As a local business owner hopefully you recognize that the internet has changed the way we advertise. 30 years ago you needed to be in the Yellow Pages, when was the last time you actually looked up a business in the Yellow Pages?
Nowadays, your business needs to be online and below we will share some tips and recommendations that will help shorten your learning curve and show you the most effective ways to start building an online presence.
There are some people out there that will tell you that you don’t really need a website to start or grow your business. You can establish your business on Facebook, Youtube and other social media channels.
While this statement can be true, the fact of the matter is you don’t own any of those channels. You need to know the difference between a Website and Social Media Page.
Your website is a real estate asset that you own. A social media page is something you do not own. A social media page is just a page on the internet.
What if you build your entire business on Facebook as a lot of people do? They build their entire business on Facebook which you don’t own, Facebook owns. The old saying is if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product!
The thing is that it’s really easy to set up these pages which is why a lot of businesses set up a Facebook page as their entire business model. It’s free and easy but here’s the thing, any of these social media platforms could throw you out at any time.
They could get banned in your country, they could shut down your page, they could charge exorbitantly for showing ads to your customers and they could stop showing your news to the people who’ve already liked your page.
All of these actions have already happened with various businesses social media pages, so you need to figure out whether you’re ok with social media running your business or whether you want establish a real home on the Internet.
For an example, what if you built a huge following for your business on Facebook and it suddenly was shutdown? You would have no way of connecting with your customers, let alone getting new ones!
I’m not saying you shouldn’t utilize these social media channels but you should consider your website as the main hub. Every YouTube video, Facebook post, Pinterest pin or Instagram pic should always lead people to your site to build your brand and build a list.
By building a list you always have a way of connecting with new or current customers/clients. As you know, most people hire or buy from people that they know, like and trust. By building a list, it gives you another opportunity to do that.
Having your own website presence is something that you can control. You never have to worry about being banned or controlled by a new algorithm from these social media channels.
If you are ready to build a website for your local business, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this. You could use Wix or Weebly but they offer no SEO/Search Engine Optimization advantage. Ultimately, these website builders will severely limit your business growth.
If you don’t believe me, type in any type of local business in your area. Example, plumber in Gulfport Fl. You will not see any business using these website builders on the first couple of page of results. That’s why I recommend using WordPress.
It’s the world’s most popular CMS software, and it powers around 42% of all websites on the internet. Here are just a few of the benefits:
It doesn’t cost anything to use WordPress but you will need web hosting and a domain name. A domain name will cost you between $8-$14 dollars a year and web hosting can run between $3-$30 dollars a month.
You can simply visit GoDaddy.com to grab your domain name but I wouldn’t recommend building your site or using there hosting as they have a lot of glitches in my opinion. As for hosting your site, here’s a great article about the best web hosting companies.
WordPress is highly flexible and customizable and has many applications. Not only can you build your business website but you can also create a blog and write articles about your business which will help with search engine optimization.
WordPress is relatively easy to use compared to hand-coding a website from scratch. You can build a beautiful, fully functional website with just the graphical user interface.
Of course, if you’re just starting out there will be a learning curve as with anything in life but here are my 30 + over the shoulder free videos to get you on track. This video training will walk you thru the process to getting your WordPress site up and running.
There is 1 thing I want to stress when it comes to your website and that is an SSL Certificate. When you have this certificate, a padlock icon will show in the browser bar and this builds trust with your site visitors.
I’m sure you’ve seen them on most of the sites you visit and it let’s visitors know that any details they share are safe and secure thru SSL encryption. Don’t worry, the hosting options in the article above all offer free SSL for your site.
If you don’t have the time or just want someone to build your site, make sure to connect with Get Your Business Seen. They do a great job with web design, are affordable, professional and courteous.
Social media has come along way in a very short period of time and anytime there is a medium that is popular you can bet that marketing to that fan base will follow.
I suggest that you focus on 1 or 2 platforms at the most that fit your niche and build a following that you can link to your website, then you can add more if you wish. If you start out trying to be on every platform it’s just too overwhelming to keep up with.
For an example, if you’re a doctor, dentist or attorney, Pinterest or Instagram is not a platform to spend time on. I would suggest Linkedin which has a lot of professional connections.
Pinterest and Instagram platforms are perfect for restaurants, bars, bakeries, pet groomers or anything that is visual.
Of course, the kingpins of social media are Facebook and YouTube and almost any business niche can be successful with just these 2 platforms. So let’s focus on them to start out.
People are watching your video for a reason. They’re not doing it for their health. They’re not doing it because they have nothing else to do. They have needs. They have questions that they want to ask. They have problems that they want you to solve.
Take the questions you get asked all the time and answer each of them in a short video. Make sure to add a title and description that is keyword focused. By doing this it will help with search engine optimization.
It will also streamline your time as anytime someone asks you that question in the future, you can just send them a link to that video. Believe me, when you’re answering 100’s of questions over and over again, this will save you a huge amount of time.
Another thing you can do is make a video sharing 1 tip that can help people. For example, let’s say you’re a plumber. Share a tip that can help people quickly unclog a sink. By sharing tips, you are building that know, like and trust factor.
