Top tips for promoting your business online
1. Get a Website
It is essential now for any business big or small to have website, your website should be simple functional, user-friendly and must provide information about your business, products and services.
Including a blog in your website design is highly recommended as long as you can update it regularly to keep it fresh and up to date as Google loves this!
No matter what type of business you’re in, a website is a great place to showcase your work. By including a portfolio or image gallery, as well as testimonials about your work, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique.
Lastly a website design package is available to both your regular and potential customers 24/7 providing them with the convenience of seeing your products and services when your business is closed.
2. Optimize your Website for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of modifying your website to push it as close as possible to the top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo! Search, and Microsoft Bing.
Once your website is built that alone is not enough to rank highly the next step is to ensure that your website is search engine friendly. Optimizing your website for relevant keywords is an important aspect of promoting your business online.
Most search engines show only 10 results per page. Most searchers tend to click on the top few results. If you rank at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), business is good, but if you are on the second or third page you might only get 1% of the search traffic that the top ranked sites get.
A Google My Business listing is now an absolute essential for local search. It’s free to set up, it’s one of the best things you can do to improve local SEO visibility.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page.
The following are important features:
• A long and unique description of your business
• Choose the right categories
• Key information on opening times
• Lots of imagery
• Regular updates
• A local phone number and business address
• Reviews from customers
The process of SEO can appear complex to someone who is not SEO-savvy or just doesn't have the time to spend learning it so it can be worth investing money in hiring an search engine optimisation (SEO) expert who can do this for you.
3. Get Social Media
Set your business profile on as many social media channels as you can for example Facebook, Twitter linked etc. Be sure to include a good description of your business, relevant keywords and a link to your website.
With social media playing such an important part today in helping businesses increase brand awareness you can't afford to not be on them.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables you to send and read text-based messages of up to 280 characters, known as "tweets".
Your tweets can include a link to any web content for example to a blog post or website page.
Twitter is a great tool for driving traffic to your website and blog. To do this, you create a tweet around a link, writing a message that gives people the option to click to learn more.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as interests and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, "re-pin" images to their own pinboards and "like" photos.
Creative ways to use pinterest for your business is to include a call to action, for example a pin that says “Use Pinterest to Promote Your Brand,” written in bold font on a nice background, with a button below saying “Click here for more information. This call to action can link to your website.
What is Facebook?
Facebook is an online social networking service. People who register can create a personal profile, add other users as friends, exchange messages and receive automatic notifications when they update their profile. It can be a good way of increasing brand awareness as you can setup a Facebook Page using your company name / logo and your Facebook Page can showcase your brand personality as people read through your Timeline messages.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations.
One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people who they have some level of relationship called Connections. Users can invite anyone to become a connection. Linkedin is great way of building up a network of business contacts.
4. Develop a Relationship with your Customers Through Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great cost effective way to spread the word about your business. Not only can you send targeted communications to prospective customers but you can also drive traffic to your website all for a low monthly cost.
Keep in mind that over half of your contacts check their email daily. Whatever newsletter you decide you want to go with, plan to send them regularly.
5. Use Online Advertising
To advertise online, you can use social media, Google or banner adverts on top-ranked websites. Facebook ads, one of the most popular for social media offers a great opportunity to reach the right demographics for your business.
Google AdWords is popular if you do not have a very good online presence on Google by displaying adverts (ads) on the Google search engine results pages.
The AdWords program enables businesses to set a budget, only pay when people click the ads and can give you an instant Top 10 position (depending on what you set your budget at). The ad service is largely focused on keywords.
What is the main advantages for me using Google Adwords?
• Quick - AdWords is the quickest way to generate traffic for your website.
• Control how much you spend - You can choose where your ad appears and set a budget you're comfortable with. For example if you set your budget at maximum of £10 a day then your ad will stop showing once it hits that cost.
• No minimum spending commitment. You can pause or stop anytime.
What is the main disadvantages for me using Google Adwords?
• Once you stop using Google Adwords or pause your campaign your ad will disappear completely from search engines.
• Cost - an advertising strategy on Google Adwords is a must and if you are not sure what you are doing, it can be better to pay a professional to set it up for you, a bad strategy can be very costly.
• You only have 70 characters to sell yourself - limited characters to sell your business on your advert.
6. Get Reviews
Purchase decisions are heavily influenced by customer reviews. It’s crucial to get as many positive reviews on review sites such as Google +, Facebook etc.
Online reviews are important for a number of reasons and have major implications through their ability to affect:
• Your rankings in local search engines
• Which search results actually gets clicked on
• Consumers purchasing decisions
What not to do
First, let’s talk about how not to go about getting positive reviews for your business on Google+, Yelp and any other review site. Never pay for reviews. Regardless of the temptation, creating fake reviews and paying a service for reviews can both backfire in big ways if a review site determines that the glowing reviews on your business are being posted to manipulate readers.
In these situations, Google+ basically states that fake reviews will be taken down, but doesn’t say much about what happens when businesses blatantly abuse the system.
How to Build Positive Reviews on Google+
You can get great reviews and stay within Google’s guidelines by sending happy clients an email that asks for a review with a link to your business’ Google+ Local profile.
Requests for reviews should be sent out immediately after a great business/customer experience so that the positive vibe is still fresh.
Once a positive review is posted, be sure to respond with a “Thank you” in the comments thread to show your appreciation for the customer’s extra effort.