You’ve taken the first big step and started a business. You know that a website and a social media presence are essential in order for your consumers to find you online, but did you know that there are a plethora of additional free and inexpensive resources to help that process along?
Below are just a few options for ensuring your startup is easily found by your key consumers:
Launch a website
This is probably the most obvious marketing tactic for your business. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to have a business without having a website for people to visit, no matter your industry. There are many different resources out there to build a website.
There are user-friendly and inexpensive website development tools online you can use to build your website, such as Weebly, WordPress or Squarespace. There is always the option of working with a web development or marketing company to help get a website up and running.
Create social pages
Social media channels are another no-brainer, but still a must-have. Whether you have started an engineering firm or a clothing boutique, there is a social channel applicable to your business. LinkedIn and Twitter are common social channels used by B2B businesses, whereas tools such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are channels often used by B2C businesses.
Either way, deciding which channels to be present on is an important part of your marketing plan. Not only is a presence on these channels important, but actually staying active and posting content, too. This shows your followers that you are a successful, active and engaging company.
Register your business with Google
While some entrepreneurs may neglect this step, it’s one of the most important, as we all know how much Google is used by everyone’s target consumer. Have you ever been on Google and go to type in a product or service you’re looking for? Let’s say you’re searching for an Italian restaurant. Have you ever noticed the content that pops up on the right of your search page, where you see a map of the nearest location, hours, contact information and a star rating? This pops up because that Italian restaurant has registered its business with Google.
Here are the steps you should take to register your business with Google:
- Log onto https://www.google.com/business and create an account
- Type in your credentials such as: business name, address, phone number, category, etc.
- Once you submit your information, your business will not show up on Google until you verify your business. Google will send you a verification code via snail mail. This is to confirm you’ve typed in the correct address. Once you receive this in the mail, you will need to plug in the verification code on your business account online. Click “Enter Code” on the blue banner on the top of the screen
- You’re all set! Once you have your account verified, you can add images, hours and more
- Note that when you have your Google account live, customers can post reviews about your business. The better reviews you have, the more likely someone will be willing to conduct business with you. This is what the star rating is used for
Register your business with local directories
Another great way to get noticed, especially if you are a business seeking local consumers, is to register your company through local directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. Yelp and Yellow Pages are both free and easy to register with. Make sure you go through the process to verify your business in order to confirm your business submission.
There are so many platforms in which to advertise online, it can seem overwhelming at first.
Some of the ways to advertise online include:
- Local directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages)
- Social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn)
- Google AdWords
If you are a B2C business, where getting your company in front of as many consumers’ eyes as possible is your strategy, then online advertising is your game. Advertising through social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram can be highly targeted due to all of the information consumers choose to put on their profiles – you can get down to targeting consumers by age, gender, location, interests and so on. When you advertise through these channels, your advertisement will show up on your target’s newsfeed.
If you are a B2B business, advertising through LinkedIn or Google AdWords is probably a better option. Similar to Facebook and Instagram, you are able to precisely target your ideal consumer based on the information they choose to put on their profiles. Some of the ways you can target individuals on LinkedIn are by getting down to the company they work for, company size, industry, job title, job function, age, etc. Google AdWords allows you similar targeting tools.
Google AdWords is another unique tool, which allows you to select keywords your consumers are using to search with on Google to find the product or service they’re looking for.
If you decide to include online advertising as part of your marketing plan, it is recommended that you manage and regularly track them to make sure what you chose in your settings is working, such as your keyword list and targeting tactics.
Track your marketing efforts’ performance
All of these efforts are meant to help drive traffic to your business, but the big question is, what is working? One of the most important parts of your marketing plan is to track your efforts, and you can track your website visitors through a tool called Google Analytics.
Congratulations on your new startup business! There are many free and inexpensive online resources out there to help get your new business noticed, you just have to be familiar with them.