What does it take to market your business online? Without waiting years and years to move up the rankings on Google’s SERPs, how can an entrepreneur get the proverbial word out? There are definitely some ways to market your business that will offer a better return on the investment of your time than others. Some will take weeks to pan out; while others will take months and years.
No matter what method you choose for marketing your business on the web, as long as you ensure that you’re adding value along the way, and you’re implementing the proper set of marketing habits, you’ll eventually reap the rewards of your work overtime. It won’t happen overnight. But then again, nothing worthwhile ever does. Below you’ll find some the best methods — in both the short and long term — for driving that all-important traffic to your site and pages online.
1. Use the three big local listing services
Registering your business with Google Places such as Google My Business permits it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you’ve got to try to is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation method, which may be done either with a telephone call or postal service. Yahoo! also includes a huge database of companies referred to as Yahoo! local. It’s free, and is actually definitely worth the few minutes it takes to line up. Microsoft’s Bing includes a similar service that is straightforward to sign in for
2. Embrace social media
Creating business accounts on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is absolutely free. And incorporating the use of social media into your marketing plan has its advantages if that’s where your target market is. The simple practice of offering engaging content and interacting with your customers and influencers on social media can fuel your branding efforts and put your name in the forefront of your audience’s minds, again, if that’s where your audience lives.
Now, the caveat to that is this: the act of creating the account is free, yes. However, the rewards you could reap from using it directly correlate to the time and energy you put into managing it, so keep that in mind if you pursue this option.
3. Start a blog
Clearly, the most important way you can market your business online is to build a blog where you can post and share high-quality content that adds an exceedingly high amount of value on a regular basis. This is definitely a very long-term strategy, and it won’t pay off overnight, but every entrepreneur needs to understand the importance of embracing this online marketing method.
4. Put up multimedia on YouTube and Flickr
YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and are relevant to your business—a simple ad will not work. A Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business and allows you to link back to your website.
5. SEO your company website
Clearly, optimization of your site for relevant keywords is an important aspect of marketing your business online. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that if your business is now — less than two years old — and you’ve built very little authority or content, you’re going to have a hard time ranking at the top of Google’s SERPs for any keyword that’s marginally competitive.
6. Join a relevant online community and contribute
Simply put: Online communities are groups of people who share advice, knowledge or stories on a shared interest. They can take place in forums, on social media, or even on their own website That’s why online communities make the perfect place for blog post promotion. Since there’s one for every topic imaginable, there’s bound to be a group of your business’ ideal customers hanging out somewhere on the internet.