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10 foolproof ideas for promoting your business online

online promotionFinding the most effective ways to promote your business is a challenge we all face as business owners. Where should you focus your efforts? How do you know that they’ll be seen?

The first step is understanding who your customers and what you want your online promotions to achieve:

  • Where do your ideal customers hang out?
  • How do they spend their time?
  • What interests them?
  • How can you make their lives look better in some way or solve a pain point?
  • Are you trying to raise visibility, boost engagement, sell products or services, or get people to phone up and make an important?

By understanding your customers and your marketing goals, you’ll be much better placed to make strategic decisions about where to place your energies and marketing budget.

In this week’s blog, we’ve put together a list of 10 easy ways you can promote your business online today:

Idea 1: Create a Facebook business page

If you don’t already have one, it’s worth creating a Facebook page to promote your business online. It’s free and to a large extent, you have control over what you post and how often.

  • Facebook has 1.28 billion active monthly users (stats from Facebook) and is growing at a rate of 15% year on year
  • A staggering 802 million people log on to the social network every day, generating an average of 4.5 billion daily likes
  • Nearly 30% of Facebook users are age 25 to 34, which is the prime demographic for many businesses, thanks to the expendable income of this age group

It is possible to build a strong audience organically, i.e. without paid advertising. It takes consistency, understanding your audience and a willingness to keep an eye on the stats, but it’s very possible. You can also build engagement using paid Facebook ads, which enable you to really drill down your message to a highly targeted audience of potential customers.

In most cases, people not only go online to check a business’s web presence but also to connect with them on Facebook. If you don’t have a page, your customers might look for a business that does.

Idea 2: Participate in a Twitter hour

A Twitter hour or Twitter chat is essentially a regular hour in the week or month where people come together to network using a designated #hashtag within all their Tweets to show that they’re taking part. Twitter hours usually focus around a specific industry, topic or shared interest, so there are Twitter hours for regional networking groups, Christmas gift suppliers, life and business coaches, wine enthusiasts, mumpreneurs, vegetarians and many more.

To interact with people participating in the same Twitter hour, just search for the appropriate #hashtag or click on the #hashtag in someone else’s tweet.

You might want to try introducing your business during a Twitter hour, offering advice, answering questions or letting people know about a special offer. Twitter hours can be a good way to find out about local PR opportunities or to connect with businesses whose products or services complement your own.

Idea 3: Build your presence on Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic platform for all sorts of businesses to grow their online presence and get in front of new customers. Why? According to stats published by Digital Marketing Ramblings:

  • Pinterest has 70 million users, 80% of whom are female
  • The average user spends 98 hours on Pinterest every month
  • 18% of users have an income of $75,000 or above
  • 49% of users now say that they turn to Pinterest instead of browsing catalogues
  • Blogs make up the most popular pins
  • The average sale order value for visitors referred by Pinterest is $58.95
  • Each Pin averages two new visitors and six page views to a business website

Many companies worry that they won’t be able to use Pinterest because they don’t sell products or have a company that lends itself to visual representation. In fact, most businesses can use Pinterest effectively.

The key is to set up a series of boards that will appeal to your users. Pin your blog posts, using the main image from the article as the image you pin; pin industry news, pin your business vision, inspirational quotes, infographics, pins from your network of suppliers – the only limit is your imagination.

Idea 4: Add your website to good directory sites

On 24th July 2014, Google rolled out a new algorithm update designed to improve the quality and relevance of local searches; this update – in the absence of an official name – has been dubbed ‘Google Pigeon’.

Google is aiming to help people find good quality local businesses that are just a stone’s throw from their physical location. One way the search engine giant plans to achieve this is to lend more weight to local directory websites which are likely to appear higher up searches because they contain so much local information.

With this in mind, it’s worth spending a couple of hours looking for high quality national and local directory sites and adding your business. Most offer a free listing, as well as more comprehensive paid options.

