Most consumers begin their research online, where they make decisions about a brand before ever setting foot in an establishment or trying a product.
Google has named this shift in consumer decision-making, Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). It is the idea that at the precise moment a consumer decides they have a need, desire or question, they look for answers online.
Those who answer the question provide value to the consumer at the exact moment they need it, but they also gain the upper edge over those who are not there.
How can you be there to answer your potential clients’ questions, establish a strong online presence and thus gain a competitive advantage?
1. Determine Your Goals
Do you want to drive online product sales, urge bookings or position yourself as an industry expert? Knowing this will help outline a strategic roadmap of your online efforts and shape the type of value you provide clients.
2. Secure Your Name
Your website will serve as your hub for everything, so be sure to secure your business domain name. This has become more of a challenge, as many domains have been taken.
Fortunately there are now a number of top level domains (TLDs) available. Rather than “.com”, you could go with “.clinic”, “.med” or “.beauty.” Also, be sure to get your vanity URLs across all social media channels that you regularly update.
3. Build Your Hub
In many cases, your website will be your first interaction with potential clients—it should fit in with branding, have a clear message and be easy to navigate.
Luckily, great design no longer costs a small fortune due to the myriad of resources available to get a website up and running quickly. Consider hiring a designer for a custom design.
For the budget constrained, a few options include: Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Shopify. All of these are great blogging platforms as well—a key component to capitalizing on ZMOT.
4. Appeal to the Client
High-value content and usability are incredibly important. Remember, your site is not about you—it is about your clients.
Chances are the common questions your existing clients have may also be what potential new clients are typing into Google.
- What type of facial is best for my skin?
- How much does (name of a specific service) cost?
- I’ve never had a massage, what should I expect?
Can you see all of the opportunities for content you can create? For instance, create a series of short YouTube videos where you briefly discuss “Best Facials for Treating Acne” or “Best Facials for Aging.” Answering common questions gives you endless options for content.
The ancillary benefit—it helps you show up in searches.
5. Leverage the Content
While you’re creating all of this high-value content, think about search engine optimization (SEO). There is an art to SEO, and you may want to consider hiring an expert. At the very least, integrate key words and key phrases into your content, which helps drive more organic traffic based on search terms you want to be known for.
Utlilize an analytics tool such as Google Analytics to discover which pages are the most popular on your site to shape future content creation. Also look at the referral sources to identify where you should be marketing your content.
Finally, don’t forget to include a call-to-action in all content. This doesn’t have to be obtrusive, but is an opportunity to deepen the relationship with that potential client. This could be a e-newsletter sign up form, an RSVP to an event you are hosting or a “book now” button. Just remember to give them a compelling reason to take action—and you do that by providing value.