The final Harry Potter film hit theaters this summer. In this last installment, evil is finally defeated, leaving Hogwarts and the wizarding world a much better place.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a spell that could magically get us out of the current economic crisis? Although we, as Muggles, can’t perform magic, perhaps we can glean a lesson or two from the wizarding phenomenon that netted sales in the billions.
Lesson One: Proper search engine wording for your web site is essential.
Floo powder is the best way to travel from place to place in the Potter films, unless of course you mispronounce your destination. One famous misquote landed Harry in the wrong part of town, in a rather dark, back alley store that all good wizards avoided.
So, how can you be sure that customers searching for your services aren’t misdirected to some big box store’s web site instead? Proper search engine optimization is the answer. You must identify what keywords and phrases your potential customers are typing to find the goods and services you offer.
One chiropractor assumed that people who typed the phrase “back pain remedies” would be directed to his site. Poor online traffic drove him to research what consumers really were typing: “non-surgical back remedies.” Having his webmaster add these important words to his site titles and descriptions increased his online popularity and ultimately increased his opportunity to gain new patients.
Once you decide what phrases and/or keywords best suit your business, optimize by having your webmaster add these words to your site. You can search phrases and keywords for free to determine how many times a specific word or phrase is searched on Google at https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer.
Have your web site administrator use some of these keywords throughout your site, hyperlinking the keywords to open other pages within the site. Search engines love hyperlinks and automatically optimize web sites with them because of their relevance to consumers.
Lesson Two: Keep your online audience captivated using video.
Thousands of people never read one Harry Potter book yet still saw each of the movies religiously as soon as they were released. Why? Film not only captures our attention and entertains us, but it easily and quickly relays information without much effort on our part.
Take a cue from the ever-successful video site YouTube. Consumers love watching information, maybe more than they love reading it. Adding a video to your site can be crucial to keeping web surfers engaged.
When creating a video for your business, keep these key concepts in mind: Include only the most essential information, keeping the video to no more than 60 seconds in length. Be aware that iPhone and iPad users can’t watch Flash, so your video needs to conform to these devices or you will lose a large percentage of consumers wishing to view your video. Have your video formatted to SD (standard definition) as HD (high definition) may cause the video to buffer and frustrate viewers.
It’s also best to allow consumers to click the video play button themselves. Automatically playing your video whenever a consumer enters your site tends to annoy and distract, and hitting the back button may cause your video to play over and over again.
Keep your video realistic. Customers want to know who you are and what they can expect from your service, so don’t make your company look like something it’s not. A good video will express and impress.
Remember, you’ll want to use your video on other sites like Facebook and YouTube. Both are free platforms for you and will increase your climb up the search engine ladder.
Lesson Three: Utilize good reviews to help fuel future sales.
There’s no doubt, the high review ratings for the Harry Potter movies helped stimulate the present pandemonium for all things wizard. Using good reviews to attract and influence customer purchases is no doubt becoming an indispensable marketing tool.
Aside from testimonials that you can place on your site, posting good reviews from consumers can and will influence buying decisions. Consider how you yourself shop. Do you use reviews to make your purchasing decisions? Then so do your customers.
If your site isn’t equipped to receive incoming reviews, encourage your favorite clients to go on various review sites and write about their good experiences with your company. These reviews will add to your online exposure as they show up in customer searches.
And don’t be afraid of an unflattering review. Most don’t prevent consumers from choosing you if your business has several good reviews.
Joann Francavilla is member services director at meetlocalbiz.com, which offers educational events on online marketing strategies, utilizing social networks and more at its training center in Columbia. She can be reached at 443-276-7201.