Some companies are charging outrageous amount of money to do the things that I’m going to suggest for these small business owners, but actually they can do these things themselves or get their own teenagers to do these simple things. I bet if you gave your teenager $20 to perform this work, I think that you would be amazed at how well they could get these tasks done.
There are 10 things that all small business owners need to do online to promote their business and increase the number of new customers showing up at their business to buy their products and services. Most of these things won’t cost you anything and those that do cost something, is for the most part, a minimal fee.
I’ve provide a video below this article that will provide more details, but following is a summary of those 10 items, a brief description, and I’ve provided links to the sites that I am suggesting so that you can get complete details. OK then, so here we go with the 10 Things A Small Business In Columbia SC Should Do Online:
1. Google Local – Every business, no matter if they are small medium, or large sized has a business listing on Google Local…the business owner does not place that listing there, Google just picks it up. For example, type into the Google search window “Chinese Restaurants” and hit “Search”…what does Google return to you? That’s right, Google returns to you a map of your local area with a listing of all of the Chinese Restaurants in that area.
If you are a small business owner, you need to claim your listing by going to http://www.google.com/local/add. Check the information that is already there and fill out any missing information such as your website’s URL, phone #, and etc. You will be surprised at how many new customers you can pick up if the information for your business is correct on Google Local.
2. Facebook – Many people think of Facebook as a social media site, which it is. But, now that there are over 500 Million users of Facebook, your business needs to connect to it…many of your potential customers are using Facebook. Go to http://www.facebook.com and create a Facebook page for your business name and start communicating with these potential customers…the more you communicate with them the more likely they are to buy your products and services!
3. Blog – This is another fantastic way to communicate with potential customers…it can be described as an online diary. Blog about anything going on in your business…changes in working hours, new products you’ve added, the softball team that you help to sponsor. Communicate…communicate…communicate…you can’t say too much.
You can create a free blog at http://www.blogger.com. Google loves Blogger.com because it owns it. Update your blog 2-3 times per week.
4. Twitter – Create a Twitter account in your business name at http://www.Twitter.com. Yes, it’s another social media site, but with 50 million tweets made every day, you just can’t make too many tweets. People like to use Twitter because it makes them feel involved, so the more that you Tweet, the more likely you are to survive this bad market.
5. YouTube – YouTube is the second largest search engine on this planet…it ranks second to Google. Nearly 25% of all searches on search engines go through YouTube. Videos are wildly popular.
It’s easy to make videos of your business and you don’t even need a camera. Go to http://www.animoto.com and you can make free videos where all you have to do is insert photos, add text, and select some background music.
After creating these videos, upload them to http://www.youtube.com …of course you will have to open a free account their first. But, once you do that, your video of your business is available for search engines to find…and, that can bring you more business.
6. Google PPC – Pay-per-click advertising on Google is not free and it will cost you some money. But many businesses claim that pay-per-click advertising is their best source of leads and traffic.
Exactly what is PPC adverising? Google’s search engine (as well as almost all of the search engines) allow businesses to place small adds on their search engine. These adds appear at the top of their pages and along the right hand side of the page. These ads vary depending on the keywords that the searcher has entered into the search window. These ads only cost the advertiser money when someone clicks on their particular ad.
Pay-per-click advertising is definitely something small businesses should investigate. If you’re interested, go to http://www.google.com/adwords to sign up for a free account. Be sure to watch all of the training videos before you get started with an advertising campaign.
7. Facebook PPC – Similar to Google’s pay-per-click advertising, Facebook also allows advertising on their Facebook pages. What’s significant about advertising on Facebook, however, is the degree to which you can target particular customers. For example, if you own a bridal gown business, on Facebook you can target females only, between the ages of 20-40, who are engaged, and live in a particular city…Facebook provides very targeted advertising.
Check out http://www.facebook.com/advertising if you’re interested.
8. Google Reader – This free tool will help small business owners to stay super informed on the business that they are in. This tool relies upon RSS feeds that most websites provide and when anything new has been released on the internet about a particular subject, this tool will alert you to that news.
For example, once again, if you are the owner of a bridal gown business and if you’ve signed up for Google Reader and have specified that you want all of the new information that is released on bridal gowns, you will be one of the first to know what bridal gown Kate Middleton will wear in her royal wedding. This information will help you stay on top of your business.
You will find Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader
9. Google Alerts – Similar to Google Reader, just slightly different, if you enter a term into http://www.google.com/alerts, Google will “email you the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc) based on your choice of query or topic”. It’s another great way to stay on top of the information going on in your industry or perhaps even a competitor.
10. Mail List – This is vital! If you have a website for your business, you need to be trying to collect the email addresses from those visitors to your website. Yes, they have to be willing to provide you their email addresses, but that’s not hard to do if you ask them for it and offer them to keep them updated on your business and website. Another way to get their email address is to offer them something for free, such as a bridal gown catalog, for submitting their email address.
Once you obtain these email addresses, you need to keep corresponding with these addresses to build a long lasting and trusting relationship. To do this, a lot of businesses will use pre-written messages that will be sent to your collection of email addresses over a fixed period of time. They use an autoresponder system like http://www.aweber.com to do that. The system is simple to use and costs about $19/month.
Repeated communications to a potential customer usually leads to a relationship with that person. When you have done that, you’re likely to have a potential customer that will buy from you in the near future or recommend your business to their family and friends.
Now that I’ve briefly described the “10 Things A Small Business Should Do Online”, I urge you to watch the video below. It will provide you greater detail on these “10 Things” and help you and your business be more successful.
If you are a local small business owner, I am sure that the information that I’ve posted here on the Marketing Columbia SC website will help you. Use this information to help you improve your marketing efforts and gain new customers. Until next time…