According to Inc. more than half of small businesses don’t have websites.
“It’s just ridiculous,” says Jim Blasingame, small business author and radio show host. “Every small business needs a website. Period. Non-negotiable.”
Let’s say you belong to the visionaries, Jim would be proud of, what should be your next steps to feature in the digital landscape and generate leads? Because this is what we all ultimately want, right?
1. Google search results
The first question you should ask yourself is: Does my website feature on Google’s hot pages? Where is my website when typing in relevant keywords (remember hardly anybody is typing your business name into Google)?
If you’re looking to boost your website’s Google listing, you’ll want to do some keyword research first. Keyword research helps you to find out which keywords most of your potential customers are typing into Google. The Google Adwords tool suggests keywords for your industry and search volume for that keyword. It will also tell you how many competitors compete for the same keyword. Knowing this you can adjust the content and meta data of each and every page on your website.
Every small business needs a blog. Besides providing a way to engage with potential clients, it also brings more search traffic to your website.
There are tons of websites that remain unchanged each day. But, as a quality search engine, Google likes to feature content which is updated frequently. Google recognises websites with fresh new information by giving that content higher
placement when users search for related topics.
While the pages on your website feature in search results for certain keywords, blog posts give you the opportunity to be Google listed for completely different keywords. Let me give you an example. We offer online marketing support for small businesses – so we craft helpful blog posts about “10 things to consider when getting a website”, “best SEO tricks for small businesses” and “best social media platforms to promote your guest house” and so on.
Guess what is likely to happen when someone searches for “things to consider when getting a website”? You guessed it—if you’re blogging on a regular basis, let’s say every 1-2 weeks there’s a good chance that Google features your posts and consequently your website in search results.
3. Google maps and local search
For local businesses, a strong online marketing effort requires an investment in local directories and maps.
This basically means, at the very least you want to have a marker on Google maps, featuring a correct address. Like this Google Maps allows your company to pop up when people search for a service in their neighbourhood or places they’re planning to visit.
For those of you who didn’t know, Google owns Youtube. This alone should get you going to create a company video or basic helpful how to videos.
According to Animoto, 1 in 4 customers lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have a video on the website.
YouTube is free and there is affordable video animation software to get you started, Powtoon, Goanimate, Animoto to name a few.
5. Social Media
Now, why should small businesses have social media marketing in the mix? It’s time-consuming and you never got a single customer through your Facebook profile? Because of the way content spreads virally, even to people who are not directly following you. It’s important for lead generation, to get your brand name out there and for credibility.
Research shows when customers discover a business that they know very little about they often check recent updates on social media.
In fact, 63% of consumers who search for local businesses online are more likely to use businesses with a social media presence (Ballihoo).
Deciding, which social media networks will bring you clients depends entirely on your industry. For some small businesses, visuals are more important than for others. Small businesses in the tourism and interior design industry want to post anything from guests watching sunsets on the wooden deck of your guest house, to stylish loft living rooms, using the right hashtags of course. For those kinds of businesses, we are having very good results with Instagram and Pinterest.
Of course, the objective of social media marketing is to make money. Let’s say you are a local restaurant running a mother’s day special. With Facebook, you can get the message out there, by targeting specific groups, such as daughters in your area between the ages of 25 and 40.
After all, people spend more than 30% of their time on social channels where content can be shared, according to a study by AOL and Nielsen.
During our first meeting usually, right at the start (we haven’t even swapped names yet), small business owners tell us that they don’t need a website because they get all their business through word of mouth.
We fully agree word of mouth is important. So important in fact that
88% of customers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. 39% read reviews on a regular basis and only 12% do not read reviews (Search Engine Land). Everything has gone online these days, word of mouth is no exception. We hope you feel inspired to dive deeper into the possibilities of online marketing. If you need help with any of the above, please contact us. We specialise in online marketing for small businesses.