We live in a digital world, but is your business online too? Chances are, you’re only skimming the surface of online possibilities. Here is your guide to all the major websites your small business needs to be on to get more fans and customers!
Just so we’re all on the same page, all businesses need to have their social media bases covered. Make sure you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIN, FourSquare, and even Instagram! The fans you curate here will be highly engaged, which is the most valuable kind of audience you could hope for! If you have a storefront, make sure you’re using Pinterest’s new location pins and boards!! In today’s digital world, a Google + profile is absolutely essential, as Google’s search is used by most web browsers, and these days 83% of all internet users use search.
Best Practices: These sites are great for customer service interactions AND advertising sales! Consider your YouTube account your own personal advertising channel- get creative and share your personal story. If you have expertise, this is great place to share weekly advice and best practices of your own!
For Facebook, keep an eye on your ability to promote to “people nearby”. Google Places allows businesses to register themselves with Google, at which point they will be listed on Google Maps, as well as show up in Google’s search results with extended information and data available at a glance.Garmin, the GSP maker, has recently integrated with FourSquare, so this site is a must for hospitality or tourism businesses.Across all your platforms, encourage your customers to check-in, like, follow, and Plus One your business
These sites include ones specific to food or travel (like Seamless or Oyster.com) but also general sites that every business should use: Yelp and Tripadvisor. These two internet strongholds are used by a wide variety of businesses and get TONS of traffic! CitySearch.com is another veteran review website, but it still commands a great deal of daily web traffic, so it’s well worth your time. Don’t forget about Yahoo! Local listings, Bing Places, and MerchantCircle! I would personally recommend using Moz Local to manage your presence across many of the platforms- all at once!
Best Practices: We cover mastering the marketing art of Yelp in this blog post. Overall, create and fill out a detailed profile for these sites. Upload a wide variety of photos, and encourage your customers to leave you a good review. For sites like Tripadvisor, go to their Get Listed section and fill out all the necessary fields.
Today’s web users look for reviews for nearly every type of business, so make sure you’re not losing out to your local competition!
If you sell goods, why not embrace the most popular online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon? Create a profile and upload pictures of your wares. These online selling sites are not just for clothes and tableware- many businesses have experience dramatic growth just by cashing in on the convenience of online shopping including car part dealers, florists, and even photography!
Best Practices: Invest in a nice product photo backdrop to make your product listings look sleek and professional.
Information & News Sites
Content marketing is the new name of the name, trust me, I’m a marketer! One of the most effective ways to expand your digital storefront (and reach a larger digital audience) is to make your business newsworthy or establish yourself as an expert. Reach out to your local reporter to pitch them on your unique story or latest business development. Go through some of your recent business stats, those insights into the local economy or buying preferences (red always outsells blue, 10:1? Wow!) are quite interesting to read about! News mentions, even local news, will increase your Google search ranking too!
Best Practices: Befriend your local Features or Lifestyle reporter, or even the Business beat guy! Brainstorm on a monthly basis possible articles that could be written about your business, your expertise, or interesting data you’ve collected. You can even email them stories you’ve written yourself, as a guest contribution or even as a Letter to the Editor! just make sure the digital editions of the story include a link back to your website!
Well, hopefully now you have your work cut out for you! Improve your sales, increase your customers, and grow your business by harnessing the power of the web!