In the digital era, online visibility is crucial for all businesses, especially small businesses. There are numerous ways in which small businesses can increase their online visibility at very little cost, which is one of the many advantages to digital marketing – small businesses can level the playing field with larger businesses with the right digital strategy. A digital strategy needn’t be a complex plan; however, it does need to cover a few vital areas, namely – a business website, social media and business listings.
There are a few more things that could be added to this list, for example, guest blogs that link back to the business’s website, but as long as the three areas abovementioned are covered correctly, a small business’s efforts to increase their online visibility will be off to a good start. A business can always add other activities that help to increase their online visibility later if they decide it’s advantageous to do so.
A business website is essential these days for all small business owners. It doesn’t matter how many people you employ, what you do or the areas that your business covers, if you’re to operate a successful business that grows over time, you need to have a business website. This is true even if you have social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter and list your business in a leading online directory, as these accounts and listings will link to a business website, so you need to have one to link to!
What’s more, nothing compares to a good business website for showing potential clients and customers what it is that your business does so well. It’s an absolute must-have for all businesses, so arrange a business website that enables you to do the following:
- Take messages and enquiries from prospective clients and customers
- Showcase your business’s products and services and list prices
- Show the location of your business or list the areas covered
Furthermore, a website that’s easily navigable and looks professional also conveys a powerful impression of the business to people who may be interested in its products and services. As websites are now the first contact that most people have with a business, apart from online business directories (discussed in detail below), it’s crucially important that the website conveys a positive image.
There are now quite a few online business directories for businesses to list in these days. However, when looking for a suitable directory to list your business in, you must bear in mind that some have greater coverage than others, some have a better reputation than others, and others are simply not suitable for one or more of many reasons, including inflated prices, low visitor rates and many more.
What that means for small businesses looking for a good online business directory that will enhance their online visibility (business listing websites are an excellent means of increasing online visibility), is that they need to know what to look for in a good service provider, including the following:
- Does the business directory provide adequate coverage?
- What are their rates like and are they cost-effective?
- Does the business directory have a good reputation?
With so many online business directories to list on, it’s a wise move not to take any chances by sticking to the big names, the household names that people across the UK have grown up with all their lives and know they can trust. While you may find some new local directories that offer good value for money (there are more than a few about), you will generally find it advantageous to list in a major one that attracts greater visitor numbers and then list in a smaller, more localised one to further increase your online visibility and make your business more accessible to potential clients and customers in your area.
Furthermore, make the most of the opportunities that listing in a leading online business directory presents you with. That means making sure you have a professional logo to upload to your listing page, ensuring all the products and services your business provides are listed, and that you check your emails regularly so that you don’t miss any enquiries from people interested in your business services.
While a Facebook account can’t take the place of a professional website that’s listed on a major online business directory, in a day and age in which social media interactions are increasingly commonplace, if you’re not on Facebook (at least), you’re missing out on some excellent opportunities that are unique to social media. Social media has so much to offer businesses interested in increasing their online visibility and establishing a stronger online presence and it often has the effect of making them the number one service provider in their target service area – when used correctly. Some of the many advantages to having a social media account and using it regularly include:
- The ability to engage with clients, customers and employees like never before
- The opportunity to establish the business as a leading local expert
- Frequent opportunities to connect with more people
It’s a mistake not to be active on social media these days, so don’t let your local competitors gain a leading edge over your business, get a Facebook account (if you haven’t already got one) and get active. There are some excellent online articles that you can read through to gain a good understanding of what you need to do to take advantage of the many opportunities that social media offers business owners.
In conclusion, every small business can enhance their online visibility and enable themselves to be discovered by potential clients and customers in need of the products or services that they offer. A simple digital strategy is essential to coordinating their digital marketing efforts, and the three most important areas to cover are the development and maintenance of a professional business website, online listings in a popular business directory and, of course, social media, as every business needs to have a Facebook account to interact with and engage their clients and customers online.