Most small business owners have worked out that the internet is here to stay. They might not like it, but marketing online can really help a small business to grow and flourish. The trouble is, there is so much information out there that the whole ‘online marketing’ thing can be immensely confusing to a small business owner who is more used to dealing with local customers than he is setting up a website. As a result, some small businesses make a half-hearted effort to embrace the notion of online marketing – and then abandon the idea in favor of traditional methods. But this is a mistake!
A Web Presence
Irrespective of what else you do, all businesses, large or small, need a web presence. People everywhere look online before they do anything else. If a prospective customer is interested in a truck bed liner from a local auto body shop, he isn’t going to know you exist unless you have a web presence. But if you have a website such as www.autobodynow.com, there is a good chance he will find you in the search listings.
Don’t Dismiss Social Media
Not everyone uses social media, but most people do. If you spend your days dealing with customers over a counter, face to face, it is understandable that you might feel social media is a complete waste of time. You probably don’t think Facebook or Twitter can help you relate to customers, but actually they are both really useful.
There are some businesses – funeral directors, auto mechanics, plumbers, etc. – that are primarily based in the local community. However, whilst ‘local’ is very important, creating an online presence via social media can help you build your brand and establish your expertise in a particular field.
People talk online, so join the conversation. Offer your input on subjects related to your field of expertise and curate relevant content. It might seem like a hassle, but every new connection you make could end up being a new customer.
There is no easy way to optimize a website for search engines. It would be great if all you had to do was plug in some keywords and Google ranked your website Number One, but sadly that bus passed a long time ago.
Successful SEO involves adopting multiple strategies and spending a great deal of time and effort on the job. You won’t achieve overnight success, no matter how lucky you are. The more competitors you have, the harder it will be. Since you are probably an expert at running your business rather than SEO, this is one area where it is better to leave it to the experts, so hire a local SEO guy to do the job for you.
Once you have a great website up and running now is the time to start promoting it in the real world. Tell your customers about the website, include the web address on all your marketing literature, and don’t forget to link to it from your social media pages.