is getting worse.
A hosting plan on Host Gator can cost as low as $60.00/year but you’ll likely pay a bigger price in lost opportunities because your website speed will suffer. (What is a new customer worth to you, anyway?)
My best suggestion is to go with a Virtual Managed Server. This is what I’m using for my websites and recommending for my clients.
I have a big website for my wholesale business, Mazer Wholesale, Inc. We have over 5000 items, plus hundreds of additional pages, images, and videos on that site. When my site was half the size it is now, it began to slow down. Because my site IS huge, and it IS a money-maker for me, I gladly spend the money for a dedicated host. This host server has massive capacity and so I added a couple of my other smaller websites (formerly hosted on Godaddy) onto the Mazer Wholesale server. What a difference it makes.
Website speed is a major consideration if you want your website to show up high in the search results, especially on Google. Google puts a lot of weight on the user experience and therefore page load speed matters. A good website host will facilitate faster loading speeds.
My hosting provider and I are now providing website hosting on Virtual Managed Servers. This means we are providing website hosting to small to mid-sized websites. These servers have a large capacity but as a managed server, we keep the burden to a minimum so speed is at a maximum and never in jeopardy.
Images are often a major cause of slow page loading. Photos can be huge in file size, especially those which are uploaded directly from a digital camera. Photos can be reduced in size easily with simple image editing software which is sometimes pre-loaded on computers. I use paint.net. It’s a free download. If you need help with this, just ask. Images can also be compressed. Reducing file size by compressing them can be done on https://tinypng.com/
For help with any of this, just ask: go to https://smallbusinessu.org/askandrew/
If you’re using Google Ads (formerly known as Adwords), your results could be undermined and your costs increased by slow page loading speeds.
Managed hosting (with our program) also includes protection against malicious attacks (computer bugs and viruses can make make their way from computers, emails, and websites and into host servers. Nasty stuff!). Our servers are constantly being updated to protect against viruses.
Is your website HTTPS or HTTP?
HTTPS://www.websitename.com indicated a “Secure” website. The details are not important to understand. What IS important to understand is that if you don’t upgrade to HTTPS, your website will soon be dropping down, down, down on the search results. Visitors may even see a warning in their browser or pop-up which says, WARNING-THIS SITE IS NOT SECURE. To avoid this, your website needs an SSL certificate. In the past, this was only necessary for ecommerce websites (websites which sell products and collect credit card information). Now, every website need to be secure.
Our Virtual Managed Hosting Plan specifically for small business websites can combine an SSL Certificate for a discounted price. This is very important and if you act before your competitors, it could give you a competitive edge. Want more information about this? Just go to www.smallbusinessu.org/askandrew
This is a very important message to my clients and all subscribers to the information I share. This is a warning, an opportunity, and a call to action.
As a small business owner, you don’t need every last detail about the technology and the terminology of computer and internet-related stuff. In this post, you’re going to learn the reasons why your website needs to be https and why it needs to be done right away.
Simply, the ‘S’ in HTTPS means your website is secure. This was important mostly for ecommerce businesses who made sales and collected money online, but now it’s important for every website. Why? Because as of August 2018, Google is warning people when they visit websites which are not secure.
NOT SECURE. Wow…that’s kind of harsh, right? You don’t want people seeing THAT when they visit your website. They may be inclined to get the heck out of there! But this isn’t the most important reason to acquire the security of HTTPS for your website.
Google already favors secure websites (those with HTTPS) in search results. Websites without HTTPS (HTTP only) will fall in search ranking as more of your competitors acquire HTTPS. Get HTTPS quickly for a search result advantage over your competitors!
(For anyone who wants more info about HTTPS VS. HTTP, Wikapedia has some details and there’s no shortage of information on the subject.)
This is another warning sign your website visitors may get when they visit your website. This adds up to disaster. If you don’t have a secure website indicated by HTTPS, you stand to lose both new and existing business.
There are still a lot of websites which have not yet been converted to mobile-responsive website. This is also an online marketing disaster. Both have the effect of providing poor (or zero) service to your customers or perspective customers and both have the effect of destroying your ranking on the search engines making it difficult to be discovered by potential customers who may be looking for a business like yours, especially if they don’t already know you exist.
If you’re reading this and you don’t have the SSL Certificate (the thing which makes the HTTPS on your website), we can help you with a fast and affordable solution.
Time is of the essence if you want to take advantage and get your SSL Certificate for your website before your competitors.