When it comes to marketing your business you have to realize one thing. Marketing has changed more in the last 3 years than in the previous 35 years combined. Technology is changing at a rate that few Small and Medium Business (SMB) owners can keep up with. So what can you focus on with your narrow margin of time? What two aspects of your marketing can you get your highest return from?
THE COMMON ANSWER
Most SMB owners spend significant time and resources on their website. For decades your website was the essential cog in in an SMB’s marketing machine. That is starting to change though. What good is a stellar website if prospective customers have to type your business name AND location to find it? The average online shopper uses vague phrases such as “car repair near me” to find the products or services they need. Just having a website won’t get you found with searches like that.
“What about SEO?” You say. Of course SEO is a helpful part of being found. Yet, most SMB owners don’t realize the investment good SEO takes. Even less realize how long they have to wait before they see the results. One marketing agency shared the following drawbacks of SEO:
1. SEO results take time
2. SEO is a big investment
3. SEO requires you to find a competitive niche
4. SEO has no guarantee for results
5. SEO does not provide full control
6. Google’s search algorithm changes are often targeted at SEO tactics. This usually puts all that hard work to waste.[i]
If a website and a solid SEO strategy aren’t enough for SMB’s to be found online, what can they do? Here are the two questions you have to answer that will make a difference!
HOW EASY AM I TO FIND?
This seems like a no brainer, especially given the introduction we just had, but there is a lot to know here. First, did you know that Google, Bing, and Yahoo pull their search information from over 300 different online databases? Most SMB’s only have their information on a handful of these databases. The ones they DO have are often not the most important ones. You can imagine, when someone searches “hair salon in San Diego” that the salons with information in more directories are listed higher. That’s because the search engine can verify the business name, contact info, and geographic region with more confidence. Isn’t that the whole goal of search engines – providing the most relevant and helpful results?
Maybe you have spent some time placing your information on some of these websites, but is that enough? No! Information changes all the time. Your web address, your business number, the address for your new location. Plus, new directories are added all the time. When these things change, how will you make sure the information is corrected on all these databases? You Can’t! So it’s not enough to have information in a few of these business directories. Your profiles must be complete and they must have consistent information. This is something you will need a Presence Builder platform to help you with (see below).
WHAT KIND OF IMPRESSION DO I LEAVE?
The second question naturally flows from the first. If your business is found in the search results, what sort of impression will you make? On average, online shoppers will only click the top 3-5 websites in the results.[ii] How will you make that opportunity count? How can you ensure that you stand out from your competition? Again, your website is not enough. Your impression really comes down to two things: content and reviews.
Specifically, you need to be active in sharing content with your community on social media. Every business should post about their products and services, but you cannot limit your content to this. You will lose engagement if followers feel like your page is just an online billboard for your company. Instead you need to offer information to your community that is relevant to your industry. If you’re a plumber, post about winterizing your exterior water lines before the frost comes. If you own a restaurant, post about seasonal fruits and vegetables your customers can use in their dinner at home. Posts like these create a relationship of trust where your customer – and prospective clients – realize that you care about their wellbeing and not just your bottom line. In fact, developing these online relationships is more important than you think. According to Aabaco, “50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network.”[iii] So your next customer is likely to come to your business as a result of your social media presence. Coming up with content like this on a regular basis can seem daunting though. There are resources out there to help you. We will suggest a popular one below.
Reviews are becoming one of the most important aspects of the online search world. Zendesk reports that approximately 90% of buyers have been swayed by online reviews.[iv] Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp and so many other services have added reviews to their platforms for this reason. That’s because the days of “Word of Mouth Referrals” are dying. Its more convenient to post your experience online than to remember it when someone mentions that they are looking for a product or service. That’s not to mention how many more people your experience can help if you post it online. Even if you absolutely love, love, love your local mechanic, there are only so many people you can tell. An online review can reach interested parties from around the region who are looking for affordable, reliable car care. The catch to reviews is generating new, positive referrals on these sites. Most reviewers have to be prompted to share their feedback. Again there are some great tools out there and we will suggest a great one below.
When it comes to reaching new customers, the recipe isn’t as complicated as you might think. It is a combination of being discoverable in online searches, posting relevant content on a regular basis, and producing reviews for your company. Still, SMB owners are always looking to free up their time to focus on what matters – their craft. Spending hours and hours working on these areas isn’t an option. So where should you turn?
There is a solution that helps you to manage your online presence from a single platform. The Synergy Suite provides you with the capacity to distribute your business information correctly, provides you with relevant content to post on your social media outlets, and helps you generate new reviews. That’s just a scratch on the surface. Synergy Marketing has been operating in the digital marketing sphere since 2003 and excels in helping SMBs get more customers. To learn more, visit Synergy Marketing’s Website. To receive a FREE report of how your business is doing in the three areas mentioned above, fill out this FORM.