Owning a small local business is a huge accomplishment for anyone. In a capitalist society, it is our privilege to be able to take our dreams and skills and turn them into a profitable business. But, that doesn’t mean the road will be simple — in fact, it’s more often quite the opposite.
A small and/or local business is challenged with bringing as many people in the door as possible. Particularly if the business does not offer an e-commerce option for nationwide customers, it’s vital that a business have a strong marketing strategy to boost their online presence.
Does Your Business Need to Have a Stronger Online Presence?
The short answer? Absolutely. No matter how small the business, having a digital presence is important in today’s market. The days of looking up a business in a local Yellow Pages are gone, and instead customers are turning to the internet to find a good fit.
For example, let’s say that a budding boutique medical practice is starting out. The practice offers quick access to nurse practitioners and doctors, and even offers low-cost treatments and appointments for those who are uninsured.
Studies show that 80 percent of internet users have searched for health-related topics online. This percentage trends upward each year as more and more users are utilizing the internet to find answers and research providers.
Therefore, a health practice cannot simply survive with a local listing on Google and a rudimentary website. Find out what prospective patients in the area are searching for and use this opportunity to provide educational content on the website and/or on social media. This helps the practice show up higher in search results and also builds a solid reputation for incoming patients.
Ways to Boost a Local Business Online
So, what are some effective ways to boost a company’s online presence, even in a smaller market? Here are some easy ways to start:
Education: Is there a way to offer SEO-friendly educational material on the website? Consulting with a digital marketing expert who can help optimize content for search engines will be helpful in ensuring the content that is put up is seen. But given how many internet searches are done on any given topic each day, it would be beneficial to be able to capitalize on this.
Reviews: Are you utilizing reviews to your business’ advantage? Reviews are akin to word of mouth marketing and can be helpful (or harmful) to any business. Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and Yelp, and be sure to address any negative review personally.
Engagement: Even if a business has a social media and/or online presence, it does nothing if the page doesn’t actually interact with its patrons. Take the time each day to interact with customers by answering comments or commenting on other pages with useful or engaging content. By dedicating the time to being present on social media and by responding to emails promptly, the business will boost its reputation and build customer loyalty in the process. Proper engagement technique also helps keep the page visible on users’ news feeds.