Growing your online presence might seem overwhelming. Yet, we all know it's something small businesses need to focus on. After all, the more people you can reach online, the more chances you have to win new customers. But it's hard to know where to start, especially since growing your online presence is a process that should never really stop.
The good news is that you can start small. Even a simple step toward growth can make a huge difference. Here are seven first steps you can take without investing a lot of time or money:
1. Get on local directories.
Your goal should be to get listed on every local directory your potential customers might use to find you. This is where consumers find who they want to do business with! Remember that nearly half of all Google searches are local "near me" queries.
Some obvious ones are essential, like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. If you're not on any directories, start there. Then there are opportunities for you to go even deeper. What industry-specific directories are your customers using? For example, if you're in the home improvement industry, you'll want platforms like Houzz and Angie's List on your radar.
When you stake your claim on a directory, ensure your business info is consistent everywhere. It's better for SEO, and conflicting business info might be enough to encourage a consumer to pass you by.
2. Get active on social media.
So you've created profiles on all the major social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Kudos! Now it's time to get active there. This all starts with sharing valuable content your followers want to see from you.
A great place to start is by creating a simple content calendar. Plan your posts out a few weeks in advance and start with a posting frequency you can stick with, even if it's just a couple of times per week.
Not sure what you should post? Find a balance between content about your business and posts that educate or inspire. We've got your first 30 posts covered with this Guide to Making it on Social Media. Soak in the ideas!
3. Encourage people to leave online reviews.
Once you're established on all the major review platforms, it's time to start building your presence there. Unfortunately, sitting around and hoping your customers review you is not enough. You have to be proactive.
You can ask for reviews over the phone, on social media, or through printed material in your store. But the easiest way to request reviews is through automation.
With our solution and other review management platforms, you can trigger a review request via email or text message each time a customer interacts with you. It's undoubtedly the most time-efficient way to ensure you're growing your review presence.
4. Engage with people online.
Remember that when people talk to you online, you should seize every opportunity to talk back. Having conversations and building relationships is why you're here!
If someone comments on one of your social posts, don't be afraid to engage. Ask questions, request feedback, etc. Remember to respond to your reviews, too – both good and bad.
5. Start blogging.
Starting a blog sounds scary, but it isn't. You're an expert in your field, meaning you have valuable information to share! Your blog helps you share your expertise with your customers, so write about what you know.
Maybe blogging seems too much to tackle right now, but remember, you can start super small, like blogging once a month. It might feel like pulling teeth, but sit down, write 500 words, and let it flow. Don't overthink it. You don't need to be a professional writer to write something helpful.
When you're ready, consider other types of content – newsletters, infographics, and even videos. The more of this you share, the better.
6. Experiment with Google Ads.
Google Ads are the only way to guarantee a spot on the first page of Google, so they're certainly worth your consideration. When you advertise with Google, you have complete control over how much you spend. It's also pay-per-click, so you only pay when someone takes action on your ad.
Since there's so little risk involved, it's a no-brainer. Start with a small budget, experiment with targeting and ad copy, and see what works for you.
Still, are you not sold on Google Ads? We wrote a whole post about why we think you should give them the time of day.
We can help you with these first steps and beyond if you're a current client. So make the most out of your subscription with us! Call 208-749-9364 or message us at [support link]to get started.
Interested in joining the thousands of small business owners growing their businesses online with Canyon Crest Creative? We set you up with everything you need to take the above steps. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.