15 years ago, when you needed to find an electrician or plumber you searched the phone book or asked a friend for a referral. You rarely came across written reviews of a business, so finding a trusted source was probably your best bet.
Today, physical listings are almost obsolete thanks to the internet. Consumers rely on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other local search sites to find everything from restaurants, to grocery stores, home and business services and more.
So, with everyone and practically everything online now, the biggest question is how do people find YOU and YOUR BUSINESS? Especially amongst all of your competitors? How can you stand out and show up on the first page of the search results?
Here are just a few ways your customers can find you online…
Your priority is always to first be listed in the four major online directories. These are:
- Google- the most used search engine, Google offers the greatest free online exposure. Local search displays a map search of local businesses, so when you list everything correctly on your website, you automatically appear in the search results.
- Bing- This is the second most popular search engine in the U.S. that offers the same thing as Google.
- Yahoo! Local- This is another free listing with all the benefits of the others. If you choose to do a paid listing, you can add more photos, links and information to help you stand out.
- Yelp- This is a popular review site where people can read and leave reviews on your business. Customers can leave scores and it builds your online reputations. It’s important to be sure you’re listed there, but also to monitor your business online to resolve issues and become aware of what customers think of your products and/or services.
Social media accounts are an easy way to attract new customers and build your audience. It’s where many of your customers spend their time online for fun or to be entertained—exploring hobbies, networking, communicating with friends, or just watching viral videos. Social media has expanded and is more than just Facebook! Now people have different platforms to be entertained like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, SnapChat, and TikTok just to name a few. As daunting as that sounds you don’t have to be everywhere, just where your customers go to find you.
Social media marketing is all about meeting your target audience (or prospective customers) where they are and as they socially interact with each other and your brand.
Depending on your business and audience, we can help you determine which social media accounts your customers are active on. Regularly posting and using hashtags relevant to your business, industry and location are your best bets for getting located on social media. Learn more about how to use social media to effectively reach your audience here.
Google maps and Apple maps are the two most popular map services you should be listed on. Nearly 70 percent of iPhone users say Google maps is their favorite map app. However, 40 percent of Apples market share comes from the U.S. smartphone market, where 13 percent of iPhone owners use the Apple map app. However, don’t sleep on Waze the map app that’s owned by Facebook. Millions of people use map apps daily, so listing your business on both is a sure way for customers to find you.
Your website is where you connect with your customers, it’s your first impression for many potential new customers. It’s usually the first place they interact with you and your brand. It establishes credibility and provides a place for you to showcase your products and services.
Read our recent post to learn more about why a well-designed and developed website is important for your business.
Blogging helps you reach thousands of people online. It promotes your services and business and can attract your audience because you can provide something of value to them without asking for anything in return. For example, you can offer tips and tricks, helpful information, video tutorials, and more on your blog. Maintaining a blog builds rapport and engagement and gives you an outlet to write about important topics. They can help you prove to new potential customers you know what you are doing and can help them be successful in whatever you are writing about (you’re reading this blog aren’t you?!?!?). Blogs are the new business cards.
Everything we’ve mentioned up until this point is pretty much free (unless you’re paying for website design and development or hiring a team to help you with your content creation and social media management). So, where do you invest your marketing dollars to really make a difference and to help more people find you online? Paid online advertising! You have some options…
With pay-per-click advertising. 45% percent of small businesses use paid ads, so it’s not a channel you want to ignore.
Pay-per-click, PPC, is when you only pay for ads that people click on or interact with. PPC ads are common in search engine results pages like Google or Bing, but also on social channels like Facebook and Instagram.
Paid advertising helps you stand out in a competitive market and be seen by customers that may not know you even exist. Social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (especially for B2B companies) is a great way to get your message out there and engage new potential customers. Many people need to become familiar with a brand, sometimes requiring more than 7 touch points, before a purchase decision is made. Social media advertising is an easy, cost effective way to get the job done.
These are just a few ways to stay competitive in today’s market and to be SEEN by your current and potential customers online.
Our team at PSC can help you with one or all of these steps including content creation, social media management, website development, pay-per-click ad campaigns and more.
Contact us today for more information.