Your company’s online presence matters whether you have a brick and mortar business or an e-commerce store that exists solely on the Internet. Increasing your online presence is a smart way to boost traffic (both online and in the real world) and increase your sales. It isn’t always easy to get started, however. Busy entrepreneurs often lack spare time to focus on digital marketing. If this applies to you, you should consider outsourcing your digital marketing needs to ensure your online presence is being effectively managed.
Take advantage of Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) is an online tool that any organization or business can use to curate their online presence on Google properties. These include search results pages and Google Maps. Although any business can use GMB, it’s particularly helpful for brick and mortar companies that primarily target local customers. This is because users searching for local products and services will receive a list of suggested businesses near them.
For example, let’s say that a Google user is searching for restaurants in their zip code. Google will give them a list of nearby possibilities, all conveniently pinpointed on Google Maps. Each restaurant listing is accompanied by relevant information, such as their hours and contact information.
If your business isn’t on GMB, you’re missing out on countless opportunities to connect with potential customers. Start by claiming your free GMB listing and verifying it. Then, update your details, such as your business’ address, hours of operation, and products or services available for purchase. Photos can help your business listing stand out from the crowd. Consider adding photos of your team or the inside of your business. You can also post regular updates that draw attention to specific services, products, or sales opportunities.
Actively respond to customer reviews.
If you’ve claimed your free GMB listing, you can also use it to respond to customer reviews left on Google. Other reviews left on other sites, such as Yelp, may require you to claim your business listing on those sites. Wherever your reviews are left, it’s best to respond to them in a timely manner. Customers often rely on user reviews—and the organization’s responses—to evaluate the trustworthiness of that organization and to make purchasing decisions.
Responding to positive reviews is fairly straightforward. At minimum, you should thank the user for leaving a review. You might also want to leave a personalized note. For instance, if a user praised one particular service or product, you might want to suggest that they try a related service or product. If the user praised a particular team member, let them know you’ve passed along their positive feedback to that team member.
Negative reviews are a little trickier to respond to. Although any response is better than no response, you’ll want to choose your words carefully. If possible, check your customer records for the reviewer to see if they have a legitimate complaint. If so, honestly acknowledge the problem and let the person know that your business will fix it. You might also want to offer a discount on future purchases.
If you have no record of that person being a customer, you might want to write something like this: “Although we have no record of your purchase/visit/appointment, we assure you that we take all feedback to heart. We continually evaluate our business processes to ensure exemplary customer service.” To all users who read this review, this response is an indicator that the negative review is unjustified.
Optimize your website for mobile users.
Another simple way to increase your online presence is to court mobile users. A significant percentage of web users access websites via mobile devices. If your online presence isn’t optimized for mobile users, you’re missing out on opportunities to boost traffic.
In fact, some business owners who are building a new site from the ground up focus on optimizing for mobile first and desktop second. This approach is sound if customers primarily find your business with smartphones and other mobile devices. When optimizing for mobile, focus on the following:
- Optimize the site to load quickly (smartphones aren’t as powerful as desktops).
- Make sure your web host can accommodate plenty of traffic.
- Think small: Eliminate or reduce excess clutter like large images, lengthy paragraphs, and oversized contact forms.
- Eliminate superfluous social plugins and popups on your site’s mobile version.
Lastly, use a smartphone to review your newly mobile-friendly website to ensure everything loads properly and looks appropriate.
Focus on email marketing.
Business owners often assume that email marketing has gone the way of snail mail. But in fact, email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment of all digital marketing channels. It allows you to speak directly to your potential and current customers, even if they hadn’t planned on visiting your website or blog any time soon.
You’ll need to start by building an email list. Since people are often hesitant to hand out their email addresses, you’ll need to get creative. If you have a blog, use the call to action (CTA) to direct people to your e-newsletter. Try to tie the newsletter into the subject of your blog. For instance, mention that your e-newsletter contains more helpful hints beyond what your blog post explained. Include a sign-up link in the CTA.
- You can also use your social media accounts to draw attention to your e-newsletter. Mention the specific benefits that people will receive when they sign up. For instance, your newsletter might offer information or special discounts that aren’t available to anyone else. And of course, you should offer users the option to subscribe whenever they make a purchase or book an appointment online.
While you’re building up your email list, you’ll also need to focus on creating high-quality content for your e-newsletter and other sales emails. The content should reflect your brand voice and strive to resonate with your target demographic. Try to give your audience something unexpected. Humor often works well in this channel. Although recipients might not bother to read an email that sounds “stuffy,” they might love an email infused with humor.
You can increase your online presence in 2021 by partnering with Salem Surround. Our digital marketing experts take a results-based approach to each client, developing marketing solutions designed to boost traffic and enhance conversions. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help your business flourish online.