How To Promote A Small Business Online
Owning a small business requires that you use every opportunity to maintain a steady stream of new and returning customers. In order to accomplish this goal more effectively, using the Internet to promote your small business can have amazing results! Many small business owners have went from “rags to riches”, simply by using the power of Internet promotion to their advantage. In this article, we're going to be taking a look at the various ways you can promote your small business online. Not just promote it, but use ways of promoting your site that actually get results! Let's dig right in!
Method 1: Local Listing On Google Maps
According to a recent study, 97% of Internet users search for local business results. You don't want to miss out on all that local business traffic, so you're probably wondering how to get your small business listed in Google Maps, right? First off, you need to sign up for a Gmail account. Then, go to Google Places and sign in with your Gmail ID. You're now free to create your local business listing, but it won't be active immediately. You'll have to wait for the official validation letter from Google. This can take a few weeks to arrive, and it comes with an activation PIN number. After following the instructions in the letter and confirming, you're all set!
The next step in the local listing on Google Maps process is to “Claim” it so you can improve the listing. So search for your local business listing through the Google search engine and click it (it will be in the left side panel). A pop-up profile will then appear. Underneath the “More” button, then click Edit details.
Now you're ready to officially claim the listing. So, under the Is This Your Business?, click “Manage Your Page”. Now you'll be presented with three options, one of which is Edit my business information. Select this option, and you'll be able to fill out all the necessary fields to provide your customers with lots of information about your business. Also, adding categories that your site fits into is important too.
And that's it! Now you'll have an official listing on Google Maps and your site should come up in local search queries. Alternatively, you can also choose to confirm your address through your cell phone instead of through the mail to save time.
Method 2: Listing On Search Sites Other Than Google
Google is the #1 search engine in the world, but many people make the mistake of having a “Google or Bust” mentality. The Internet has much more to offer in terms of search results than just Google alone. There are other big sites like Yelp, Euroseek, Yahoo!, Craigslist, Lycos, and many more that really pay off if you submit your small business to them. Let's look at a few of the “major players” to give you a better idea of what's possible.
Similar to Google Maps, Yelp also has a local business listing structure that you don't want to miss out on. First off, follow the instructions to list and then “claim” your business on Yelp. Adding photos of your small business helps, as does using keyword optimization techniques to ensure the site shows up in searches. Also, to gain reviews of your business, you should do everything you can to promote your Yelp link wherever you can. Put your Yelp link in your email signature, into websites, into flyers and business cards, and more.
You really want natural backlinks pointing to your Yelp page so it gains popularity and authority, so be sure to establish these links with other webmasters.
More than ever, people are submitting their ads to Craigslist for small business listing power. Craigslist has been around since 1995, and since then it has been featured in the news and across many publications as “the place to be” for local classified online listings. Craigslist can work to promote your business by giving you a local small business listing, and people are very likely to find your site through Craigslist. People sell things there, as well as promote their businesses. Adding your listing to Craigslist is just one more way you can work to promote your small business online.
Euroseek is a popular web directory, and there are many such web directories you can submit your site to. Web directories aren't exactly like search engines, and they're a lot smaller than Google as far as visitors are concerned. Web directories like Euroseek can get you in front of new potential customers and help you spread your wings to reach new people.
Method 3: Create A Small Business Website With WordPress
WordPress can be one of your best allies in the effort to get your small business seen by a large online audience. WordPress is both easy and free to use, and is free and open source software that is in a state of continual development. You can use themes, plug-ins, set it up for multiple users and logins, and more. It's won numerous awards for its design and functionality, and the best part is that you can use it as part of promoting your small business for free!
After learning how to use wordpress effectively, you can then launch your website. SEO optimizing your site with keywords and/or hiring a SEO team to increase your search engine rankings would be beneficial. And remember: Without an online website presence, you're really going to miss out on a lot of exposure, so get your site up and running and make it the best it can be!
Method 4: Advertise Your Small Business Using Google Adwords
The Google Adwords program has proved time and time again that it's valuable to small business. If your small business needs a popularity boost, is just getting started, or is new to the whole Internet scene, then Google Adwords would be a very wise investment. With Google Adwords, your small business advertisement will be seen on the front page of the Google listings, no matter what! This is an incredible opportunity for a small business to get the online exposure they need to make their business succeed.
The Adwords program is Google's main source of revenue, and they offer multiple advertising packages for businesses looking for an edge over the competition. The Adwords platform is also very intelligent, allowing you the ability to see demographics of what works and what doesn't as far as your advertising campaign is concerned. It's a faster than SEO and often times more profitable to spend a little bit on Adwords advertising to reap the huge rewards. Sure, organic traffic is important, but so is the guarantee that you'll be listed on the front page, all the way at the top of the page.
With Adwords, people see your small business FIRST, at the very top, guaranteed!
Method 5: Social Media Promotion
Social media sites like Facebook, GooglePlus, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more can have a major impact on the livelihood of any small business, but you have to learn how to effectively launch an advertising campaign using social media sites.
First off, you should know what your customers really want, and structure your social media pages around that. Once you know how to please your small business audience, you'll be able to deliver them what they really want. Think coupons, discounts, and other free promotions.
Secondly, in order to keep a regular influx of people coming to your social media pages, you're going to have to be active in participating. This means updating the social media pages regularly with new offers and promos so that potential customers have a reason to keep coming back.
Thirdly, trust is a very important part of small business relations. Getting new customers to trust you means that you'll have to go the extra mile to “reach out” to the new people that want to try out the product or service you're offering. This means directly interacting with your small business social media fanbase and letting them know you're all about making sure you satisfy them with what you have to offer.
Also, be sure to proofread what you post before you post it to ensure it's error free. There's nothing more unprofessional than seeing a small business post messages with a load of typos and other errors. A mailing list option for social media fans to subscribe to can help you build a list you can send promotional material out to.