Idea 5: Set up a Google for Business page

Knowing that Google is looking to prioritise local listings for physical businesses especially, it’s a smart move to make sure you have a Google for Business page. Recent changes to the Google Maps search facility mean that local businesses with a Google page now appear on Google Maps and on a scrollable display on the left-hand side of the screen, enabling searchers to instantly access reviews, your contact details, location and opening hours.

Idea 6: Host a hangout on air on Google+

Rather like running a webinar, you can host a Google+ hangout on air as a way to present information on a specific topic to existing and potential customers. If you’re a social media expert, for example, you might want to run a hangout about using Google+ or you might be a Virtual Assistant offering a hangout about time management tips.

This is a fantastic tool for live presentations and conversations designed to showcase your knowledge and expertise in your field. A Google+ hangout is limited to 10 attendees but a Google+ Hangout on Air is a broadcast to as many people as want to attend. You can also record your on air hangout and post it to your YouTube channel to continue to generate interest and website traffic after the event.

Idea 7: Blogging

Blogging is potentially the most effective way to build your online presence. Google and the other major search engines are constantly looking for websites that regularly provide fresh and original content for their visitors. Adding a weekly, fortnightly or even monthly blog to your website sends a strong signal to Google that yours is a site that is well maintained and targeted to the needs of your customers.

Each time you write a blog post, you can promote it throughout the week on all of your social media platforms. It’s a good idea to use short sound-bites from your blogs as tweetable quotes and to pin each blog to a dedicated board on Pinterest. If you have a WordPress website, you can install a plugin such as ‘Evergreen Post Tweeter’ which will post links to your archived blogs to Twitter so that you can continue to create interest in your blog posts long after you write them.

Idea 8: Create an irresistible freebie

One of the most important steps you can take as a business, if you’re not doing this already, is to grow your mailing list. While followers on social media and traffic to your website are all great, they’re really just numbers unless you find a way of capturing these people’s contact details. Remember, it’s much easier to sell to someone who has already heard of and expressed an interest in your business.

Offering an ‘irresistible freebie’ like a free ebook, video tutorials, white paper or templates is a fantastic way to give your potential customers something in exchange for their email address. Simply feature your freebie prominently on your website and explain, as part of the sign-up process, that you will not pass on their details but will send them your regular company newsletter. This gives you an ongoing reason to contact people on your mailing list and remain in the forefront of their minds.

When deciding what irresistible freebie would be best, think about what you could give your potential customers that would demonstrate your expertise and would be of relatively high value to them. The key is to make them think, “Wow, if I get this much for free, what would I get if I paid to work with them?”

Idea 9: Create vlogs (video blogs)

There are some amazing statistics about the impact and importance of video marketing online. According to Dr James McQuivey of Forrester Research, just one minute of video can have as much value as 1.8 million words in terms of the information the human brain is able to take in and process from visual and verbal information. That’s the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages!

Nearly 50% of Internet users watch online videos every month. In fact, there are 100 million of us who watch videos every day. 90% of shoppers now say that video is an important part of their buying decision and 75% of executives watch business-related videos online every week.

Think about setting up a YouTube channel and adding short weekly video blogs about a topic that will appeal to your customers; you could also try tutorials, how-do videos, interviews or masterclasses.

Idea 10: Get podcasting

In case you’re not sure, a podcast is “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically”.

Thanks to the rise in smartphones and tablet PCs, Podcasts are hugely popular at the moment and a fantastic way to boost your business’s visibility online. Where they triumph over video in some ways is that people can download and listen to podcasts while they do their housework, their daily commute or in the car.

There is some great free software available that will let your record a podcast, which you can then submit to iTunes to be available for download or even for purchase.

As with blogs and videos, it’s a good idea to think about what your potential customers most want to know and produce podcasts that answer their questions or meet their needs in some way.

We’d love to hear how you get on with these ideas and, of course, if you need any help, give Grafixbiz a call on 01733 308198 and we’ll be happy to help.

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