In today’s digital world of smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi hotspots, the internet is the first place many consumers turn when searching for products and businesses. Whether you operate a coffee shop or a plumbing service, your business needs a strong online presence. Used properly and frequently, online marketing can be a valuable source of leads and brand exposure. So, how do you make sure that your business stands out online? Read the six tips listed below to find out.
1.Get your business listed on other sites: Directories and business review sites are the digital phone books many consumers use when looking up information on a company. You should consider registering on general business directories, such as the Yellow Pages, as well as on industry specific sites. Websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List allow users to rate local businesses as well as conduct searches based on location, reviews, hours of operation, and more. Registering your business in all applicable directories and managing your accounts can help increase your exposure. While you’re at it, don’t forget to claim your google business listing.
- Invest in a responsive website: When it comes time to drive traffic to your own website, you will want to make sure that you have an easy to navigate, easy to use, responsive website. The term “responsive” refers to your webpages ability to adapt to any size screen on which it is viewed. Why is this important? Consider that in the United States, more searches take place on a mobile phone than on a desktop computer. Customers who feel comfortable using your website and are able to find what they need are more likely to make a purchase, visit your location, or return to your site in the future.
- Up your ranking in search engines: While on the topic of websites and web searches, a great way to increase your visibility is through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of structuring and formatting your website to improve its organic (non-paid), ranking. Yes, there is a lot of information out there on SEO practices, but don’t be overwhelmed. Numerous resources are available online (many for free), designed specifically for the beginner. Learning even a little SEO can go a long way.
- Use social media: Another place you can reach your target market is on social media platforms such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These days, there are probably more social media sites than the average person would care to count; however, depending on your industry you may want to only focus on a few. If you are not sure where to begin, Facebook and Google+ are two powerhouse sites where you may want to begin creating profiles. Building your contacts will allow you to reach more of your customers where they live. Share your business news, special promotions, or any updates you see fit.
- Maintain an active blog: A regularly updated blog can have numerous benefits, especially when used in conjunction with the tips listed above. On one hand, providing your readers with valuable information on your products, services, or industry can build trust, cementing you as an authority in your field. For example, if you work as an electrician, you may write blogs about “what to do before calling an electrician” or “energy saving tips for around the house.” You can also share your blogs on social media with your contacts who may then share it with others. As if that wasn’t enough, regular blog posts can help with search engine rankings.
- Try online paid advertising: Many of the platforms listed above, such as Facebook and the Yellow Pages, offer some sort of paid advertisement options. However, no discussion of online advertising would be complete without mentioning Google AdWords. While this paid option can require substantial time and effort to get off the ground, it can help you to attract new customers and repeat business by putting your listing in front of people who have entered a search for the products or services you provide.
Massive traffic may not appear overnight and building your brand online can take time. However, if you are willing to put in the work, watching your business grow as a result can be well worth the effort.
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