Gone are the days when you could open a brick and mortar store, pass out some fliers and get lines of customers, dying to try your new product. Now, you have to compete with all the other small business owners in your area—both in person and online. Build your online brand with a few tips that will keep you at the top of online searches.
1. Importance of NAP
NAP stands for name, address and phone number. In order to show up on a local internet search, you need all three of these things. Without one, it looks like your business isn’t actually a business at all. How many businesses don’t have an address or phone number? Even front businesses have all three and so should you. It’s also important to be as accurate as possible with this information. If your business is named Complete Design Portfolio and you type in “Compete Design Portfolio” no one will be able to find you.
2. Other Important Information
Though name, address and phone number are three musts when creating an online presence, you should also consider subgroups of information like your website, hours, service type, prices, types of payments accepted, reviews and other pertinent information. The important thing here is to be as accurate as possible. If you sell high-end pizzas at $25 a pop, don’t give your listing one dollar sign. You’ll get customers who are expecting to get cheap pizzas—not high-end ones.
3. Social Media is Important
Social media is everywhere now. It increases your reliability and makes people believe you are a real business. Your social media presence can increase your search engine ranking because search engines only want to send their customers to businesses that are legitimate. Since social media networks like Facebook retrieve so much information about you and your business, it’s easy for search engines to find you credible.
4. Get Reviewed
The more people who vouch for your business, the more business a search engine will send you. If you get consistent five-star reviews on Google +, Tripadvisor and Yelp, you’ll show up more in a Google search. In fact, your photo and website will show up in the number one slot on the Google slide bar of activities or businesses. Beware of bad reviews, though. It takes five five-star reviews to negate a one-star review. Reviews can make or break a business, so get as many as possible and keep giving customers what they want.
5. Keyword Research
In order to find out what keywords people are searching for, you’ll need to do a little bit of research. Google has a keyword tool that allows you to enter in a keyword like “pizza” and find out what terms people search for when searching for pizza. For example, people might search for “pizza delivery forest hills” in your area. If you are a pizza restaurant near forest hills that offers delivery, you can chose this keyword string for your business.
6. Eye-Catching Headlines
Make sure your headlines offer plenty of usable information and make you stand out from the other businesses in your area. If your pizza place has been around since the 1800s, your unique service perspective is, “Serving hot slices from Grandpa’s secret recipe since 1874”. Use a USP that is true and tells customers exactly what they will get if they buy your pizza over someone else’s.
7. Give them What You Advertise
Write amazing copy and create an equally amazing product to back up your headlines. Your website should tell your potential customers everything they need to know about your product. Most customers don’t want surprises and want to know the exact experience they’re in for—before they leave the house. Plenty of photos, reviews, descriptions, menus and information will help get customers in the door before you can say, “SEO.”