From Family Features
Whether you’re just starting a small business or looking to expand an existing operation, marketing your business can seem daunting. The key to marketing success is to establish your presence, drive leads to your business and expand your audience.
Even for businesses that serve a primarily local clientele, it’s important to remember that today’s customers are more connected than ever before. Technology enables them to rely on mobile devices, web searches and other online tools to research businesses and make purchasing decisions.
To ensure your business is effectively operating in today’s connected local economy, YP, a leading local marketing solutions provider, offers the following advice based on experience running thousands of marketing campaigns:
•Mobile matters. Almost everyone today owns a smartphone. Yet you would be surprised by the number of businesses that have not optimized their websites for mobile devices. Not only do mobile responsive sites load faster and provide a better experience, they also help with your ranking in search engine results (also known as search engine optimization or SEO).
•Keep your online presence current. Think of your online presence as a business card you hand out to prospective customers, and take the time to ensure your digital and mobile presence is current and cohesive across all online media. Have you recently changed any contact information, such as phone number, email or address? Supervising this online business card takes time and effort, but the payoff comes with customers who can easily find you and your products or services. Consider setting a calendar reminder to review all online channels for relevance and accuracy on a regular basis.
•Create valuable content. Can’t think of what to say? Customers are often drawn to tip-based content related to your industry or product, such as best practices or top 5 tips. If you aren’t the strongest writer, find someone on your team who is, or seek professional help outside of your organization. Rich content, especially photos and videos, can also help engage consumers.
•Keep content fresh. Once you develop content, you need to keep it fresh. As a rule of thumb, you should update images on a quarterly basis. For blogs, update the content weekly, and host the blog on your business’ primary website to keep your audience from clicking away from your site. Post blog headlines and timely information or calls to action above the fold (where they can be seen without scrolling) so customers can access them easily.
•Reputation and reviews matter. Establishing a loyal customer base means monitoring your online ratings and reviews on a regular basis. A business owner who reaches out to customers for all feedback they provide — whether positive or negative — creates a powerful statement. Addressing or correcting any errors shows accountability for your business and can build loyalty.
•Drive traffic. Bidding on keywords is the foundation of a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign, which allows you to promote your business within online searches. As you begin, opt for smaller, more targeted keywords such as your company name. Stay away from generic terms that describe your business, such as “bakery” or “cafe,” as this will bring competition from other businesses of the same general type and more expensive click costs. Instead, try the category plus geography keywords, such as “cafe St. Louis” or “bakery Denver,” to drive local traffic to your site.
• Mind your spelling. Another tip for your SEM campaign — when people search for your business, count on a few misspellings and typos and put those mistakes to work. Bid on misspelled words about your business to drive that traffic to your site. This strategy can also keep click costs lower by adding relevant words with less competition to your SEM campaign.
Small businesses often work within a limited budget. But don’t let pinched funds get in the way of smart spending. Products that boost your digital presence and performance, such as those offered by YP, can help your business get found by consumers and grow your customer base.
For more information, visit www.marketingsolutions.yp.com.
A tool for your trade
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