Own Your Online Presence
They say the best things in life are free, and many marketing must-haves don’t cost a dime. They do take some effort but the payoff is worth it. Below is my short list of the most important steps businesses can take to help customers find them.
#1 Google My Business
Businesses with a physical location should be spending time shaping their online profiles and related ratings. In other words, they should claim or “own” these listings. Start by verifying your business with Google My Business. This is an important first step because this free tool helps customers who are searching for your products and services find you online. Google My Business lets you post updates to showcase what’s new, engage with your customers, respond to reviews and personalize your business with photos and information your customers may want to know. What’s more, having a Google My Business page will enhance search results and provide valuable insights about how customers are finding you! Read more about the benefits here.
#2 Online Directories
Once you have your Google My Business page verified, there are tools like Moz Local than can use that verification and information to share across hundreds of other online directories. Spend time enhancing your business profile on industry-related online directories like HealthGrades, Angie’s List and Houzz (depending on your industry) that have larger budgets and tend to show up at the top of most searches locally and nationally. These directories may be just as important if not more important than company websites for businesses that rely on customer traffic and reviews, such as restaurants, hotels, plumbers, doctors, hair salons, etc. Maintaining consistent, up-to-date information across these sites is important, as is encouraging happy customers to post great reviews, and responding to negative feedback promptly and professionally.
#3 Your Website
Next focus on your website. Developing content by answering questions your clients are asking and maintaining it can be time consuming, but may likely generate unlimited page views, providing residual benefits, making these efforts less costly in the long run.
Understand how your website ranks compared to your competitors. What are your SEO needs? Where does your website show up on search engines for keywords relating to your business or service? You can use free tools like seomoz and SEMRush. There you can find ways to improve your online presence, uncover content and link-building opportunities, optimize your local listings by assigning the right categories, and more. See how your website ranks compared to your competitors on spyfu.com. Spyfu shows some of the keywords your competitors are ranking for organically and what they are bidding on in paid campaigns. You can also see samples of their ads and suggestions for keywords, once you are ready to move in to paid search marketing.
#4 Social Media
Be sure to create company pages on social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest etc) and make sure your profiles are filled out with all of your company information. Engage with your customers by liking, commenting and sharing. Respond to their comments on your posts. Increase traffic to your pages by asking your network to like your page.
If you don’t have time to manage the free tools, there are experts who can do it for you at a reasonable cost. We are happy to provide a free online assessment and quote, so reach out today to get started.