Improve Your Online Presence
Roughly 97 percent of consumers search for a business “near me” online. Think about that: that pretty much includes, well everyone, really!
Forbes says that if you don’t have a visible website presence, potential customers may literally walk right past your brick-and-mortar business while seeking a business “near me” on their smartphone.
So how do you go about creating brand awareness and increasing visibility for your small business? There are some key actions that you can take right now to improve your online presence.
Review the goals of your web strategy
We discussed not long ago about starting with the big picture and knowing what you want your site to accomplish. So review your goals and use it as your roadmap.
Now is the time to get into more details. Do you want to generate sales on your ecommerce site? Will you try to have a blog that shows up on the first page of Google search results? Do you want to become a thought leader for your current customers?
Even though it is Web 101 stuff, it helps if you write down your plan. There’s no need to be elaborate, a simple plan will do. Figuring out what you need to do in small, achievable steps is the best way to help you achieve your goals.
Investing time in your site
Spending time on your website is essential. You have to invest some time (or pay for someone else to do it) to add relevant content to your website on a regular basis. Be consistent! After all, no one is going to want to read content that hasn’t been updated for five years.
In terms of your business brand, make sure your website is up to date. It is similar to making sure your office is clean and pleasant for customers to visit.
Not only will your site be rewarded by adding new content from Google, but visitors to your site will see that you are on top of things, as a successful business should be.
You also need to be spending some time with whatever social media you have deemed useful to your business. You’ll want to make sure you are posting relevant information that sends followers back to your site, as well as responding to comments and other types of engagement.
Finally, make sure you are on local business directories, like Yelp and Google My Business. The increase in local searches has been tremendous over the past few years, so ensuring your business is visible online is more important than ever.
Get some SEO help
Search engine optimization (SEO) at its most basic level is making sure your website gets discovered when someone is searching online for information about something that relates to your business. Easy? Sometimes, but not always.
It’s not necessary to be an SEO expert to have a great site. Offering great content on a website that is easy to access. Making it easy to find in the search engines is a place to start.
But you may want to hire an SEO specialist for a consultation to help you get started. Or, you may want to turn this part of your website over to outside help on a longer-term basis.
Even so, it’s wise to understand the basics of SEO for yourself. You can get a basic grasp of the principles by reading this Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz. It’s one of the best places to get started understanding why you need to care about making sure your site is optimized for search engines.
By adding to your understanding of SEO, your online presence will be improved tremendously.
Check out the competition
Study your competition and what they are doing online. You can learn quite a bit about your own target audience by taking note of what products and offers your competitors are marketing.
It’s helpful to read the content they are posting, though of course you don’t want to copy what they are doing. You can, however, take a topic and do an even better job of addressing it for your own customers and prospective customers.
Using your SEO skills (or your hired help), find out what kind of traffic their website is getting. Is there a blog post that is regularly appearing on page one of the Google results? You also can find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for and you can decide if these are keywords that your business should be ranking for as well.
One really easy way to keep track of your competitors is to set Google Alerts to get mentions of those companies. That way, any new information about the company or the direction they are going will get sent to you automatically.
Keep track of your results
You won’t know whether you are successful or not until you actually see the results of your work. Using programs like Google Analytics, you can see what your current numbers are and compare them to your progress monthly or yearly. We like to use custom monthly reports (our MEAD Reports) for our clients.
Check for analytics such as visits to your website, and finding out where they go when they get there is incredibly useful information. Knowing what visitors to your website are looking for should be the key to knowing what to put more of on your website!
While Google Analytics may seem daunting to the beginner, Crazy Egg has a Google Analytics beginners guide that can help you decide what analytics you want to keep track of and why. The key, as in much of marketing for SMBs, is to keep your goals simple and achievable.
Be patient and keep at it. And know when to change direction if the numbers are telling you something is not working.
Making positive changes in your online presence can take some patience. It may take several months for real progress to show up after you have begun your quest to improve your online presence.
Making good strategic planning decisions is not easy. Having solid information is the key to charting your marketing journey. You can get an idea of how strong your marketing foundation is by taking our free 10-question quiz and get immediate results. And if you have any questions about your results (or where to go next), contact us and we’d be happy to talk!
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.