Running your own business has it’s own rewards and challenges especially in today’s internet focused market. There are so many ways to market your business online that it can seem overwhelming at first. How are your customers going to find you and what low cost channels can you focus on to get yourself started? We’ve listed off the top 3 things all businesses need to start building an online presence:
1. Online Directories & Citations
Google, Yelp, and Yellowpages are just a few of the hundreds of different business directory listings (citations) that exist online. More often than not, there might be listings that already exist for your business. This is because data aggregators share information to online directories about new and existing business which populates new citations. Sometimes the information about your business is correct and sometimes it can be way off. Verifying your business on these sites improve your online presence and help customers who are searching for your business online to get correct information about your business such as: phone number, address, website, hours of operation, etc. This also gives you control to manage what information is shared to people searching for your business online. To create and verify these online listings is normally free but sometimes industry specific directories ask for a small fee to be listed.
Setting up a website for your business is definitely a requirement with today’s internet focused market. It is the digital version of your storefront or digital face of your company and one of the best things you can have to build an online presence. You want it to represent your brand, have information about your products or services, and list your contact information (at the minimum). Not surprisingly, “81% of [consumers] research online before making big purchases” and Google alone receives over 100 billion searches per month. There are a number of resources you can use to get a website built for your business such as: WordPress, Squarespace, Get Your Business Online via Google for Business, and many more. As of last year, more than half of small businesses still don’t have a website for their business.
3. Social Media Sites
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest; social media is an integral part of a business, the news, and even our daily lives (for many of us) and it doesn’t seem like it going away anytime soon. 95% of Millennials expect brands to have a Facebook presence. Also, 87% of Gen X’ers (30- to 44-year-olds) and even 70% of those ages 45 to 60 think brands should, at the very least, have a Facebook page (source). If you’re new to social media, it can be overwhelming at first. Do you try to post to all of them or just a few? Where can you get the most engagement and build the best audience? Our suggestion is to start with Facebook, since Facebook has over 1 Billion active users, it is definitely the biggest social network and allows you to include a lot of important business information. Facebook is now considered to be a top local citation and it also allows users to leave reviews and ratings on the business page.
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