The face of business has changed drastically over the past 10 years. We’ve moved the majority of our shopping activities online. While the actual online purchases have yet to overtake in-store shopping, traditional advertising such as fliers and Yellow Pages has given way to self directed online research. If your in business these days, you have to be online.
Not only do you have to have to be online, but you also need to be visible. Unless you rely solely on word of mouth referrals, this means showing up in the search engine results. So how can the small business owner do this on a budget?
Here are what a number of the experts are saying about Getting Noticed Online:
Establish profiles on the major social media sites:
Setting up profiles on LinkedIn, FaceBook, Pintrest, and other Social Media sites is the first step to establishing an online presence. Select sites that are pertinent to your business and cater to your prospective clientele. While some like FaceBook are very broad in their audience, others can be very specific.
Make sure your profile and look are consistent over the various platforms. This doesn’t mean you should have exactly the same text/description on each site, but that the general look, content, and information should reflect your brand. Having contradicting descriptions, out of date information, and variety of images makes you look disorganized and lowers your credibility.
Get a Website:
This may seem obvious; however, it’s amazing how many businesses still don’t have a website, or have a poorly designed and out of date one. Your prospective customers are looking for information about you and your products & services. If your not online and can’t quickly provide the information they’re looking for, they’ll be off to your competitor and you’ll likely never see them again.
Provide content and information that your customers want and need. Offer information like How to, Tips & Tricks, 10 best, etc. If you sell product, make sure you have a catalogue that’s easy to search & navigate. If you can sell online, DO IT!
Not only did this come up in most of the posts and sites I researched, several of them were dedicated solely to content and what and how to provide it.
Content isn’t about selling, it’s about helping, educating, and entertaining your clientele. It’s about building that Know, Like, & Trust that makes people want to buy from you. Aside from the direct content on your webpages, create a blog, start a news letter, post regularly on Social Media, etc.
Ask friends, family members and employees to get the word out:
Too often we don’t do a great job of promoting ourselves. Getting friends, family, and employees to help promote your online content is easy, and adds that second party validation. Provide a means to do this through email fliers, news letters, etc. Set up a Business Page on FaceBook and LinkIn, and ask your contacts to help you get the word out.
Links to your website and other online properties is still ranked highly by the search engines; however, avoid Link Farming. The search engines are looking for Quality Link Backs, links from sites that provide complementary services and information. If you’re a Hairdresser, having a car dealership link back to your site does little to improve your online presence. On the other hand, a link back from a hair product manufacturer or another stylist moves you up in the rankings.
In short, there is a lot you can do to Get Noticed Online. Depending on your industry, you may need to engage a marketing company to assist with your SEO, pay for adds, etc. Either way, make sure you have the basics set up so that when your prospects find you they stay and engage.
© 2016 Robert Shular