Owning a small business can be a daunting task just with the daily to-do lists, checking inventory, making employee schedules, and offering quality customer service. But even after all those things are tended to, there’s the matter of getting your company name out there — after all, without marketing outreach online and off, there won’t be any customers to serve for long. Here are five tips to help get your company recognized online, in your neighborhood, and within your industry.
1. Have a website with optimized content and easy to navigate layout
Simply having a website doesn’t cut mustard anymore. In order to rank locally and within your industry, your site needs to contain SEO: search engine optimization. That means the written copy on your site needs to contain industry-specific keywords, hyperlinks to other subpages of the site, and images with alt tags that help Google users find you when searching for what you offer. An optimized site will also have meta titles and descriptions: these are ways that search engines index your website and are not visible to people looking at your page — they work in the background to help your site rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages) so you get more traffic and more conversions into sales.
2. Get a local listing on Google Maps
If you’ve ever used your smartphone to locate the nearest pizza joint, you have seen the list of local businesses that pop up in your search. Just like pizza parlors, you too can have a local listing that will make you remarkably more visible to those seeking out what you offer. Getting a local listing like this is relatively simple. You can begin the process with the information provided by Google here. Once complete, your business will be searchable on mobile devices, desktops, or anywhere else your potential clientele is plugged into the Internet. Having your business listed here also allows those who have engaged with your company to review their experience — a great asset for those who give every customer the experience they seek.
3. Engage in email marketing: notify customers of deals, promotions, and news
To begin an email marketing campaign, you must first have email addresses garnered from doing business with people or some other way, such as a note on your homepage like, “Click here to receive our newsletter!” This way, you can’t be accused of soliciting to anyone who did not engage with you in some way. Once you have a handful of emails, you can begin email marketing through services like Mail Chimp, Reach Mail, Litmus, or Mailjet. While all of these are slightly different, they all offer easy ways to create your email blasts using user-friendly templates. They all also offer analytics: so you can see how many people received your email, how many opened it, and how many actually clicked on links within the email. These analytics make it easy to see what you’re doing right and what needs tweaking. One word of advice: It’s all about the email title — make the heading enticing so curious recipients will want to open it.
4. Have a visible social media presence
It’s not enough for you to be on Facebook as an individual posting to your friends and family about promos and deals your business is running. You need a Facebook business page for your company, and to create synergy between your website and your Facebook page, you can enhance your online visibility using other social platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn for business, and Pinterest. By creating company profiles on these social platforms, learning how to post effectively with hashtags, and by utilizing paid page promotions, boosted posts and promoted tweets, you’ll soon see many new followers interested in your product or service with very little investment. A word to the wise: if you plan on creating these social profiles, make sure you keep them up — the only thing worse than no social media presence is one that has been left to wither on the vine. Take the time to post at least two to three times per week.
5. Your website needs a blog: dynamic content keeps you relevant
Now that you have an optimized website, it’s time to start blogging. Many business owners fear they won’t know what to write about or how to keep blog content relevant. The best way to make your blog a dynamo that will drive more traffic to your website is to use current events about your industry as source material for posts. You will use keyword phrases that are relevant in the news now. You’ll tie in how your business offers solutions to problems consumers are facing, and use the end of each blog post as a call to action so readers understand that your company solves the challenges they face or augments the experiences they’re looking for. Another advantage to blogging is that your posts can be used as fodder for your social media posts — simply say a few words in a Facebook post about what your blog is about, embed the link in your Facebook post, and the image from your blog will auto-populate. This will get clicks to your website, and the cross pollination means more visitors to your other social platforms too.