5 Ways to Market Your Business on the Internet
For any small business, getting new customers is a constant struggle. Old fashioned word of mouth resulting from good service is a start, but it’s rarely enough to keep up with the competition. For that, it becomes necessary to branch out and use technology. Here are five tips for using the web to better market your company:
1. Utilize social media
This is an obvious choice, but one that’s easy to do poorly. If you want to make the best use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or other sites, you need to have a well-maintained presence that provides information that people in your network genuinely want to hear. No one likes spam, but people do like interesting or helpful information that can save them money. Advertise promotions, encourage discussions, and poll your customers, all through platforms you know how to use already.
2. Get your business on Groupon and LivingSocial
If you’re not already familiar with these excellent services, investigate them now. Both companies partner with local businesses to provide daily coupons to subscribers. As a business owner, you miss out on a chunk of cash (LivingSocial and Groupon both take a cut out of your already discounted rates), but the massive exposure is generally worth it. New customers are brought in by droves, and if they are impressed, will become regular full-paying clients. A good sale of coupons through these sites can make an immediate and lasting difference in your consumer base.
3. Advertise effectively
Internet advertisements, if done properly, can be cheap and efficient in generating new income. Research the best ways to do this thoroughly, or hire local talent to do it, but increase your presence online by paying for ads on sites that target similar audiences as you do. Better yet, take advantage of partnerships that can be made between your business and others that offer complimentary services, and place links recommending each other on both websites.
4. Google is your friend
People looking for your business are likely to use Google. If your company has a physical storefront, claim your Google Place in a big way. This free page will be obvious in a Google or Google Maps search and drastically improve your chances of people locating your information and coming to your door. If it’s just website clicks you’re after, come to the dark side of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This widely documented practice uses several simple tricks to boost your page ranking, meaning that your website will come up higher on Google and other engine searches.
5. Manage your reputation
Information on the internet is freely gained and given. Before trying out a product or visiting a business, many people will first turn to customer reviews on sites like Yelp!, Yahoo! Local, or MerchantCircle. Encourage your happy customers to leave online reviews to share the love. Never leave fake ones; in most cases these are quickly found and only hurt your standings.
In the hunt for web recognition, don’t forget the maxim “content is king.” The best way to get people interested in your business is to provide a quality product at a reasonable price, and your online identity should reflect that.