I guess my first tip should be “Get a website” but I’m going to assume you know how important that is. Don’t just rely on social media – you don’t own your Facebook account, Facebook does. But you do own your website and these tips will get your website found online.
1. Know who your ideal customer is.
Take the time to work out who your ideal customer is, and please don’t say, “Everyone is my ideal customer”. If you try to market to everyone you end up selling to no one.
Create an avatar of your ideal customer. Note that I didn’t say your biggest customer – I said your ideal customer – there is a difference. Are they male or female? Are they young, old or in between? Are they in business? What are their biggest pains/problems?
Once you have a detailed image of who your ideal customer is, make sure your website and social media talk to them and their pain. Note: don’t solve their problem – just make it known you can solve their problem.
2. Get a free Google Places listing.
This is also known as Google My Business, Google Maps and Google+ pages (I know, it’s confusing).
A Google Places listing is free if you have a shopfront or an office location. It will show up in Google whenever someone searches for your type of business and adds your suburb to the search term. It is usually the first thing people see on the first page of Google.
3. Local business directories.
Search Google for “local business directory” and put your business on each of them – I suggest up to twenty directory listings. Make sure you use the exact address that’s on your website, and be sure to add a link to your website too. Mix up the description for each listing and don’t forget to include your keywords.
4. Blog, Blog, Blog.
I can’t stress how important this is, and it’s also free. When you blog you tell the world about you and your business. It’s important that your blogging provides relevant, unique information. Mix up the media too – video, podcast, infographics, PDF’s, slideshows and so on.
5. Optimise pages, posts and images.
Use keywords on pages, and use categories, tags and keywords in blog posts. Categories are like aisles in the supermarket, for example the cooking aisle; and tags are like items in the aisle such as spices and sauces. Keywords are the specific items in the aisle, such as “Uncle Bob’s sauce”.
Make sure you use alternative tags for all your images, also known as “alt tags”. These are the words Google uses to read your images. Also, rename your images before you upload them – don’t upload images called IMG-3945.png, change them to a name that’s relevant and keyword rich.
6. Use social media.
Every time you write a new post or page, share it on all your social media platforms, and if it’s a popular one, don’t be afraid to share it again a few months later. Pick social media platforms that your ideal customers use. There’s no point madly posting pics to Instagram or Pinterest if your customers are never there! Find out where they hang out and be sure to hang out there too – consistently.
7. Spread the word.
Get involved with forums like Flying Solo. Help people by giving honest, informative answers to their questions. Find other forums in your industry or niche and get active. Become the go-to person who gives great tips and useful ideas.
The Internet has changed the world, we all know that. Don’t be an ostrich or a shrinking violet. The online world is about giving and helping, and if you bury your head in the sand and ignore it – you will regret it. Your competition will outshine you, outrank you and outsell you. So start with these seven free strategies and improve your online presence.
Can you add any other free ways to improve your online presence?