The Internet has changed the way people communicate and interact with each other. It has also dramatically affected businesses and how people shop for products and services. While many local businesses rely on traditional marketing methods such as the newspaper, radio, TV, coupons, etc., these are proving limited without combining online marketing strategies.
People today start shopping on search engines like Google and BING. Social media is a major tool for news and information as well. As has become readily apparent to all small business owners these last few years, in order to reach customers where they are you need to have a website to help people find your business.
“If you build it, they will come.”
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to know and love the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ and recognize that famous line. I see this statement used often, even in the context of web and unfortunately it’s just not true. You can’t just build a website and hope, “They will come.” That would be like building a gorgeous new home for sale and not letting anyone know it’s there! Unless someone happens to be driving by no one will find your home. The same goes on the web.
Getting your website discovered today involves optimizing for searchers, not search engines. If your goal is to help people find your business online then you need to optimize your website to create value for potential customers, expand your footprint through social media, and market your business online to help people find you.
Traditional methods of on-page SEO and the strategic use of keywords, page titles, headers, images, and more are still important, but they are just one piece of a larger puzzle. SEO by and large is focused primarily on visibility, and though search visibility is obviously still very important to most businesses, things are no longer that simple and even that is no longer enough. Online visibility is now about so much more than search.
Your website isn’t an online billboard. The goal for your small business website should be to:
With the dramatic growth of social media and the new ways we can now analyze our traffic and results, we have to take advantage of a variety of online marketing channels to help people find our business online. Just like the gorgeous house sitting off in the distance, you need to let people know it exists in order to get them to come by for a visit. Once they are there it’s up to you to showcase your property and sell them on the value.