When you’re a local business owner you will want to focus your title and description on your location. For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Gulfport you could make a video and title it – What is the average house price in Gulfport Fl
The funny thing about videos that I’ve seen on YouTube is that, for the most part, they do a poor job calling people to action. Many of them just say, “click here” or “click at the description box” or “click the link.” That’s not going to work. Why? Everybody else is doing that.
If you really want to stand out and you want to build a winning brand online. You need to call people to action based on their needs.
For example, if I have a dog training video and I’m selling a dog training course, I would state my call to action in terms of the problem that the viewer has and the benefits my product brings to the table.
I would say, “Click on the link in the description box if you are sick and tired of your dog tearing up your living room. The solution that you will learn is easy and quick for both you and your four-legged companion. Click the link now because you owe it to yourself.”
Do you see what I did there? I addressed the person’s needs. You have to remember this person watching your video is not doing it because they have nothing else better to do. They have a problem that they want to fix.
The best guy I know when it comes to YouTube is Sean Cannell. He’s the CEO of Think Media and co-founder of Video Influencers. He is one of today’s leading online video experts and the world’s most watched YouTube strategist.
As of this writing, he’s offering a Free MasterClass Training where you’ll learn the tools and tactics to build a successful YouTube channel.
The best feature of Facebook that business should utilize is the ability to engage in daily conversations with your subscribers and fans.
Not only will this help you build credibility but helps you to stay on top of the latest trends and happenings and allows you to create your own viral buzz.
Having a Facebook page with numerous fans is an excellent way to showcase your business. To grow your Facebook page followers it comes down to providing value and building relationships.
If you focus on listening to your customers they will tell you what they want. Simply give it to them, engage them, build the trust and you will have a customer and fan for life.
Facebook as well as other social media platforms can be a great way to grow your followers but you have to let people know that you’re active on social media. Below are some of the ways you can do just that.
If you have a brick and mortar business make sure your customers and potential customers can follow you on Facebook. When they checkout at the register, have a QR code right there so they can scan it with their phone or even add your Facebook page address to their receipt as well.
Let your customers know why they should like you, such as to get discounts, be the first to know about new products, to learn about events, etc. You can also print cards with your Facebook address for customers to take home.
Even when you’re closed you can grow your Facebook followers. Simply put your Facebook QR poster on your window. Perhaps your store is closed on Sundays but you’re in a strip mall where other businesses are open, foot traffic will pass by your business.
If you’re a bar/restaurant owner you really should be utilizing this powerful option! This program will help if any of the following apply to you and your bar/restaurant:
1. You’re having difficulty attracting new customers to take your business to the next level.
2. You’re already investing in online advertising, but you are looking for a better return on investment.
3. You’re not getting enough people through the door, especially during ‘quiet’ week days.
Our program has the power to ‘force’ each and every one of your current customers into recommending your bar/restaurant to all of their friends on Facebook.
We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with adverts, and we’re tired of it. We’d rather trust people we know.
Can you think of the last 10 purchases you’ve made? I bet the vast majority were influenced by the opinions and input of others, right?
That’s why my Facebook “check-in” service is so powerful. This beats any marketing you are currently doing, hands down, when it comes to return on investment.
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There are plenty of plugins available to allow you to connect to Facebook and it’s easy to do. Take advantage of your website traffic and turn that traffic into Facebook fans and potentially future customers.
By adding social proof to your website it builds a sense of trust when potential customers/clients see fans bragging about your services or products.
Let your fans know about new products or services. Share tips on the best way to use them, offer discounts, share great great reviews and local events.
All of these things will build a trust in your brand and let people know that you’re business is doing well.
As you can see in the image above, there are plenty of things you can do to promote your business that you may not have thought of. Well, we’re going to add a few more tips that can help grow your local business.
#1 – Please use your website email instead of a Gmail, Yahoo or other email service provider. Nothing screams Amateur more that firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider email@example.com. Believe me, it will help build your brand.
#2 – When you get your business cards, make sure to add all relevant contact info. That means your website, email and 1-3 social media pages. People will check them out to learn more about you and your business. The same thing applies to your email signatures.
#3 – Claim your Google My Business Listing. and showcase your business with great content and images. Trust me, I still see so many local businesses that have not claimed their Google My Business listing.
#4 – Create a great Unique Selling Proposition/USP. Creating a great USP answers the customer’s first question when they discover your product or service: What makes your product or service different from the competitors? And why should I choose you?
#5 – Start building a list of customers and potential customers/clients from your website. I’m sure you’ve seen this method hundreds of times and perhaps never paid attention to what is actually happening.
Let’s say you’re looking to buy a house. You visit a real estate site and they have a form that says “Enter Your Name and Email to Get the Top 5 Mistakes New Homeowners Make”
That is called an optin form and by filling that out, you have now became part of their list. They will send you the Top 5 Mistakes report but they can now follow up with you in the future to offer you their services or products.
As you know, many people do not buy on their first visit to your site, shop or office. Maybe they will come back later, maybe not. But, if there was a way to offer them something to get their name and email, you can then follow up with them and that is huge!