There are many ways to increase visibility and market your small business but nothing is more effective than Internet marketing. The problem is that most small business owners don’t have the time or know how to effectively market their business. The following apps and services are what I have found to be the most effective in my many years of Internet marketing:
1.Email: Email marketing is still the most effective way to market your business despite what you may hear from many Internet marketing authorities. It allows you to effectively present and focus your message to people who showed an interest in your product or services. Mailchimp is my favorite email marketing service since it integrates with so many other applications and easily allows you to design a professional and mobile friendly looking design. Integrating an email registration form is easy for any web design newbie and they have plugins for easy integration on WordPress. Always make a compelling offer to help your website visitor give you their email address.
2.Social Media: Social media marketing is one of the most cost effective ways of getting your product or service in front of thousands of people within their chosen social media environment. The hard part is getting the message out easily and efficiently across the most important social networks. Hootsuite is still my favorite app for doing this. Unlike other social media sharing apps, Hootsuite allows you to get your message out on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn groups is the game changer to me. Why? LinkedIn groups, depending on which groups you belong to, allows you to get your message in front of hundreds of thousands of users. This volume yields much greater results with any message or campaign.
3.Twitter: Why am I focusing on Twitter? Honestly I was never a big fan of Twitter until I discovered an app called Need Tagger. Need Tagger allows you to watch when certain keywords are mentioned by users and sends you an email to show you their tweet. If appropriate, you can respond to that user and potentially find a hot lead for your product or service. This is personalized marketing and user engagement at its best. Need Tagger has both a free and paid plan making it effective and useful for any sized business.
4.Maps/Local Ads: Marketing yourself online is very difficult if you’re not showing up naturally in search results on Google and Bing. These days most small businesses are focused on local business, thus local search engine optimization (SEO) is paramount to the small business owner. To rank well locally you need a good SEO company for on page optimization but you also need to be listed on all of the important search and social directories? Until recently businesses and SEO companies needed to submit to each site manually. Thank goodness there is now an application to help! Enter YEXT; Yext.com allows you to submit all of your information once and they’ll submit to over 50 of the best directories for you. Yext is continually adding directories and will submit it for you at no extra cost.
5. Google Places for Business: If you don’t have a Google Plus personal and company page you need to get started immediately if you want to rank on Google maps! Once you finished making both you’re not finished though; you’ll need to link your Google plus business page to Google Places for Business for optimal results in local SEO. Unfortunately the Yext service does not cover this so it has to be executed separately. Don’t forget to verify your website by uploading an html file or inserting a meta tag and most importantly you must verify your address by asking for a PIN number by mail. Verifying your address via a PIN number by mail is necessary for Google to show you on the maps. Admittedly this task is a bit of work, but there is no other local SEO factor more important than this one so don’t overlook this directory/social network!
6. Bing Places for Business: This service by Bing is, just as it implies, the same as Google Places for Business, however, it is geared towards getting your business visible on the maps throughout the Bing and Yahoo! local search results.
7. Google AdWords Express: Unlike traditional AdWords, Google AdWords Express is geared towards getting your business seen on the map results. You can set the keyword groups and range for the ad to only show within a certain zip code or radius of up to 40 miles from the epicenter of your business. While you are waiting to get your business ranked well setting up an ad campaign through Google AdWords Express is your best bet for visibility on Google maps.
8. Bing Ads Express: As you may have guessed this is Bing’s version of AdWords Express with the intent of getting you seen on their Bing/Yahoo! maps. As a business you should cover all bases and although Google does have the market share you want to get every possible customer seeing your business so I highly recommend using Bing Ad’s Express as well.
9. Eventbrite: If your company offers teaching, workshops or demonstrations on how to use or implement your product or service then Eventbrite should be on your list for event marketing tools. The website makes it easy to setup an event, take payments and even helps with promoting it. You can even integrate it seamlessly with MailChimp to send out a mass email to your subscribers. Events, whether free or paid, allow you to open yourself up to your surrounding community so it should always be a part of your total marketing plan.
There you have it! Nine of the most important ways of getting your business seen and marketed with a local emphasis. Happy self-marketing!