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What does 2015 Hold for the Future of Online Business?

What does 2015 Hold for the Future of Online Business?This time of year the internet is full of SEO predictions for 2015. The SEO and Reputation Marketers are busy trying to define new strategies for getting to the top of the search engines. While this is an important aspect of internet marketing for any business, it still overlooks the primary focus – the consumer.

2015 should be the year of the consumer for every online business.

Consumer Focused Marketing

The trend of focusing on the consumer’s needs, not Google’s wishes, has been increasing in the last five years but it is still trending extremely slow.

All the ranking positions in your product’s focus are no good if consumers are not comfortable with your website.

Prediction #1 – Mobile will continue to increase

Stop saying ‘my website has a mobile version’ and ask yourself if that mobile version is working for you. Businesses often have a ‘if you build it they will come’ attitude. This doesn’t work in retail, and it doesn’t work online.

More than 50% of all sales start on cell phones. Even if you go to a Mall today, you’ll find people comparing prices and looking for alternatives using their phone.

Prediction #2 – Search Speed

The easier shopping is becoming, the more intolerant consumers are becoming. In 2009 it was okay to ask consumers to scroll. In fact, the trend was to ask them to scroll instead of adding a menu. Now consumers want to see the results on the home screen.

This makes web design and SEO vitally important. If you sell widgets you no longer want to rank for ‘buy widgets’ but you want to rank for ‘where to buy widgets in ___my town___’ or ‘XYZ widgets’. This is what the consumers are typing, and they want to see the product or a link to the product on the home page.

Prediction #3 – Page Load Speed

Page load times are becoming increasingly important. Most business check their page speed on their PC. The consumers are not using PCs, but their mobile devices. They are also not using wifi, they are on the move and using 3g. Turn your wifi off, and access your website via your phone.   This is your real speed. The speed your consumers will experience.

Prediction #4 – Conversion to Buyer

Online businesses continue to believe that if they build a static website people will buy. This hasn’t worked well in over 5 years. People are cautious when buying online. The  are horror stories out there. Christmas 2014 a couple bought airline tickets, and received the tickets, only to find the seats were cancelled and someone walked off with their money. One business bought $800 of software from an adobe dealer, only to find they had a pirated copy of Adobe.

Getting people to your website is only half the battle. Once they land on your website you need to sell to them. Here are some trends that have worked, and will continue to work in 2015:

  1. Put a phone number to a person. “Contact me at XXX XXX XXXX’. Or better yet, add a QR code so they can just point their phone and click to call (and download your info to their contact list.)
  2. Put a picture of your face on your website.
  3. Talk to people, answer their questions.
  4. Talk about your product.
  5. Write articles for people, not for SEO. The first impression a consumer has of your business should never be a spun article which is full of ‘filler’ words, and really doesn’t help them make a decision.
  6. Help them make a decision to buy
  7. Add more than ‘stock’ photos of the product
  8. Ask customers for a review
  9. Know who your customers are, and give them what they want.

These tips will not guarantee that you will have more sales than you can handle. But they will position you to start seeing your consumers as people, not a transaction.

 

 

AUTHOR - Elizabeth Varian

Elizabeth Varian has been working on the internet in some capacity since 1995. Working for such companies as a small chemical lab contractor to digital media sports mogul CBS SportsLine. When starting Webmaster For Hire, she wanted to focus on the personalized experience and customer services for clients. Though the internet has been around for decades now, it is still a mystical place for many business owners.