Google and Yelp may be huge, but there are lots of other ways to get your business in front of ready-and-willing customers. For free. But if you’re not aware of them, customers won’t be aware of you. Starting now, you can stop missing all those great opportunities with this simple, two-step process.
Step One: Help Customers Find You
You’d be surprised how easy it is for customers to find you once you put yourself out there.
Facebook: The more current your profile is, including your address, phone number, business category, company description, and products and services, the higher and more frequently your business will show up in “Facebook Graph Search” and “Nearby Places.” These are Facebook’s search tools that personalize results and drive new customers to your door.
Let’s say you’re on Facebook looking for Mexican restaurants. Graph Search will show you local options and places your friends have visited and liked, as long as the business has a Facebook page. Nearby Places is similar, though it’s only on the mobile app. When customers click on the Nearby Places search bar, they see a list of local options and friends who have liked those places, and can also get directions to your business.
Online directories: Online directories including Yahoo, White Pages and MapQuest are great ways for potential customers to discover your business. Since there are so many directories, consider using a program like SinglePlatform that will populate all the relevant ones for you so you don’t have to post on individual sites.
Review sites: Ask satisfied customers to share their positive experiences on the review sites most relevant to your target audience.
Twitter: To inspire the right people to follow you, your profile and tweets should be targeted to your customers and prove what makes your business different.
Step Two: Keep ‘Em Interested
Social networks, websites and search engines display the most recent posts that are liked, shared and generally advance the conversation. Since they tend to deep-six anything that’s overtly selling, it’s important to consistently create great content.
Now, you don’t have to be an expert writer to do this; you just have to think like a customer. A good guideline is that 80 percent of your content should be educational, useful, fun or otherwise engaging, while only 20 percent can be promotional.
How else can you engage your customers with content?
Respond to posts and blogs with insightful, not obvious, information.
Promote other people’s content.
Initiate conversations by asking provocative questions.
Take short polls and use the results to create more content.
Limit your posts to 100 to 250 characters.
Use different formats including text, video, photos and links.
Follow local and industry news and trends to spark new conversations.
Your updated profile, combined with pithy contributions to online conversations, can expose your business to thousands of potential new customers. And the more you engage customers, the more they’ll engage you, creating an ever-widening circle of people who are regularly discovering your business.
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