Every business wants to be seen where everyone is looking – that’s been the basis of marketing since shop owners in ancient Greece and Rome daubed messages about their businesses on what were the equivalent of modern day billboards.

Even back then – word of mouth was a huge creator of new customers and in reality, little has changed over the thousands of years except the medium for the message. Online is now both the medium and the message. Both are contained within an increasingly immediate connection between the consumer/user and the device itself – more often than not a hand held smart phone.

Today, practically everyone can find out anything online in the seconds it takes to type in a query and the minutes it takes to process the results of that search. All of this means that if a business does not have a presence online that meets the desires of consumers then it is practically invisible and missing out on growth and revenue. In the simplest terms it will not survive.

Today, practically everyone can find out anything online in the seconds it takes to type in a query and the minutes it takes to process the results of that search

So how can a business owner ensure that they are looking the best in the place where consumers are looking? Here’s five free or extremely cost-effective tools that are essential to maximising online presence. 

1            Sign up for a Google My Business Profile

 

Not only is this completely free – it also ticks all of the boxes for Google in legitimising your business for searching. It’s important to make all of the contact details in your profile the same as you have them in your website, if you have one, or in other places where your business may be listed.

It can’t be overestimated just how important it is to OWN your business or brand name on Google

Google reviews are nothing but helpful and for the past year Google has incorporated reviews from other review sites into Google My Business Profiles.

It can’t be overestimated just how important it is to OWN your business or brand name on Google – if you don’t then someone else is getting the customers that you would if they could find you!

To sign up for a Google My Business Profile – go here

 

2            Sign up to a review platform

 

It’s way past thinking that reviews are not relevant to your customers. The latest research says that 97% of online visitors are looking for them before they consider which businesses to contact.

You need reviews to survive and thrive. It’s not worth imagining that analogue ways of marketing your business will even cut it today.

You need reviews to survive and thrive

Look for a review platform that is focused on customers – meaning that its site is there to show consumers local businesses with reviews.

The best review sites – like www.nocowboys.co.nz will also greatly help you in Google – meaning that a profile with star reviews will come up when your business name is searched – and with a good chance it will come up in Google category and location searches if you have a good number of reviews and a profile with a large amount of relevant information.

 

3            Encourage online reviews and respond to them

 

Start thinking of reviews as the gold that they are – and treating them that way

As soon as you commit to online reviews and directing your customers to leaving reviews for you, your business will go to another level. Human beings crave openness and accountability and distrust the opposite – invisibility, shadiness and shirking responsibility. Customers respect businesses that allow for an honest appraisal of their activities and who respond to reviews – good and bad.

You can direct customers to review sites you are signed up to – either by emailing page links or by including links in invoices. Start thinking of reviews as the gold that they are – and treating them that way.

 

4            Create great content and share it with your customers

 

Everyone loves something for free – even if it’s not worth that much to you. Connect with your existing customers and create awareness of your business and your brand by regularly blogging and networking with your customer base.

Give tips – tell stories – present case studies – show options and do it visually as well through text. Blog posts don’t need to be long – punchy – informative and useful. It’s not difficult to create a blog site, nor to sign up for an emailing platform – such as MailChimp.

 

5             Use social media to promote, not sell yourself

Sometimes in business we forget just how important human connection is

Any type of ‘sell’ on Facebook can be off putting, so the best way to market your business is through amping up the ‘social’ – connect with your customers by giving them great and entertaining information or content – tell them about you and your crew – promote you.

Sometimes in business we forget just how important human connection is – because in essence that’s what business is – the exchange of goods or services between human beings – so the friendlier and more open and engaging you can be, the more inviting you will be to your potential and existing customers.

 

For a free consultation on how to best market your business online – email NoCowboys to schedule an online meeting here