6 Ways to Take Your Marketing Online
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
So you own a small boutique in a small town. Or you’re a doctor. Or you run a produce shop. You think marketing online is for people who have customers nationwide. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
Early on, the promise of the Internet as the great equalizer went largely unfulfilled for the numerous small businesses with local customers. In 2007, with localization and geocoding, those same small businesses can maintain a very effective, yet targeted web presence; enhancing their local presence and not wasting money on attempting to extend themselves into a position they cannot support.
More people are throwing out their hefty phone books in favor of using the internet to find local businesses. I, for one, won’t even consider a local business if they don’t have some kind of web presence. Why? I want to:
a) See what they offer before driving to the business (try before you buy). I’m a big menu reader online! b) Determine whether they deem it worthwhile to develop a decent professional presence on the web. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but having a website goes a long way toward making me feel the business understands the value.
If I, for instance, need to find a car collision repair shop in Orlando near where my car was rear-ended last week (true story), I type “car repair Orlando” in a Google search. I find one where I want it, and call. It may not be true, but if the business has a website, I feel they’re less likely to be a “fly-by-night” operation. It’s all image.
If I searched in the phone book, it would take me five times as long to find a place. That’s how people are wired today. Many of us have found it faster to search for local businesses online.
With that in mind, why AREN’T you online?!! You miss out on valuable business by not having a website and being listed with local search sites, and for the amount of money it costs to do this (try $0), you have no excuse!
Here are a few must-haves to get up and running in marketing your business online.
1. Website. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. You need a website. It should consist of at least 3 pages, including an overview of what you do, where you’re located, and a list of services. If you want to include testimonials or client info, do it. Hire a professional, because a cheaply designed website is an automatic turnoff.
2. Register with search engines. Sites like Google and Yahoo! don’t automatically know to find your site, so help them out. Both of these sites (as well as MSN, Alta Vista and many, many more) have a page where you can register your site. This means it will appear in a search for specific keywords the search engine finds on your site. There are even free services that register your website with multiple search engines.
3. Check your keywords. If you sell dog treats, make sure your website says so. Because search engines (which are robots, not people) search your site to get an idea of what you do, make sure you use keywords that people would search for to find you. In this case, include dog treats, doggie bakery, pet food, and dog bone.
4. Go Local. Yahoo! and Google have local business services (free) that allow you to post your company info and address so that it appears on a map for searchers. Because these sites are ranked so highly, if someone searches for “dog treats” in your area, this will be one of the top results, getting you even more eyeballs on your webpage!
5. Google AdWords. This is optional, but in the vast world of cyberspace, it’s easy to get lost in the mix without a little advertising. You can create text ads that will appear when someone searches for one of your specified keywords (“dog treats”). You are charged per click. It’s a great way to get exposure to your business, and usually it’s affordable.
6. Pump your site. Put your website address in your email signature. Put it on your business card and business collateral. Encourage customers to visit and share the site with others.
As you can see, marketing online is a breeze! Try these tips and see if your business doesn’t start to escalate!