Marketing has always served as the baseline for connecting buyers with sellers. Today, the most effective form of marketing is online marketing. This means learning how to get found online. In order to be competitive, you must have a website and ensure that your website is found by your prospective buyers. This is essential even for local brick-and-mortar businesses. To attract targeted buyers who are searching for your services and products, it is important to focus on the following steps.
A business website is a necessity for any business trying to be found online. Regardless of the type of business in which you are involved, you need a business website. Without a website that is professional, search engine optimized, and easy to navigate, all other online marketing efforts will be in vain. Therefore, your first step is to develop a website. Even a basic website can be a good starting point for your online marketing efforts. At a minimum, your website should include a home page, a page about you or your business, a products/services page, a contact page, and a blog.
Local Search Listings
Local search listings have become increasingly important in most search engine algorithms. In fact, such listings are typically the first to appear in search engine results. Most of your prospective target buyers will stop searching on the first page of those results. If your website does not appear on that all-important first page, it is the same as not having a website. In order to get found online, your website must appear in local search listings, such as Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Google Places/Maps.
Do not underestimate the power of social media when it comes to ensuring your website can be found. Social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube, wield a tremendous amount of power in terms of search engine results. Regardless of the industry or niche in which you are involved, you can rest assure that your target consumers are using social media tools professionally and personally. If your business does not have a presence on social media, you are likely losing business. The key to succeeding with social media is to focus on quality rather than quantity.
One of the most common mistakes that many businesses make when trying to get found online is setting up a profile on every available social media network. Unfortunately, once they have set up a profile on those networks, most people never make use of them. The best way to succeed with social media is to choose the social media networks where your target audience spends the most time and then use those networks consistently. Take the time to establish a publishing schedule and stick to it. It is much better to publish content on your chosen social media network once a day consistently than to tweet or post several times in one day and then not publish anything else for a week or more. Remember to keep the content you publish on social media relevant and interesting. Additionally, remember that social media should be a two-way street. Rather than simply broadcasting your content, interact with your followers.
An increasing number of consumers are researching businesses online prior to making a purchase. As a result, it is vital that your business be listed on review sites and in local business directories. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to help your site get found. Make sure you claim all of your listings and ensure that all information is correct, including your contact information, social media accounts, and any prospective keywords your target audience might use to search for your products and services. Among the most popular review sites and local business directories are Yelp, Kudzu, and Merchant Circle. While it is virtually inevitable that you will receive a negative review, the best course of action is to be proactive and address the complaint while doing whatever is necessary to satisfy the customer.