Just a few years ago, if you told someone you “googled” them, they probably would have looked at you funny. It was just 14 years ago that Google became the largest search engine in the world. Over 1.2 TRILLION searches are done online yearly! Why is that important to your small business? It’s important because 97% of consumers start their research online before buying.
This means that you don’t have to wonder if that print ad, billboard, TV or radio commercial was seen by a potential customer. Because of the internet, customers are seeking you out – or at least items you sell. You can go from local to global! They are looking at your photos, reading your reviews and locating your business on maps. So by the time they reach your front door, they are at a much more advanced stage in the buying process.
Recently I was honored to attend a seminar called Get Your Business Online. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker (at left – Photo Credit: The Jackson Sun) welcomed the small business attendees in an effort by Google to encourage all businesses across the country to get online.
I have the opportunity to see a lot of our customers’ websites. Many customers still do not have one. Obtaining a website and an online presence no longer has to be expensive or difficult. Follow these tips and watch your business grow!
7 Steps to Getting Your Business Noticed by Google:
1. If you don’t have a website, get one today! A couple of easy website template builders you can use are StartLogic or WIX. They require no coding and are user-friendly. For more details on this and obtaining a domain name, see our previous blog 7 Reasons You Need a Website Now.
2. Sign up for Google My Business. You can create a website through StartLogic here as well. You will be set up on Google Maps and Google+ their social media platform. Always include your city and state on all website information including page titles so that you will be found locally.
3. Content is king. No one can guarantee you first-page organic search results on Google or any search engine. But you can control many results that appear for your business and keywords by having regular fresh content. You do this by keeping your website current. You can also do this by starting a blog and through social media marketing.
4. Get social – even if you’re not. Social media marketing is here to stay, and it is not just for teenagers. The search engines give high rankings for engagement on these sites. Make sure to spell out your business name fully when selecting a username so it comes up in the url for better search. These are all free to use, and are a wonderful way to build an online presence (make sure to cross link these from your website home page using social media icons):
- Facebook for Business – Remember Facebook is an advertising company. They now offer the option to “Boost” your posts so they can be seen by more people. This is pay-per-click advertising and may or may not be effective. I recommend testing to find out what works for you. Regardless, stay active on Facebook, even if you decide not to boost your posts.
- Pinterest for Business – A easy-to-use bookmarking tool that women especially are crazy about. It’s a fun way to show your business personality and showcase some of your best merchandise. Check out Nashville Wraps on Pinterest and read our blog Let Pictures Grow Your Business.
- Twitter for Business – Grow your business, 140 characters at a time.
- Instagram for Business – Pictures sell. I will say it again, pictures sell.
- YouTube for Business – Google owns YouTube – you get the picture. Create a short video about your business or a fun how-to, but make it good. Good video sells! Follow these easy instructions on creating a YouTube account for your business.
- Yelp for Business Owners – Encourage good customers to give you a great review! Read our blog Yelp Can Improve Your Online Reputation.
5. Give AdWords a try (cautiously). AdWords and AdWords Express are a quick way (like 15 minutes) to get your store to the top of the Google search results – but at a price. Pay-per-click marketing is a fine art. It is an auction and you bid on keywords related to your business against your competitors. You can make a lot of money on AdWords, but you can spend a lot as well. We recommend taking it slow and making sure you have a great website worth pointing people to – first start with your brand or store name. Learn more here.
6. Let Google Analytics give you the numbers. This free reporting tool helps you understand your customers and where they come from and where they are going on your site. These statistics will help you make better decisions with your online marketing.
7. Be Mobile Friendly! Smartphones and tablets are becoming a way of life for consumers. Test your website on a mobile device. Does it take more than 3 seconds to load? If so, over half of the people viewing it will abandon the site. Can you quickly find your business phone number and address at the top of the page? My favorite way to make your website mobile-friendly is a through DudaMobile. It’s easy and inexpensive.
All of us can easily be overwhelmed with the amount of work and upkeep it takes to stay ahead of the internet game. The worst thing you can do is build a website and forget it. My advice is to just do a little bit every day. Just add something fun and fresh to your website and social media sites on a consistent basis, and you will see positive results in your bottom line. Google will most definitely take notice!