If you have a physical store and you are considering how you might use the interest to promote your business online, there are a number of activities you can try. A lot of internet-based activities are cheap and easy to put in place. Social media and online directories are good examples of this. You don’t need to try everything at once, but it is becoming more important to have an online presence, so trying some of these tips will help you on your way.
List Your Business in Online Directories
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to begin promoting your business online is to find online directories where you can list your business. Usually, these directories will give you a small space to write a paragraph about your business and include contact details in case people want to get in touch. It’s important to be specific and to the point and to include your location if you are a local business.
Build a Website
When it comes to marketing your business online, you really need to be thinking about having your own website. Not only will it help to drive new inquiries or even sales from new customers looking for your products or services online, but it will also give your existing customers an extra place to contact you. A simple contact form on your website or a live chat module acts as another channel for customer service and will help to keep your customers happy.
If you are not technically minded or simply don’t have the time to build or research a website you can find Web Designers to do the job for you. Professional designers will be able to get you up and running online relatively quickly depending on the size of your website. Once completed, you could leave the site and review it once a year or run a regular blog to deliver extra value to your customers.
Create Social Media Profiles
It’s estimated that Facebook now has over 2 Billion users, Instagram has 1 Billion, and Twitter has 335 Million. With figures like that you can’t afford to be missing out on the benefits social media can have for your business.
It’s important that social media is a tool used for brand building, awareness generation, and engaging with people. Although many platforms are now trying to integrate a selling element social media is not really that good as a direct selling tool. Users are so used to being bombarded with adverts and promotional posts that many simply ignore anything that has a promotional feel, and not necessarily on purpose. Sub-consciously scrolling past posts that are obviously promoting products isn’t uncommon, which is why your social media game needs to be on point.
Here are some tips for a good social media strategy:
- Videos are being preferred by many platforms now as they keep people engaged for longer. They can often be prioritized in the newsfeed by the algorithms.
- Post content that your customers will find useful. Instead of posting about a new watch you have in store, they may be interested in a video about how it was made or what items of clothing it works best with.
- Be responsive to people’s comments and check your profiles for mentions or shares. These are usually a good sign that the content your posting is being well received by your followers.
Start a Podcast
The number of people podcasting has gone through the roof in recent years. This is likely due to the ease of home recording with equipment now being really easy to use, set up and cheap to buy. It’s also very easy to get a podcast live on the internet with many self-publishing platforms being available to normal users who are podcasting for fun or their business.
The number of listeners has gone up too, with a staggering 62 million Americans listening to a podcast every week according to Podcast Insights. A podcast can be about anything from comedy, to pets to serious debate. As long as you are talking about something a big enough market is interested in, podcasting can be a great way to reach new people and customers and maybe even make some additional money for your business through advertising or promoting other local businesses.
Some of the most popular websites people to use to host their podcasts sites include:
Start a Vlog
A vlog or video blog is a fantastic way to engage with your customers and share news and events with them online. In some ways, it’s similar to podcasting in that you can self-publish on websites like YouTube, but a vlog takes a little more effort simply because you need to think about what people are going to see as well as what they are going to hear. If the video is just you standing in front of a camera talking, it’s unlikely to inspire customers or win any awards.
Alternatively, like in the example earlier, if it’s something that your customers will find valuable and interesting and will enhance their desire to purchase that’s great! That 3-minute overview about how your new watch is made might just be enough to convince someone of the quality and craftsmanship to make a purchase, and maybe even share the video with a fellow watch enthusiast or two.
Start a Blog
A blog works best if you already have a website because this will bring in free, organic traffic if you have done the correct keyword research and SEO. To find keywords to include in your blog, there are tools online you can use that will show you how often people search for different words and phrases. The shorter the phrase, the more searches it will have but the less specific it will be, so you will want to find phrases that are 4-5 words that are closely linked to your business and include these in your blog posts. Maybe something like ‘pet shop in San Diego’ or ‘independent ford car repair specialist.’
If you don’t have your own website, then there are blogging platforms that you can use online, but you will need to be sure that you are capturing the information from people that are viewing the page. Include an email address or phone number at the end of each post or link it to a social media site to ensure that when people find you, they can get in touch, otherwise, it’s a wasted opportunity.