Years ago, generating new business meant sending direct mail, cold calling, or good old newspaper advertising. Marketing has moved on (significantly!) and today without a website, and a good understanding of how to market your business online, will mean a real struggle for the business owner.
Here are some of the best ways to use the Internet to generate new leads and paying customers.
- Optimise your site for the webThe key to a website which ranks highly on the search results is having copy which is optimised for the search engines, AND readers. Think of the market you’re in, and try to figure out what potential customers might be typing into search engines when investigating your service.
Try to build your content around some of these words and phrases, whilst offering quality content readers can actually use and benefit from. This way your readers will be engaged and interested in what you have to say, and with any luck the search engines will make it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Run PPC campaignsPPC stands for pay-per-click advertising. It’s a form of advertising where you pay each time someone clicks one of your adverts. You choose some phrases relating to your business, and each time someone types that phrase into a search engine, your advert will appear within the listings.
The key to a successful PPC campaign is to choose a wide range of phrases, to have a well optimised landing page leading from your advert, and an enticing advert which begs to be clicked. If you’ve never run a paid ad campaign like this online, it might be worth calling in an expert. It can become an expensive marketing medium if executed wrongly.
- Create an E- NewsletterNewsletters are a great way to generate traffic to your website. The idea is you create a weekly/monthly newsletter filled with interesting and informative information about your industry, and offer it to potential clients. The more value you offer the more likely people will be to investigate your business further. The mistake people often make when creating newsletters is they turn them into sales pitches. The idea of a newsletter is to inform, entertain, and build trust and credibility. Leave the selling for your website!
- Use social mediaFacebook and Twitter aren’t just for catching up with school friends or sharing your family photos. They can also be effective ways to communicate with your target market. Set up company pages and groups where you offer useful advice and tips, whilst giving people a chance to communicate with you directly.
Social media gives your business a far more “human” face, and makes you seem approachable. Remember, people do business with people they like and trust. Social media sites give you an opportunity to develop relationships with customers.
- NetworkThere are a host of business networking sites online like Linkedin which give you an opportunity to showcase your business. These sites are aimed at business people around the world, and are used for advertising, networking, and developing strategic partnerships. Build yourself a company profile, and look for other people who may be in your industry or interested in what you do.
It’s estimated over a billion dollars worth of business has been created through joint ventures started on sites like Linkedin. Don’t overlook the power of business networking!
- Market your site offlineDon’t forget to include your website and social profiles on all your offline promotional material. Make it prominently visible on any leaflets, catalogues, and advertising you do so people know how to find and contact you online.
Whilst offline advertising is still effective, showing people you have a strong online presence gives the impression of size and gives them a number of easy ways to get hold of you.
- Harness the power of reviewsA recent report showed over 84% of consumers research products and services online before they make a purchasing decision. One of the biggest deciding factors in whether they went on to become buyers was the presence of online reviews. Sites like Google +, Yelp, and Kudzu give consumers the chance to write about their thoughts and feelings regarding their experiences.
If company A and company B sell the exact same product, but company A has 43 positive online reviews VS company B’s 3, consumers are more likely going to buy from company A. Social proof is fast becoming the most important factor in doing business online, so you need to harness the power of reviews as soon as possible.
Encourage customers to leave a review about you, and ensure you deal with any complaints quickly and efficiently. Customer service is vital in today’s Internet generation. It takes years to build a good reputation, and minutes to ruin it!
Get started today!
If you’re not using the Internet to market your business, you’re leaving serious amounts of money on the table. Read through these tips again, and more importantly start implementing some of them today!