As Jeff Harte and Prerna Gupta of Google discussed in their previous article, the DIY & Home Improvement sector in Ireland is seeing a continuous growth in consumer interest moving online. Searches for terms like ‘DIY’ and ‘home improvement’ are growing at 38% and 270% respectively in the last four years. With this growing interest, having an online presence is becoming imperative to maintain growth in business. In this article, Jeff and Prerna offer five tips to grow your business online.
The first and the most important tip to improve your business visibility is to have a website that explains who you are and what you do. Treat this as the first impression a potential customer will have of your business and how they perceive you in the future. Services such as www.gettingbusinessonline.ie are free resources that will help you take the first steps in setting up your business website and to building an online presence.
Once you have a website to engage with your potential customers, ensuring that they can find you during their research phase becomes even more crucial. In Ireland, 85% of online users use search engines to find businesses and gather information. Getting found, providing relevant information about your products or services, and providing an engaging user experience to capture this growing online interest is key. Use search engine optimisation to influence these users searching online.
Use advertising to direct customers to where you want them to be. If someone is looking only for your store opening hours, direct your search results to a page that has this information. Similarly if someone is looking for a particular product that they are in the market to buy, it makes sense to link them directly to that product on your website instead of:
Home Page >Product Search >Category Page > Sub Category >Product.
Here, you run the risk of your customer losing interest. Tailor your website and your advertising messaging with this in mind to call out specific products or ranges and bring customers straight there.
When researching online in Ireland, users are looking for store information 29% of the time and for business operating hours 27% of the time. These are the ‘I-want-to-buy’ moments when the user purchase intent is high and businesses should look at influencing consideration of such users. Creating a ‘Google My Business’ account helps a business get its business hours, phone number and directions to stores on Google Search and Google Maps. This enables a business to control where they appear, ensure accuracy of business information, and provide photos and reviews of their business, for free.
Getting found and providing the most relevant information can often require more than an organic search listing. Online advertising through Adwords can help your business listing get on the top of the search result page. It’s particularly useful for smaller businesses to build brand awareness and influence consideration as statistically users who end up clicking on an ad will click on the first ad in the search result page. For businesses that operate in this online world, a multi-channel strategy to target potential customers, where they are and with what they’re looking for, can help win the moments that matter. Getting these basics in order will put your business in place to capture some of the growth from customers who are out there searching for you right now. And it will also set you up to enable you to expand your presence in much more advanced, engaging and interesting ways.
Jeff Harte and Prerna Gupta work at Google as Sales Account Managers for Home & Garden advertisers. For any members that have questions or comments for Google, they have kindly set up a dedicated email address for Hardware Association Ireland, it is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Business Support article featured in the November/December 2016 edition of The Hardware Journal.