Getting found in a crowded market is a challenge for many small businesses. By selecting and implementing a few, focused online marketing activities that deliver results, you can increase online visibility and be found by your ideal customers. Remember that marketing is an investment, not an expense, therefore you must invest wisely to achieve the greatest ROI.
To increase online visibility, the best marketing activities are:
Your blog is the most essential marketing tool for a small business and the hub of your inbound marketing strategy. Your blog is where you can showcase your expertise and provide value to your target audience. The more content you provide that helps your target audience, the more visible your web presence will become.
Did you know that every blog post is a unique web page? With every new page added to your website (your blog is part of your website right?), you increase your digital footprint and have one more opportunity to rank for a particular keyword phrase.
Ideally you should strive to blog as often as you can, but even one blog post a month will increase online visibility and advance your website in the search engine results.
Marketing tip: If writing is not your strength, hire a freelance writer that can create your posts. Just make sure you review the post before you publish. Find quality freelance writers on Elance.
2. Learn SEO Basics
You don’t have to be an SEO expert to increase online visibility for your content. By creating quality content and using basic on-page search engine optimization techniques, you can help your content rise in the search engine results.
On-page SEO include the following:
- Write quality content using variations on your main keyword phrase. Each page or blog post should focus on one specific topic, which naturally optimizes the page.
- Use descriptive page and post titles. WordPress creates the URL for your pages and posts based on the title of the page so write compelling titles that contain your focus keyword phrase to get the most benefits.
- Use keywords in the anchor text when linking internally. Use keyword-rich anchor text in your internal links to help the search engines understand what those pages are about.
- Write a descriptive alt tag for all images using your focus keyword phrase. Keyword rich Alt tags help your page get better rankings. Using the keyword phrase as the file name of the image as well.
- Create unique page titles using relevant keywords. Create different titles for each page or post of your site using a specific keyword phrase for which you want the page to rank. Put the most relevant keyword first in the title.
- Control the content that shows up in the search engine results. Writing quality descriptions with a call to action for each page and post gives searchers a reason to visit your site and increases click-through rates from the search engine results pages to your website.
Marketing tip: Use a plugin like WordPress SEO points out exactly where and how you should optimize your pages and posts. It’s built-in page analysis guides you on some of the more finer points of SEO.
3. Curate Content
You don’t have to create original content to be perceived as a hub of useful information. By finding and sharing content written by others enhanced with your thoughts, views and commentary, you provide a valuable service to your followers. Directing people to quality nuggets of content as social media posts or email newsletters keeps you visible while strengthening your expert reputation.
Marketing tip: Spend a little time each day and schedule posts for delivery throughout the day on your social media sites using Hootsuite. Check back at the end of the day and for activity and respond to those who have commented.
4. Get Customer Reviews
One of the best ways to increase your visibility is to encourage customers to provide reviews on sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google+, Angie’s List or other directories that are relevant to your industry. In a recent survey, 90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
Happy customers generally won’t think to post a review but it’s almost guaranteed that a customer with a negative experience will find the time to post. It is up to you to encourage reviews from your customers as part of your customer service process. You can simply ask for a review, provide a feedback form that also points to specific online profiles or if all else fails, set up a way for customers to provide a testimonial for your website.
And don’t worry if you get a negative review. No matter how good you are, some people will find something to complain about. Your goal is to get many reviews because a mix of good reviews with a couple of negative ones is better than just one positive review.
Marketing tip: On your customer testimonials page, add direct links to your Facebook Page, Google+ Page, Yelp, Angie’s List or any other listing you have where you want someone to write a review.
5. Become Active on Social Media
Every business can benefit from some social media activity. Selecting the right platforms for your business and becoming active – that is posting content, asking questions and interacting with your followers – can boost your visibility.
Social media profiles frequently appear in search engine results, therefore make sure all of your social media profiles are well written, consistently branded and optimized around how you wish to be found. Make sure to include complete contact information across all profiles. The goal of creating a large digital footprint with your website as the hub is to ensure there are many ways for people to find you.
Remember it is not about how many friends, followers or likes you have but the quality of those who connect and interact with your business.
Marketing tip: Pick one or two social media platforms that make the most sense for your business, develop your content strategy and work those consistently.
6. Implement Google+ Authorship
If you blog and create original content, implementing Google+ Authorship is not an option. Once you set it up, just keep producing fresh, relevant content. If you find yourself being attracted to search engine results with someone’s picture next to it, then you are experiencing the effectiveness of this program.
Setting up Authorship is simple so there is no excuse to not do so. Set up your Google+ profile, add contributor links to your about section and then add your Google+ to your website by entering the profile id to the Google+ area of your WordPress profile that was set up by the WordPress SEO plugin.
Marketing tip: Even if you are not active on Google+, creating your profile and joining the Google+ Authorship program will still work. Authorship is about telling Google where your original content is so they can determine its value in the search engine results.
The constantly evolving and expanding nature of online marketing can be overwhelming to a small business owner. To get the most value from your efforts, create your plan, prioritize your marketing activities and commit to spend some time every day marketing your business.
What is your most effective marketing activity that will increase online visibility?