Online advertising tips & tricks for small businesses
Below are 4 tools that small businesses should implement. These initiatives are free and if done correctly will improve search engine ranking, increase new customers and build a strong local customer base.
A main focus for small businesses is targeting their local community. Therefore it is highly recommended to ensure all online marketing and advertising is geo-targeted. Tips to consider are:
Google My Business: This should be your number one priority. Google Business allows you to stand out from the crowd, improve SEO ranking and it is FREE. Make sure you optimize it with photos, FAQs, products and service information, along with correct contact information.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns: Location targeting helps focus your advertising on the areas where you'll find the right customers and restrict it in areas where you won't. Google Adwords can be very expensive and a lot of small businesses do not do it. If you decide to implement PPC make sure you have switched on location targeting to ensure you are only targeting areas that your business operates in. If done correctly you will increase return on investment.
NextDoor: is the social private network for your local area. This is a prime location to find new customers/clients. People are constantly posting on Nextdoor requesting services and/or products, creating a great marketing opportunity to grow your small business in the local area.
Now more than ever reviews are so important, especially in a town like Norfolk, VA where many people did not grow up here, rather moved here due to military orders. Online reviews are of great importance in Hampton Roads because family or friend recommendations are harder to come by as new residents are constantly arriving with needs and wants and do not have the community to give them the recommendations they need. Therefore, these new residents jump online and assess the reviews that are on Google, Yelp, blogs and social media.
Building your online reviews takes time and must be carefully monitored. It is recommended that after every customer provide them with the information they need to write a review. This can be done by texting them a link, giving them a 'how to' flier or sending them a follow up email with steps on how to post a review.
These reviews will improve your search engine ranking and build a trusted brand. Growing your small business takes time and is difficult as you do not have the marketing and advertising budgets that other medium to large firms have. Therefore, if you can optimize your satisfied customers and build trust it will not only increase returning customers but also build new customers through the reviews given from happy, trusted and satisfied customers.
There are some very simple steps to making sure your website is Google optimized. These steps are free but take time. Start by implementing the following:
Add in meta descriptions and meta titles to every page of your website.
Use targeted keywords in your web content. Make sure you complete a keyword analysis before implementing. The keywords need to be highly targeted and if done correctly will improve your SEO ranking.
Build a responsive website that has been mobile optimized. Mobile usage continues to take over desktop usage. In order to not fall behind and become unknown make sure you build a website that first is optimized for mobile and then build your desktop version. Google changed their algorithm for SEO ranking to a 'mobile-first index' meaning that Google now prioritize websites that are responsive because they know that over 50% of their users are searching on mobile devices. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GREAT MOBILE SITE.
Test all your links on all browsers (chrome, safari) and devices (mobile, tablet, laptop) make sure you have no broken links.
Blogging makes sense for any small business. It takes minimal effort and is free. You can build credibility by being the information leader in your industry. It will improve search engine rankings, thus increasing website traffic. Two way blogging will also grow relationships with potential and new customers.
One question I get a lot is - How long should my blog be?
The simple answer is to firstly make sure the keywords you have optimized are in your blog. Secondly, look at your competition. What are they writing to get ranked #1? Compete with them. Copying what they are doing is a good start, although remember that you will not beat them unless you provide a better blog, better content and are answering the user's search question better than them. If the #1 page is 200 words, write more than 200 words, if the #1 page has written 2000 words, write more than 2000 words and ensure what you are writing is adding value to the user's request.
The above tips and tricks will help your small business grow in your local area and if done well and consistently you will become an information leader and an expert in your field. This will grow your online reviews, grow customers and ensure you retain your customers for the long term.