Having a good online presence for your businesses has always been important. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become even more so. And with social distancing measures likely to continue well into the foreseeable future, that’s a situation that’s going to remain.

Lots of businesses rely on word of mouth to encourage sales, possibly backed up by a simple social media presence. But this approach means that they’re missing out on huge numbers of potential customers from online sources. And it really isn’t that difficult to tap into those markets.

Google My Business

Google My Business

One of the best places to start is Google My Business. It’s quick and easy to input all the details about what you do, your opening hours, your address and telephone number. And your business will be listed on Google Maps too, making it even easier for your customers to find you. It even allows you to put your logo in and pictures of your products, your services, your team, your offices, your awards etc

One of the very best things about Google My Business is that it allows customers and clients to post online reviews. And that’s reassuring to other people who may be considering purchasing from you. You can also post a link to your website too, so it’s definitely a great starting point for just about every business.

Website Design Image

Create a website

And just a quick word about websites – if you can put one together, or arrange to have one created for you, it will repay the money you spend on it many times over. It doesn’t have to be the biggest website, but it does need to look very special as it will support every other aspect of your marketing. And it will keep on working 24/7, 365 days a year on your behalf, so it will quickly become the lynchpin of your business.

Facebook Social Media

Identify the most appropriate social media platforms

Your next step should be to branch out into social media, and work on building up a presence. But there’s no point in adopting a scattergun approach across all available platforms. Instead, you need to target the channels that your type of customers are using. If you run a B2B company, then we strongly recommend LinkedIn, and possibly Twitter too. Whereas B2C companies should be setting their sights on Facebook – which happens to have a very good advertising platform built into it. And if your target audience is younger, then Instagram is the way to go.

It’s well worth taking a bit of time to think about your target audience before launching your business on social media. Think about the type of visitors you’re aiming to attract. Then research the social media platforms that they prefer, to make sure you pick the ones that will best engage with them. Our favourites are LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, because they cover most age groups and offer really good advertising capabilities. But with so many to choose from, it’s worth looking at all of them before making up your mind.

Google Click Through Rates

Google Ads

Another really good way to bring attention to your goods and services, is through Google Ads. This is where you pay Google on a per-click basis to get to the top of the search results for specific keywords. Simply tell Google how much you’re prepared to pay per click for your preferred keyword or search phrase.

So if you’re operating as a tyre fitter in Leicester, for example, you’d define how much you’re prepared to pay for the term ‘tyre fitter Leicester’. You can decide how many times your listing will show per day, set a maximum budget for each day and then write your own ads, which will appear at the top of the search results.

Google Shopping Mockup

Google Shopping

If you’re selling products, Google Shopping is a very strong platform. Set up a feed directly from your website, and it will quickly start filtering through, populating the shopping listings with your products. Let’s say you’re selling red trainers. Your potential customer types ‘red trainers’ into the search field, and your products will appear in the top set of listings. The customer only has to click on your display, and they’ll be taken to the relevant page on your website, where they can complete their purchase.

YouTube Analytics

YouTube

YouTube is definitely worth a mention, as it can be a great way of engaging with customers. By creating useful and informative How To guides, you can show your visitors how you actually make your products, or how they work. The aim isn’t to sell products directly, but to provide helpful information and advice, which will add real value to your brand in the long run. For example, you could demonstrate how to tackle a DIY job, showing the products that are needed, as well as how to use them. Then you can show your viewers how to get those products.

Social media allows you to usefully engage with people, whether through groups, videos, how to guides or providing useful information about products and services. And the real beauty of social media is, that if you get it right, people will share your comments and videos with other people within their own communities. In effect, your audience are doing your marketing for you, yet you don’t have to engage in any hard sell, so it never seems forced.

SEO Stats

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s the way you get your website to feature higher on the search results. This is partly achieved through ensuring that your website works perfectly across all devices and loads quickly. But it’s also about making sure that Google sees your site as useful, informative and of high value to your visitors.

Style your website in the way that Google likes, and you’ll rank higher in the results. And the real beauty of this approach is that when people click on your listing, you won’t have to pay a per-click fee. Building up a library of blog posts, how to guides and creating a useful knowledge base are all great ways of raising the profile of your website, which in turn encourages more visitors.

The emphasis is very firmly on providing genuine, honest help and advice. Never be tempted to try and trick your site visitors into visiting pages specifically aimed at selling products. Always be responsible, and remember that people buy from people. So be helpful, not salesy.

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