Once you have your business up and running you might be thinking, ‘how do I get my business noticed?’ As with anything in the modern day, the internet is the first place people start. So you need to be where people are looking. Especially since the yellow pages are going to stop printing their paper directories in January 2019.
Google My Business
The most used search engine is the mighty Google. Need to find a hairdressers? Turn to google and ‘ask’ “hairdressers near me” (or something similar). You’ve more than likely done it yourself. The results bring back websites and a list on a google map. This list is collated from a business listing by google called, Google My Business. It is created by users inputting details about their business to get noticed.
To add your business to Google My Business you need a Google account and to go to www.google.co.uk/intl/en/business. From here press the start now button in the top right and away you go. Put in details about your business to get it noticed when others search. You can add opening hours, location, contact numbers and a link to your website. You can also start receiving reviews which will only get your business better recognition through a local google search (if they’re positive reviews of course).
Bing offer a similar service too. This can be found here www.bingplaces.com. You may not use Bing, or ever have but people do, especially those who have windows products. So, being on as many directories as possible only helps.
If you’ve ever searched for “*business* near *your location*” before, you’ll have noticed the top ranking website is usually Yell.com (that’s not including the top results that say ad. These are websites that have paid to appear here). Yell.com is the online version of the Yellow Pages. So it is seen as trusted and it ranks highly on google so will get lots of traffic (people visiting). It is also free to appear on, so, get your business signed up! Just like Google My Business, it will help get your business noticed online.
The more trusted directories you have your business signed up to, the more chances the business will pop up in an internet search. That means, more visits to your website/social media or phone calls to your business.
Social Media dominates daily life, it’s either on the news or in our hands and you can bet your bottom dollar nearly every single successful business is on social media now. As small businesses are concerned, 24% don’t have a social media presence. That’s just under 1 in 4 small businesses with no social media presence in 2017. And even those that have a social media presence, less than half aren’t active. (Source: clutch)
So why does it matter?
Well, if you don’t have a social media account, or have one and don’t use it, that’s allowing your competitors to communicate and forge relationships with your existing or potential customers/clients. Or simply, limiting the chance of your business getting noticed.
Facebook is the most popular for small businesses. It is quite business friendly too, allowing businesses the ability to set up a dedicated page. From this page you have many features to promote products, send traffic to your website and many others. If your business sells a product(s) and so does your website, these can work well together. Facebook Business pages are even more useful to work as an e-commerce outlet. Not only is it good for selling and marketing, but there is also a messenger feature. This allows people to talk directly to you about any queries or complaints.
Twitter also is a great place to get recognition. If it’s tweeting, engaging with potential customers or dealing with complaints – twitter allows for your business to get noticed.
For businesses that sell a product, or a service such as a hairdresser or painter decorator, Instagram or Pinterest may be better than twitter (or work well alongside). Taking pictures of your work and posting it on these social media platforms will allow people to discover what you sell. If you take a good photo of your amazing work it’s free advertising! Take a look at the leaders in your field on how they use these social platforms to market their business. It will give you inspiration and a starting point on how to get started, then you can add your own personality and brand identity. After all, people still buy from people.
Have you set up your website yet? Or are you thinking about it? Or maybe you just thought, ‘My business doesn’t need one’.
You might sell a service and think there isn’t much point in having a website. After all your customers might not be able to buy your service online.
But a website is there for much more than just selling to customers. Yes, converting sales through your website is the ultimate goal, but there are other perks of having a website. Here you host details about your opening times, how to get in contact and resources.
Why should people buy from you? Yes the product/service you sell might be of high quality at a good price, but with the abundance of people selling the same as you at similar prices, you have to stand out. Unless you’re lucky enough to sell a unique service of product that no one else can offer, you need to get across your USP, your brand voice and expertise. This is how people will buy from you using your website. Your USP will interest people, your expertise will reassure customers that you know what you’re on about and you brand voice is how people will relate to your business.
Resources and Brand Voice
Having a section for people to download resources or read blog posts will bring traffic to your website. It will show your expertise in your chosen field and whilst people are on your website, they might just buy something else, or grow your relationship to stay with your service. If you have a clothes shop, having a blog of the latest trends will interest your customers. They buy from you they already, so like your style, so your blog will give inspiration to them. If you have a service, creating news, tips and ebooks about your field to help clients will do the same.
Your brand voice helps a lot too. If you follow a brand on social media, think why? Brands post with a certain ‘voice’. This makes the brand sound ‘more human’. Like we said before, people buy from people. If a brand just sent out content about how great they are and how good their products are, no one would care. But having a voice that represents your brand makes people relate, and feel connected, thus wanting to follow your social media or look back at your website. Then with your products woven into your social media accounts or website people are more likely to look, giving more leads and potential sales.
A great example of brand voice and resources is Paddy Power. Paddy Power’s social media is written like a friend in the pub. They use humour about sporting news and current events to appeal to their target audience. Their web content contains blog posts about tips and insights on sporting events. These are all features that work together to speak to their audience, forming a relationship and aiming towards more business.
A Little More Advanced
A way to get your business noticed is through posting on your website. We’ve already discussed that. But here is the more advanced part. You have thought of a great blog idea that you think will interest your audience. Maybe your audience is people starting up a business or in the early stages of business – you think of a post of how to help market themselves online (sounds familiar right?). The next step is writing it. But for it to be friendly on the internet to those search engines we mentioned earlier you need to have at least a basic understanding of SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In short, the better SEO rating all the content on your website has, the higher it rates on web searches.
7 Basic SEO Tips
Creating a post on your website with a good SEO rating, will allow for your website to rank better, and (the ultimate goal) the individual piece of content to appear in a Google or Bing search.
So here is a quick round up of 7 things to keep in mind to try get a good SEO rating.
- Link back to yourself – in your post, put in links to other areas of your website (make sure it’s relevant though, not just to help your reader but also to rate better).
- Clear URLs. If you are a clothes shop and posting a blog post about winter fashion it would be best to have a URL of www.clothesshop.co.uk/top-winter-fashion-2017 rather than www.clothesshop.co.uk/post/2341.
- If you post an image to your post, add an ALT description. This is a keyword(s) of that image and just helps for searches.
- Keep it fresh. If you keep your content coming you’re updating your website with new content, that lets search engines know your website is relevant and help rank higher.
- Share it everywhere. It might sound simple but post links to your new and evergreen (always/for the foreseeable future, relevant, content) on social media. This will allow for more people to see the content by following the links. More link clicks and visits also boosts that ranking.
- Links on other sites. If you content is great, it might get linked on other sites. If not you can always for relationships with other sites to link each other. Then you get more traffic from somewhere else.
- Use a keyword. If you select a key work which your post is mostly about. Then keep using it in your post – You’ll get a better SEO rating. So when someone searches that keyword, your post contains it (hopefully ranking higher).
SEO can be complicated and not a 100% formula. There are experts out there who you can use to help optimise your content to get a better SEO rating.
For all your digital marketing needs to get your business noticed, you can of course outsource it to a marketing agency or hire someone to do it in-house. But cash flow for small businesses and start-ups can be tight. So learning yourself and doing it yourself might be the more cost effective way. You can learn a lot from the Google Digital Garage. These are free lessons online that you can do in your own time to learn different areas of digital marketing to help your business. There are also physical pop up shops in different areas if you wish to meet a Google Garage employee face to face for help.
There is a SEO lesson here by the Google Garage that might be useful to look at now.
Marketing is pointless without market research. If you don’t know your target audience etc your content might not be relevant. Why not have a look at our Market Research Blog Post now you’re brimming with ideas (or maybe you’re not).