For a business to start, survive and grow, it needs customers. To get the customers one needs to promote the business. In the olden days, this was done by a flyer, a brochure, a postcard, or an ad in the local newspaper.
But in today’s growing digital world, the possibilities are limitless.
So if you are trying hard to find out the best ways to promote your business online; or even just what your options are, you are in the right place..
In this blog, I’m going to cover the most effective ways to promote your business using online channels, whether you have no budget, a limited budget, or some to spend. Few main mediums through which this is done are given below
- Search engines (namely, Google Search and Maps).
- Social media mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
- Online directory listings, tons of them are there.
- Your local community (events, sponsorships, and press).
Promoting your business is a must if you want to increase your business and to reach your customers, so let’s get started with the most popular channel: Google.
How to promote your business on Google
Google has the most number of users compared to any other search engine out there.
1. List Your Business in Google
Your Google Local Listing is what allows your business to show up in Google Maps results, the local section of Google Search results. As Google gets better and better at showing its results based on the searcher’s location, this free listing should be a top priority.
After creating a google My Business Listing you have to verify your account so that you can optimize your listing by adding more details and photos which will help your listing to obtain higher rankings.
2. Build a SEO Friendly Website
Every business requires a website, no matter what your products are or how old your customers are.. Your website is the place where the current and prospective customers can check about your business/service.
A good business website not only serves as a promotional tool, it tells the story of your business and what you offer, provides contact information, and reflects your brand’s personality and distinguishing characteristics.
There are many free ways to get a website in place for your business, and you will need to move to some form of a paid website if you are serious about promoting your business. If you have your own domain name gives your business a professional look and feel, and the ability to scale and add features as needed are all essential for growth.
3. Optimize Your Website
It is one of the main things needed for you to promote your business. SEO is a set of tasks that align your business with Google’s ranking algorithm. But because this algorithm has evolved to use machine learning and user behavior to produce the most accurate and quality results for searchers, optimizing for search engines is just optimizing for searchers particularly those searching for what your business/services have to offer.
SEO isn’t just one particular task, it is a group of tasks done to improve the website rankings so that your website appears on the top of the search engine results page.
SEO tasks to promote your business include:
- Adding relevant (most searched based on your industry/business) keywords to specific places on your website.
- Producing original and high quality contents.
- Maintaining high page load speeds and security.
When your business is on the top of the results, it is like Google is promoting your business for you and not just to anyone, but to the people searching for what you have to offer.
4. Create a business blog
Content is such an unavoidable part of SEO that it really deserves its own category as a promotional strategy. In a blog, some posts and events can be described and created but it has its own limits unless and until it is used for educational purposes or raising your brand voice, by specifying certain keywords which are essential in terms of business promotions. Keywords can be in terms of questions as well as normal words which are relevant to the target audience.
5. Share your content
A blog that showcases your expertise, approachability, and genuine desire to help your audience is the perfect promotional tool for a business. So promotion of posts becomes the need in addition to publishing.So don’t just publish posts, promote on social media, via videos, photos, email newsletters, or even turn them into downloadable guides to help you collect leads. Shareable content is a bonus as it will enable the users to share it with their peers. In addition to this shareable content can further be noticed by leading websites which can provide links in their site which will redirect traffic to your own content.
6. Run Google Ads
SEO will help you to reach on the top of the organic results page but, it is a long-term strategy that can take weeks or even months to start seeing results. For faster results one can use google ads if you have the budget to spend. Google Ads are always positioned on the top of search engine results pages, above organic and local listings. And of all the search engines available, Google is the most popular not only because they control the largest share of search engine traffic, but also because of its flexibility, ad creation features, and detailed performance metrics.
Mastering the art of Google Ads takes some time as well as plenty of trial and error, an optimized campaign is worth every penny spent. Advertising on Google can be done through search ads or branded banner ads on the Display Network.
How to promote your business using online directories
Consumers always visit online directories to search for businesses or services that fit their specific needs. These sites have high-traffic, high domain authority, so it’s not uncommon for your profile page or your business name to show up on the first page of Google through any one of these domains. Creating online listings consume less amount of your time and can help you to enhance your online presence.
7. Create listings on the major directories
Smaller directories tend to pull data from the larger ones.So creating listings on major sites would be enough to get recognised in both the larger and smaller directories.Some notable directories are Glassdoor,Bing,Tripadvisor etc.
8. Optimize your listings
The real challenge lies in optimizing the listing rather than just creating it.By filling out every field such as adding photos,profile updation,collecting reviews etc you can improve the appeal of your business and can rank above your competitors.But in order to rank higher than your peers you must make sure that all the information given in the listings matches with the one given in your website.Inconsistencies can create a question mark as google continuously monitors this aspect.
9. Get online customer reviews
Customer reviews are so important because they will help to verify the authenticity of the business/service offered. These reviews will help to increase trust among the new customers.
Reviews are the single and most important way to promote your business to the right audience.Reviews and testimonials on your own website are great but reviews on other social media platforms like google and facebook are even better.These websites can increase your exposure as well as traffic and because they have measures in place to prevent fake or spam reviews, people trust the reviews here more . Plus, reviews are a major ranking factor for local listing results.
10. Monitor and respond to reviews
Always monitor your reviews frequently and answer them. Almost all the online directories allow anyone to add a listing, so even if you didn’t list your business, it may still be on there, collecting reviews. This way you can respond to reviews which is a great way to promote your business. Not only can you resolve negative reviews, but the way or tone in which you answer reviews (positive and negative) can reveal your brand’s values and give potential customers an idea of what it’s like to do business with you.This can also improve your credibility and authenticity.
How to promote your business on social media
Social media is a free way to get the word out about your small business. The most popular social media accounts are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but make sure to consider using other sites that might be specific to your niche, such as Pinterest or Reddit.
11. Prioritize Facebook
Facebook is the largest social media network online which can help you gain new connections.It provides a great platform to keep in touch with existing customers and to reach out to new customers.Promoting a business on facebook can be done in many ways depending on your industry,but here are some basics
- Create a facebook business page
- Run facebook live sessions and tutorials
- Use facebook events to improve engagement
12. Connect and contribute on LinkedIn
Until recently linkedin was considered a place where a person drops his/her resume to find employment. Little did we know about this wonderful platform in which more authentic connections can be made.Its a place to join for group discussions,form new partnerships,create new connections etc.Potential customers can check your business out as well as your company’s credentials to find out more information about you before doing business with you.You can also provide business perspectives in group discussions and provide genuine links of relevant content in your website.
13. Upload videos to YouTube
Youtube lets you do video marketing absolutely for free.Youtube can also pave way for driving potential customers to your business.A quick overview of your business can be uploaded in youtube.This gives you a nice sales tool that you can post on the homepage or circulate in emails.You can also put how tos,educational and other aspects of your business in your youtube channel which can provide better insight to potential clients about your business.
14. Advertise on YouTube
Along with other rapid strategies mentioned above, youtube advertisements can also be an investment if it is done right.You can advertise on youtube by creating small videos which play before the videos in relevant categories.
15. Engage your audience on Instagram
Even Though Instagram has been considered by the public as a recently launched social media platform,it has outwitted many of the older platforms to become the third most popular social media platform in the world.With diversified posting formats like post,stories,live sessions,IGTV videos and newbie instagram reels, there exists a wide variety of ways to use instagram to engage your audience.For example,
- Using hashtags to promote your sales and to expand your reach
- Posting stories about brand relevance and importance
- And also providing tutorials via IGTV and live sessions.