What systems and tools should you use to promote your business in today’s Digital World ?
There is no lack of the latest and greatest marketing platform or tool. Seems like every other month the next “Big Thing” has arrived. Promising to solve all your needs and bring in loads of customers. And while many of them are effective, you don’t need to be present on every platform.
In today’s world, you have to have a website, and it has to be useful. Colorful websites with very little content mean nothing anymore. It’s less about how pretty the site is, and more about how useful it is. This is especially true when it comes to mobile compatibility. There is nothing more frustrating as a consumer, than trying to find something on the run and the website doesn’t adapt to your mobile device.
You need to provide content that helps position you as a trusted advisor within your space.
- Product Reviews
- Tips and tricks to get the most out of your products & Services
- Answers to common questions
Consider an online store.
Nowadays, e-commerce is not just reserved for the Big stores. With services like Shopify, (A great partner of ours) you can easily get an online store setup in no time. Go the extra step and offer delivery or pickup in your store. All things being equal, I believe consumers would rather support a local business than amazon.com… But they make so darn easy, it’s tough to say no. The next few years will be very interesting, as services like Shopify & Uber look at partnering together to provide home delivery for local businesses. Imagine that for a moment… How awesome would your customer experience be if you could offer same day home delivery. Customer is at home shopping for a new pair of shoes, and voila ! There they are on your website, at a reasonable price, and can be delivered to their home by noon the next day… With an easy exchange policy if they don’t quite fit right… Start thinking about this now.
The point being, your website is important. If you haven’t updated your website in over 12 months, or it has little more than a a few pages, it’s time you took a step back and reassessed if you’re getting the most out of a web presence.
Google My Business
Do you have control of you google my business page? (formerly known as google places). It’s free and helps you gain more visibility to people searching for your products and services. This is especially important if you’re a local business or professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, dentist etc. It take only a few minutes to setup, but it’s well worth the investment. The key here is that if you’ve done everything correctly, you have a much greater chance at being there when your prospects are looking for you.
And let’s not forget about Google Reviews. Most local businesses cringe when I talk about reviews. It scares them. What if we get a bad review ? Well… That’s up to you to ensure you don’t… But those reviews are very important to helping you gain ranking and visibility with the search engines. The more reviews, the more likelyhood of getting better search engine ranking. Plus it helps establish a service area that google uses in it’s algorithm to decide who to serve up on a search query. We’ll write an article about that in the future.
Your business needs a Facebook page. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, there is likely a group of people that fit your demographic on Facebook. Using Facebook won’t necessarily sell products for you, but it can be a great source of brand awareness by keeping yourself out there. And let’s not forget stuff like re-targeting. But please. Stop posting your inventory, specials and funny pictures that have nothing to do with you.. Keep it useful. Use it to demonstrate how your business can solve a need.
The nice thing about facebook for Local businesses is the ability to target a group by geography and post to their wall using “Boost Post”. For example, let’s take a grocery store. A great post might be 5 recipes you can make in under 5 minutes. Or perhaps you have pre-made meals available… Using facebook, you could target people who live within a few minutes of your store with a headline of “Not sure what to make for Dinner tonight?”
If you really took your website seriously and had an online store, you could even have your online store ready with buy now packages that include all the ingredients. They order, you prepare it and have it ready for them. When they are driving home, they simply stop and pickup.
The more people engage with your facebook page, the stronger the social signals for search engines, and that means higher ranking.
You don’t need to be on all of them, but select a few that match the interests / personality of your customers and use them consistently.
- Have a home decorating business or arts & Crafts store… You need Pinterest.
- Have an auto repair business, you might be surprised how many people are tweeting about how frustrated they are that their car won’t start.
- Caveat… use it to interact with people and help them find answers to their burning questions… NO sales pitches. For example, search twitter for people in your area having car trouble and offer a tip or advice… But not a pitch to come see you. If you did your website correctly, you should have plenty of articles you can share… Like the 5 most common reasons a car won’t start on a cold day.
- Linkedin: If you’re in the B2B space, this is essential. But not just a personal profile, set up a company profile as well. and share content.
- Instagram: Do you have a product that is visually appealing ? A catering company, or event planner for example. Instagram can be a great way to share your latest creation and get some important social signals.
The key here is to find a few that you can realistically manage, and contribute to consistently. If that’s daily, great… But even a weekly contribution done regularly will help.
Directories & Quality backlinks
For several years, Digital Marketing experts have been telling you to stay away from the likes of Yellow pages etc. Well, it’s now come full circle. Places like Yellowpages.com are now easy ways to get valuable links back to your website from theirs. Google places a high level of importance on on how many people link back to you and who those people are. But be warned, stay away from those providers who sell you packages of links from “High PR sites”… They could actually do more harm than good. The best thing to do, is to set aside some time each day and work your list.
- Special interest groups that you sponsor
- The local chamber of commerce
- Nice sites that are on topic with your brand / products
- Local Bloggers
These are all great places you can talk to in order to get quality backlinks to your site. Don’t worry about how much value they have upfront, just focus on getting legitimate local citations and links and you’ll be off to a great start. Once you’re ready, hire a true professional agency to help take you to the next level.