Maybe you’ve taken the plunge and started your small business, putting your time and resources into ensuring your business becomes a success, but now you are stalling and need your business needs a boost. Or perhaps your business has been going well for years, but you feel it could benefit by reaching out to new customers and having a stronger online profile? Whatever stage you and your business are in, having a consistent online presence will definitely help you to secure new customers, raise your profile and spread the word. Below are some simple and affordable ways to help make sure that you stay ahead of the competition and ensure your business gets noticed online.
Always respond to customer feedback
It may seem obvious, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. If you are a small business owner, it is vital to ensure all your staff is polite and prompt in dealing with customers, helping to clear up any issues immediately. It will make sure that people remember and recommend your business. It truly does pay to be personal and give tailored care when you are a small business, and by making each customer feel valued, you are helping to secure their loyalty to your business. If a customer posts a less-than-happy review publicly then always respond courteously and quickly, attempting to resolve it in a way that will satisfy the customer. In the rare cases that a problem cannot be fixed in a way that pleases the customer, remain polite and offer a refund. Any lost revenue here will hopefully pay off by raising your reputation as a company that puts people first and potential customers being able to see how well you deal with issues.
Purchase a relevant domain name
The name of your website will help new customers to find you so you should ensure it is relevant and obvious. If you offer a pool cleaning service, having a website named wet-towel.com may be too obscure to attract people searching online.
Befriend Bloggers and Vloggers
The world of blogging and vlogging (video blogging) could seem alien to you initially, but it is worth doing your research and learning who is influential as engaging those bloggers and vloggers with high numbers of followers can translate into high sales for you or increased traffic to your website. Why not give away some free samples in exchange for honest reviews of your product. Don’t forget that word-of-mouth is an extremely effective marketing tool, and top bloggers have a ready-made audience at their fingertips.
Use social media
Becoming confident using social media will benefit your business profile, no matter what your brand or product is. Make sure you have a profile on social media platforms, for example on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, so that you can reach new audiences. Instagram is particularly relevant if your business has a visual element, for example, you sell clothes or lifestyle products. Update your profiles regularly with relevant and shareable content. Remember, it is better to post pictures or videos on Facebook as text-only posts often don’t make it into as many news feeds as those with visual content. Utilizing social media is a type of inbound marketing, which uses creative content to attract customers to your site, this blog provides further detail on how vital creating compelling inbound marketing content can be. If you don’t have time to focus on social media as a marketing avenue then consider outsourcing it to a freelance communications expert or firm, who can tailor all content to your voice, making sure it all fits within your brand. Beware of bombarding people with posts that constantly sell your business, as this is bound to lose you followers. Instead, cultivate your online social media presence, make posts funny and engage in discussions so that people become aware of who you are. Also take time to follow and comment (always remaining polite and professional) on other profiles in the same arena as your business, or relevant news stories or local events. It will help you reach new customer bases and add your voice to online conversations. Plus, it never hurts to check out the competition.
Google AdWords can be an effective way to extend the reach of your business online. It is a paid advertising route, but one that can provide a good return for your business as your advert will be seen by customers as they search for the product or services your business offers. Paying for a Facebook Advert can be another good way to raise your profile, and is relatively low-cost as it can be tailored to any budget. Two billion people worldwide use Facebook every month, so there is a huge potential audience to engage with through the site, and you can target your advert specifically to the demographic you want to attract.
Build your own website
There are many different website hosting services that allow you to tailor-make your own website, for example, WordPress, Squarespace, or Weebly, amongst many others, offer a wide variety of user-friendly templates that are easy to manage. Simple backends are vital if you are new to website development, and opting for an affordable site does not mean that you will end up with a complex backend full of indecipherable coding. Instead, easy backend navigation, designed for small business owners and bloggers who don’t have an IT team by their side, means that you won’t need to be an expert to update your content regularly and keep your site fresh. Share your Url as much as possible, but again, remember not to overload people with sales pitches but instead engage in online discussions and relevant forums.
Create shareable content
Creating shareable online content will help to get your name out there. Search engine optimization (SEO), whereby you affect the visibility of your brand on free search engine results, is worth understanding if you want to generate more traffic to your site and increase your search engine rankings. Linking to other relevant and high-quality sites can help increase your ranking. Also be sure to regularly update the content on your site so that there is always something new for people to see if they are returning customers.