Most businesses need to improve online presence. Simply having a business website is not enough to attract new customers. Your website is just the tip of the iceberg for an effective online marketing strategy. There are a number of things you can do to improve your online presence that will help drive potential customers to your website.
If you have a physical space for your business, or if you cover a service area where you go to a customer’s place of business, it’s absolutely critical that you have a Google My Business page. This is what’s going to show up on the Google Map result. Then the Google Map will be triggered when somebody types in a product, service, or solution, followed by a location.
Just having a Google My Business page is not enough. It’s important to optimize your page to make sure that you’re going to show up when people do a search for your products or services. That means writing a high-quality business description and selecting the right business categories. It’s important to think about what the most important categories for your business are. Google will give you suggestions to choose from and it will give you the opportunity to select multiple categories for your business.
People are attracted to visual images so strong content is important. Pictures are frequently more memorable than text because they are generally more interesting. The popularity of Pinterest and Instagram have demonstrated that visuals can be much more effective than text with a large segment of consumers. There are several things to think about when including photos or videos. If it’s appropriate, take photos of the inside of your business. People like to see your place of business before they contact you. Taking photos of client projects that you’ve completed, when appropriate, is also powerful. Geocode your photos so that it actually includes the physical location. Most cameras give you the option to turn on the actual location attributes when you take a picture. By doing that, Google sees there’s a picture there. Google doesn’t know what the picture is so you need to name each photo you include. Select a meaningful name for each image using a keyword phrase.
YouTube continues to be wildly popular, so in addition to photos, think about including videos along with photographs. A great option is a Google 360 video. This actually takes an image of the inside of your business, just like Google does with Street View from the outside of your business.
Customers read online reviews before making purchasing decisions. Recent surveys have found that up to 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals from friends and relatives. Google now places importance on reviews that are written directly on business websites. Make it easy for people to write reviews about your business on the right review sites for your business. From a total online presence perspective, business owners really want their reviews to help them show up in search rankings. For the majority of businesses, the places that are going to help you show up most prominently will be Google followed by Yelp. Industry specific sites are also important. For example, realtors would want to make sure they are getting quality reviews on Zillow.
Monitoring reviews allows you to see what someone is saying about your business. Responding to reviews shows people you care and it also gives you a customer service opportunity to fix an issue. Sometimes that fix is what convinces someone to give your business a chance. If it’s a situation you can’t correct, responding to negative reviews is still important. It shows you are paying attention and trying to make things right for customers.
Facebook pixel is a piece of code that Facebook gives you through Facebook ad manager. When you install it on your website, pixel gives you the ability to create website custom audiences. For example, if your business offers five core services, you have the ability with pixel to build a custom audience around each service. When someone visits a particular service page on your website, they become part of a custom audience. You can then deliver an ad exactly about the page they visited. This is highly-relevant and targeted advertising. If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you’ve seen Pixel in use. When you look at a product on Amazon, you’re going to see an ad from Facebook showing you that product in either your newsfeed or on the right-hand side.
Bad data is widespread on the internet. The way your business is listed – name, address, and phone number – are three essential elements that have to be consistent everywhere on the web. If there is any inconsistency, even the way you spell center versus centre, if you abbreviate center, “Ctr,” or spell it out, that can be seen as a difference. You may have business listings you didn’t actually create. Business listings can just be pulled and generated without your input because there are a lot of services that do just that. These business listings might pull from your state’s Secretary of State Website or other places you are listed online.
It’s really important for your business to go in and clean up these listings. Every place and directory should be consistent in terms of you business name, address, and phone number.
Get a Free Business Listing Scan to see if your businesses is listed consistently.
A Facebook local awareness ad typically is going to have an immediate call to action to call your business. It’s a cost effective way to help you build a more permanent presence on Facebook. You can set it up based on any of the Facebook advertising criteria you want. If you only run this in the mobile newsfeed, you can use this as a way to also build a text messaging marketing list.
A business website must be mobile friendly in this day and age. More web searches are now being done from a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop computer. Page load speed is a critical issue. If pages don’t load quickly, one of two things will happen, neither are good. People are going to give up and go somewhere else because they don’t want to wait for your website to load and it’s also one of the 200 plus criteria that Google uses to say, “How am I going to rank a website for search results?” If your website is slow loading, even if it’s mobile, it could pull you down in Google’s search rankings. You can check to see if your website is mobile optimized.
At St Louis for Growth, we help businesses optimize and improve online presence. We offer an online presence audit to see how your business online presence is and how you fare against competitors. Contact us for details.