Now more-than-ever having a powerful and effective online presence is critical for any business to survive and THRIVE. The below will put you on the right path and give you a place to start or in many cases continue…
My simple yet highly effective online tips and strategies have been combined into a Five (5) step process called The Foundation, which is a MUST for any business! Here are the five (5) pillars that make up The Foundation:
1 – Your Logo – Is the face of your company, gets you recognized, reveals your identity, fosters brand loyalty, creates an emotional connection, and creates consistency and credibility. I am sure most of you all have a logo and for those who do not, please get one. This can come in many forms, but the key point is to have one that is easily recognizable and to use it consistently.
2 – Google My Business Listing (GMB) – This is a free listing on Google’s map section. Your GMB is essential for local SEO (search engine optimization – which is a strategy that aides your website in ranking on the first page of google). It will allow your company to be shown when potential or current customers search for your business name, and depending on how well it is built compared to your competitors, it can also help you to show up when someone is searching for your services in the area you are listed. Make sure your business has an up-to-date and detailed GMB listing. If you need help creating or claiming your GMB please visit a blog I wrote – http://psdigitalli.com/claim-google-business-page-gmb/.
3 – Online Reviews – Not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can easily strengthen a company’s credibility, gain trust, and encourage people to interact with you! When a potential customer finds you online, most will look at your reviews before making a decision to do business with you, so it is critical that you have this in order. You must have a game plan for cultivating positive online reviews, addressing negative reviews, and managing your online reputation. If you do not have a game plan in place it is likely that you will have little to no reviews, with the few reviews being skewed negative. This is because most people won’t go out of their way to give a positive review but will if they have a slightly negative experience. There are multiple places your reviews can be placed, and you should be aware of all of them and managing them accordingly. At a minimum, you should monitor Google, Facebook, Yelp, and any specific lead generation platforms you might use.
4 – Website (Mobile Optimized) – A mobile formatted website is paramount! Do not underestimate the need for one. Nowadays most people will view your website on their phone because this is the primary device most people are using. Therefore, you need to make sure that the experience they have on your site is both easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing, while also clearly communicating why they should do business with you. Communicate simply and clearly your product and/or services and how someone would contact you. Clarify that message by making sure it is clear, concise, and written in laymen’s terms for the average person to understand. Your website should answer these basic questions – What do you offer? How will it make your customer’s lives better? What does one need to do in order to buy it or contact you? Why should they contact you over your competition? What sets you apart? Is it your quality, service, guarantees, price, your outstanding reputation, or all of the above?
If your site is NOT mobile-friendly, you need to address this ASAP! Mobile is everywhere and your website must be compatible. Search engines like mobile formatted sites and serve them higher on their results pages.
5 – Get on Google – Most people use Google when they are looking for your services. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways someone can search for you online. For example: they might search “HVAC contractor near me”, “Emergency Plumber”, “Best AC Installation company”, etc. These people are searching for your services because they have a need for them and if you can be found when they are looking, it can result in a high quality lead. Google is the equivalent of what the yellow pages were in their heyday in this respect.
There are several ways to get on Google. We already covered Google My Business map listing, which is something that can be done for free and can be powerful under the right circumstances, but there are several other options as well. Other options are Google AdWords, Google Local Service Ads, and Search Engine Optimization.
There is quite a lot to share on each of these strategies, but I will keep it very basic on each.
- Google AdWords – Otherwise known as pay-per-click, because you are literally only paying when someone searches for your services and CLICKS on your ad. A well-designed, properly built AdWords campaign has the potential to drive many targeted leads to a specific and relevant page on your website. You control what service(s) you want to promote and in what specific area(s) you want to be found. This can be HIGHLY effective when done correctly, or it can be a huge money pit if done poorly, therefore I strongly encourage you to work with an expert.
- Google Local Service Ads – This is one of my personal favorites as it is a PAY PER CALL lead source. It does not get much better than that in the realm of marketing. The caveat being you need to have a few elements in place to be qualified. You will need valid liability insurance, proper licenses, reviews on GMB, and go through both a personal and business background check. This is because Google is Guaranteeing your business to consumers who are searching. Businesses who service a large area, answer the phones quickly, and have many positive online reviews do the best with this solution.
- Search Engine Optimization – This is one of the trickier strategies but is the best long term solution. It requires an expert to make changes to your website and write or produce content on your behalf to show how relevant, credible and authoritative you are in your field. It typically takes 6-9 months on average to rank on the first page of google. This is a very complex subject that has much more to it than what is briefly explained above and is typically reserved for businesses that are ready to explore this option by already doing everything else mentioned.
The Foundation outlined above is something you can implement rather quickly and please note you want them all to tie into one another as part of a comprehensive foundational strategy.
I know we all have what it takes to get through this in a safe and prosperous way. Let’s be smart, fair, and kind – in short let’s all be New Yorkers together!
During his 16 years helping SMB’s across the Tri-State area, he found that the majority of business owners are overwhelmed and unsure of how to handle their digital marketing. With this in mind, he developed and created “The Foundation.”
“The Foundation” is a Simple Five-Step Process to help SMB’s reclaim what they love most, time. More time to help others, more time to make money, and more time to grow their business!