When starting a business, your online presence will have a big impact on whether your business will end up successful. There are a number of strategies businesses need to implement in order to be successful online, but below are a few of the easy wins for small and local businesses. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the crucial ways you can kick start your online presence!
1 Get a good website
A good website would seem the most obvious first step, but small businesses often overlook the benefits of a well-designed website. If your business does not have a website the first step is securing a domain name and hosting package. There are many website builders for those who would like the DIY experience. However, be careful when selecting a Content Management System (CMS).
WordPress is the most recommended CMS for small businesses. WordPress has some great free features and offers the chance to grow. Popular drag and drop web page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder make it easy for people with no coding experience to create well designed and functional websites.
2 Create a Google My Bussiness Listing
A Google My Business Listing is one of the easiest wins for online visibility. If someone directly searches your business name online, the GMB listing will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. It gives the searcher essential information about your business, such as your phone number, address, services and ratings. So be sure to fill out all relevant information and optimise the listing for the best results.
A GMB listing will also ensure your business is eligible for the Google Map Pack, so your business can round up all those local customers.
3 Get reviews & show them
Online reviews are the lifeblood of small and local businesses. If you sell similar products to your competitors, other than price, reviews will often be the deciding factor for your customers when selecting which company to purchase from. Findstack reports that “72% of customers say they use Google reviews to find businesses,” and this is pretty consistent across all industries. Would you buy from a business that has no online reviews? I doubt it. So, the best way to increase trust with potential customers is to create a Trustpilot account and GMB listing and start actively seeking reviews from happy customers. But what if you received a bad review? Use it as a chance to prove to potential customers that you take ALL feedback on board.
TIP: Google ‘how to respond to a negative review’…there are plenty of sample scripts to help you compose a well thought out response. Most people will filter reviews for the 1 star to loom for the bad ones. Seeing how a business responds can go a long way to converting a sale.
4 Get listed on online directories
Local directories are like free billboards for your business. They are referred to as NAP listings (name, place, address). Be sure that your listings are accurate and consistent. You don’t want potential customers trying to call your business on an old delisted phone number. Free and popular directories in Australia include websites like localsearch.com.au, truelocal.com.au and hipages.com.au.
Remember also to get listed on directories specific to your industry. For example, if you are a local doctor’s surgery, you might want to consider getting listed on healthengine.com.au or similar directories.
5 Sign up for social media & be active
Creating social media profiles for your business seems like a no brainer but businesses can often overlook it. It does not mean you need to Google ‘all social media sites’ and create an account on every one. But you should sit down and think about where your customers might hang out online and whether you can use that platform to give your business exposure. A good rule of thumb is all businesses should have a Facebook (Meta), Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter profile. You may also want to consider a YouTube profile if applicable to your business.
Remember to post regularly on your social media profiles and keep a 70/30 split on posts for informational and transactional. For example, if you were a local air conditioning business, you would post 3-4 times a week about tips to keep your home cool and maybe 1-2 times about specials for this month. However, if you don’t have the resources or time to post that frequently – just aim for a few times a week and be consistent!
There you have it. A few simple tips and easy wins to increase your business’s online visibility and start you on your way to dominating your local niche!