Where Small Businesses Should Start on the Internet
I was speaking to two different small business owners recently. One owns a drive through coffee kiosk and has 400+ friends on Facebook and hundreds of Twitter followers who are alerted whenever he gets a new product. The other owner has a cleaning service with no online presence and no idea of where to start. If you are like the coffee kiosk owner and very web savvy — this article isn’t for you. If, like the cleaning company owner, you have no idea where to start on the internet read on.
The internet is truly a huge place. It’s even more huge than most of us can imagine. Luckily, to increase your small business web presence you don’t have to take it all on yourself. You can also have a positive impact without a great deal of effort or money. Let’s talk about how to get started.
Google your business/self. Go on. Go to a browser and type in your business name in the search bar. Do you come up? Is anyone writing about you? Do you like what you see? Can your customers find you? Probably not. So let’s start the process of correcting that. First, have a quick read of this article that explains why you should have a google profile. Or I can summarize for you that it’s because the profiles show up nicely in google searches. Then go and set up a google profile for your business (you can create one for yourself at the same time). If you don’t have an email address now would be a good time to set up a free one using gmail. Here’s a list of ten things to keep in mind as you create your profile.
Next, let’s get you set up on a review site. Many small businesses have a local trade area only. If most of your clientele or customers are local then the first place you should start out your web odyssey is with Yelp. If you haven’t heard of it, Yelp is an online directory and rating site for businesses. Your customers can use it to rate your business and describe their pleasure (or not) with your establishment. As a business owner, you can take over your business profile, add details and respond to and communicate with your customers via Yelp. Get started here.
Last but not least, you should set your business up with a WorkingPoint account AND create a free small business web profile. They’re both free and quick to do. Once you have a public profile in WorkingPoint your customers can find and communicate with you and other like-minded businesses can as well. Here is a good example of a WorkingPoint profile: Island Planet Sails. We work hard to make sure the WorkingPoint profiles show up well in Google searches.
Remember this is only a starting point. Maintaining your business’s web presence could have a huge impact on your marketing and sales efforts and bring you new customers you can’t get any other way. It takes time and effort but will pay off handsomely in the long run.