One of the first things a business owner needs to do is to establish his presence on the Internet. You can do this even before a store has been setup. Pre-opening buzz is always a good thing to have before your operations go live.
Most of you will have gone through some of these steps. What I did was to combine all the important and synergistic steps together into a logical sequence. Hopefully, this article is useful to the beginners and provides the more experienced practitioners a handy guide.
- Get your own domain. Establish your website or blog and start filling it up with relevant information. Make sure you put in interesting introduction for yourself and your business. Fill it up with nice pictures of your establishment, your staff, and your products or menu. Your new business listing has to have a home page it can direct customers to.
- Plan out your SEO campaign. Your keywords should all appear on your website or Blog. Make sure to follow all the acceptable practices for SEO. Your goal should be to get on the most relevant and productive long tail search terms and reach 1st page for your business on the local search results. It may take some time for your new business listing to come up. This is why it’s important to start early.
- Run Solo Ads. Get the word out to people who are interested in your niche. Shop around for the best solo ad deals. Create an engaging landing page. Encourage people to sign up to your mailing list with high value incentives.
- Build up your Social Media presence. Try to get each and every one of your customers who has social media account, to subscribe to your page. Post interesting stuff. Engage and interact with them on the page to build loyalty. Most importantly, offer promos for repeat business and to generate good word of mouth.
- Register on Local Business Directories. Do not ignore these even if they seem like they’re not relevant anymore. They still provide backlinks and help with SEO. Skip the paid services and go for the free moderated directories. Search engines tend to respect these sites more than the directories that offer free listing. Joining spammy directory lists could seriously affect the credibility of your new business listing.
- Claim your profile on Review sites. These are important to a lot of business because of the activity generated by the reviews and the review site’s high ranking on search results. You want to be in control of your profile here to ensure that you’re always on top of any poor feedback posted on these sites. It’s also important that you own your business’ profile on these sites to ensure that potential customers get accurate information.
- Post videos regularly on Youtube. If you have a physical location or an actual storefront, I’d suggest posting videos of your store’s contents or display window here. Special events held in your store, awarding of prizes for contests, or any other special events that happened at your store should be posted here. Make sure you put a link back to your main site or your Facebook page so that you can grow your fans there.
- Be an active member of Niche Forums. This is more for specialty sellers or niche businesses. An artisanal food supplier is a good example of a business that should be active on these sites. If you have a business whose main product isn’t generally for public consumption, then these niche sites can help you get in touch with people who actually need your product.
The New Year has just arrived and a lot of you out there are probably considering starting your own business. After you’re done with the paper work on your new business and before you start selling or construction, claiming your brand online and building it up should be something you’ve already planned for. Bear in mind that a significant amount of good sales is lost if you don’t take charge of your business’ online identity.