Every month Beyond Analysis ceo Paul Alexander will offer advice and answer DIY Week readers' questions about how best to utilise the internet for your business.
Q: I have a small local DIY shop that has been running for three years. I've already got a basic company website but I was wondering whether it would be worth investing in a more expensive website?
A: The key message here is that expensive doesn't necessarily mean good. Today, an online presence is all about building a two-way conversation between you and your customer. Some large enterprises spend upwards of half a million pounds on their website and yet fail to take the most basic thing into account: communication. Instead they have boring, static websites that do little to engage their customers.
However, if you are looking to invest in a website, there are three areas that you should look at. Firstly, content needs to be engaging and relevant to your customers. Secondly, the website needs to be regularly updated and kept fresh with videos, company news and anything exciting you might be working on. Lastly, track what areas of your website visitors do or don't click so that future content can be tailored for your audience. It's about how you use the resulting data that's important.
Q: I'm a small DIY retailer, and feel like I might be missing a trick by not using social media. Is this something I should be doing?
A: It's impossible to ignore the boom of social media and the impact it has on businesses now. A recent survey by The Logic Group found that over a fifth (22%) of Britons have visited a company's Facebook page in the last six months. Whether they are 'liking' a product on Facebook or tweeting about the service they received, customers are increasingly logging on to tell the brands what they think. However, the downside is that if not done correctly, you can end up with more negative publicity than when you first started!
If you're going to get involved in social media, you have got to pick the right platform for your company. My advice would be to find the one social media platform that you are comfortable with whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube and commit to it. Do one and do it well.
The next steps would be to capture data from your social media channel and use that information to drive your business forward. As a small retailer, you don't need to spend lots of money on analytics; there are lots of free analytics tools available out there. The key thing is using that data to your advantage to drive your business.
If you have any questions about online or social media that you would like to put to Paul, email them to email@example.com