We live in an exciting time where the internet has made successful advertising campaigns viable to all businesses, no matter how big or small. It’s easy to make a website, even for the novice, and social media campaigns often don’t cost a penny. TV, radio and billboard advertising may be simply inaccessible to smaller, local businesses. However, the internet has opened up a world of opportunity to the smaller-sized business, and many local businesses find themselves turning into national operations with increased online sales.
The internet, despite its enormous popularity, is still a relatively new thing, which means you might not have the expertise to get the maximum potential return when it comes to online advertising. However, even if you have a lack of experience, you can always learn new skills. Plus, there are many basic steps you can take to increase your online presence and visibility.
Getting found by customers is what’s going to make your internet campaign a success, so you need to make sure your business details can be found in the right places. Thousands of potential customers search Thomson Local’s directory listings each month. Needless to say, getting your business listed on there is a great place to start building and increasing your online visibility.
Thomson Local is one the UK’s largest online directories and, as such, receives millions of search requests each month. Some of those searches are likely to be made by people looking for your business, so being listed here is a must. People often want to buy products from local businesses, and Thomson Local specialise in making sure your business can be found by them.
By being listed on online directories, you’re giving potential customers an easy way to find you. Plus, they’ll have access to your contact details and location with just a few mouse clicks. Being listed on directories is likely to get your website higher in the search ratings, and being on the first page of Google almost ensures you’ll increase your online sales.
The Importance of a Great Website
For businesses who don’t already have a website, we strongly recommend you address this issue as quickly as possible. For all we know, you’re a family-run business who’s been successful for decades. Therefore, it’s understandable you might think you don’t need to make a website to find continued success. However, what happens when another business opens up in your local area specialising in the sales of the same product as you?
People start businesses all the time and regardless of the fact you built yours before the advent of the internet, new businesses will certainly be using it; and they’ll be using it to try and steal your customers. If you want to keep your doors open for business and really compete in the market, you need a website to prevent yourself from being outshined.
In the early days of the internet, most businesses were probably required to pay large sums of money to get a website created for them. However, there are now many tools that give you the ability to do it yourself with relative ease. You might still want to utilise experts given that the return on investment could be well worth it. All we’re saying, however, is that if you do want to save a bit of cash but you still want a great website, you have the ability to make one for yourself.
Getting Your Website Found
Making a website is the easy part; getting it found by your potential customers is where the difficulty comes in. We’ve already mentioned the need to be featured on popular online directories, but making sure your website is search engine optimised is achieved via a plethora of different methods. We don’t want to put you off, rather, we want to be honest that online marketing is a long process. However, we all know running a business requires hard work, but the results of successful online marketing campaigns can be off the charts.
Make sure you post regular content on your website to rank high on the search engines. It doesn’t always have to be about your business, sometimes it could just be industry-related content. Whatever you choose to talk to the world about, make sure it’s well written and related in some way to your business if you want the search engines and your potential customers to take you seriously.
Link-building is another popular tactic when it comes to increasing your online visibility, which is where you get other businesses to provide a link to your website on theirs. Direct competitors may be less willing to promote your website, but you don’t necessarily have to build your links on businesses directly related to yours.
Even if you don’t use it, you’re more than likely aware of just how popular social media is. Almost everybody you know uses it. More importantly, however, your customers are using it. This means you have a platform in which you can communicate with your direct market for free, though returns from paid advertising could make the investment well worth it. You’ll also get the chance to respond to customer complaints and queries instantly to enhance your customer service.
There are more ways to be active online than what’s mentioned above, but we recommend them as good ways to start. Get on online directories, social media, make a website and watch your business grow. Thomson Local’s directory receives a large quantity of searches each month, so getting listed on their website is a good place to start.