A recent study conducted by Google revealed that 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses on the web. If a large percentage of your potential customers are online (and they probably are), then you should be as well. Likewise, having a strong social media presence online would be a key component of your company’s marketing strategy, no matter what its size.
Having an online presence is crucial for your marketing efforts because of what it can do in terms of strengthening your brand. It’s also a fabulous platform of communication, enabling you to engage your customers and future customers without having to first lure them into your place of business.
Your Company’s Website
Every business, no matter how small they are, needs to have a website. It can be very basic, but it needs to contain information about you, your products and services, and most importantly, what others are saying about them.
If you owned a restaurant for example, posting a current menu on your website, along with operating hours, location and directions to your establishment will serve you well. This is something that, if absent, would cost your restaurant business because if potential customers can’t find these details then they probably won’t want to visit your establishment. These little details are cheap and easy to implement, so there’s no real reason not to.
Basic websites are easy to set up using WordPress or another CMS. WordPress is a free content management system and blogging tool that offers virtually unlimited flexibility, including a multitude of ecommerce options. A study done in 2013 revealed that at least 70 percent of customers preferred to do their retail shopping online if possible.
If you’re starting your website from scratch and not sure just exactly what to include, conduct a comprehensive study of your existing customers and your major competitors. This will go a long ways toward figuring out what actually works.
Search Engines – Your New Best Friend
Once your website has been established it is crucial that it can be found by search engines. Since 89 percent of customers use search engines to research a business, products or a particular service before deciding on making a purchase, search engine optimization or SEO for your website is important. Here is how search engine optimization works and why it it’s important.
The purpose of search engine optimization is to make it easy for search engines to understand what your company’s site is about, then list it in their systematically arranged results. People usually trust search engines, and if a website has high positional ranking, it’s much more likely to receive visits. Search engine optimization is an ongoing, iterative process, so it is important to check the information on your website and keep it current and correct. Some major search engines include Yahoo, Bing and of course, Google. These connect people worldwide to the information they need on the services and products they want to purchase or use.
Maintaining Your Social Media Status
While effective social media involves more than making regular posts to your website there are a few other tasks that should be performed on a regular basis as well to ensure you keep your following customers happy.
Check Your Social Media Profiles Daily
You need log onto your social media sites daily and see if you have any new followers and view your comments. You will be able to respond quickly to any user interactions and see exactly how much attention your page is receiving.
Respond Directly To Your Followers Messages
Respond quickly to comments or suggestions, even negative ones left by followers. Just remember that when responding to negative comments, you absolutely must maintain an even, professional tone. Don’t make it personal.