Connie Weaver has been in the custom framing business at the same location (Donelson Plaza, Nashville, Tennessee) for over 25 years. This family owned “little shop on the corner” helps local business owners, Country Music stars and homeowners select frames to complement their artwork and family memorabilia. Heck, Connie didn’t need a website; folks were driving by and calling in all the time!
Yet Connie was missing out on the additional business that a professionally designed, engaging website could drive her way. Plus, I needed special frames made for my carvings. Would Connie consider a barter: I help her create and enhance an online presence, in exchange for her enhancing my artwork? We struck a deal, even though I could tell Connie wasn’t convinced.
Together Connie and I reviewed her competitors’ websites, analyzing what they did well and brainstorming ways she could do even better. We specifically wanted to highlight the specialty services S and S Framing offers that set this business apart from everyone else. Because Connie had not fully embraced online technology, I taught her how to take advantage of email and other online communication methods. Doing so helped us send information to one another quickly and Connie soon got into the habit of regularly checking email from her site’s contact form.
The process of developing site content didn’t turn out to be as overwhelming and “technical” as Connie had originally thought! As she told me more about her business, a clear picture began to emerge of the content she wanted to highlight on her site. Since Connie is so visually creative, she instantly recognized how powerful pictures could be to help tell her story. She brought in a professional photographer to capture images that were directly related to the content for each page.
Within two weeks Connie was greeting new clients who had heard about her through Google, with a steady average of five to ten new clients every month. An unexpected bonus came when Connie realized that S & S Framing shows up on the Google map, even if customers are searching the web for a nearby business or service—resulting in even more exposure.
Having taught Connie how to take advantage of Google Map Stats (metrics are an important, frequently overlooked benefit of a professionally designed online presence), she knows that she averages 12 views a day—of which 7 take some form of action, most of which involve checking the directions to her store. The top query is framing, closely followed by one of her specialties, which is photo restoration.
The Journey Continues…
Today, Connie exemplifies the small business owner who is using online tools to boost her business. With a minimum investment of a well-designed site that showcases her products and services, is SEO friendly and boasts a fully optimized Google Places listing, Connie is reaping the rewards of having an online presence.
To maximize exposure to her site, Connie uses coupons on Google Places and includes her website URL on invoices and business cards. She has decided that continuing to invest in her site is more beneficial than placing another ad in the phone directory. She’s working to get her site higher in search results for keywords including “framing Nashville,” “picture frames” and “custom frames.” Next up: creating a special page on her site on which clients can leave comments, with a link to Google Reviews.
Connie Weaver: website hero! From which I got the satisfaction of another delighted client—and some beautifully framed carvings!