A lot of smaller organisations ask themselves ‘how can I improve my online presence, when I’m competing against huge corporations?’ You may start to feel a bit defeatist – is it even possible to increase your online visibility as a small business? While you may not be able to compete with business giants like Amazon or eBay, there are a lot of techniques you can try in order to expand your reach.
So even if you’re a recent startup or have only just created a website for your business, there are ways to increase your online presence and start to gain a following. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, it’s not likely to be a quick process, but the strategies we’ve outlined below are bound to pay off in the end!
Do You Need An Online Presence?
There are several reasons why businesses believe they don’t need a website. Often it’s the expense, or lack of technical know-how. Or perhaps the company thinks they get enough business already, so don’t want any more work coming their way. But the fact of the matter is, it’s simple (and relatively cheap) to create a website, and you could probably afford to take on more business if you were saving time in other areas. For instance, if your site answers common queries, you won’t need to spend hours responding to the same questions!
Not every organisation needs to have growth aspirations, but not having a website could really hold you back. An online presence will instantly give you credibility – it’s easy for viewers to see that you’re a legitimate company. It can additionally help you stand out from the crowd, especially if your competitors don’t have much online visibility.
There is also a huge online market. Before making a purchase decision, around 80% of people research the business online. That’s a huge percentage of people to miss out on! Not to mention the fact that a website is always available to view, even if your potential customers can’t speak to you 24/7.
Find a Business Near Me
When it comes to increasing your online presence, one of the best, and simplest, things to do is ensure that you’re included in local searches. So if someone were looking for ‘digital marketing agencies near me’ or ‘Thai restaurants near me’, they’re likely to find your site.
In order to appear in these search results, you need to display your business details, such as the name, address and phone number consistently. The more places you’re able to include these details, the better, as Google likes to see lots of references pointing in the same direction.
It’s also helpful to get online reviews as a local business. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 73% of consumers will trust a business more if it has positive reviews. And 85% of people rank online reviews on the same level as personal recommendations. So if you’re trying to build up a reputation locally, it’s essential to get some positive feedback from customers.
Be Sure of Your Brand
As a small business, while you may be confident in your overarching vision and goals, you may be less sure about your brand. Do you have a logo, and have you considered what your brand colours look like? What about tone of voice? If you don’t know what your brand is saying about your business, it’s likely that your audience doesn’t either.
Once you’ve determined your brand, you need to ensure you’re using it to engage with your target audience. According to research from Sprout Social, 76% of people would prefer to buy from a brand they’d connected with, over the brand’s competitors. And 57% of the research participants would increase their spending if they’d connected with a brand.
Optimise Your Site
Until fairly recently, desktop and mobile visitor numbers were roughly evenly split. But over the last few years, mobile devices have become the preferred way of visiting a site. So if you haven’t optimised your website for mobile, now is the time to do so! If your site looks odd on mobile, or is hard to navigate, visitors may quickly leave. Optimising for mobile is crucial for user experience and can ensure potential customers remain on your page.
In terms of optimising the content on your site, it’s a good idea to compare this with your competitors. There are three main things you should consider when it comes to competitor analysis – the overall design of their website, on-site optimisation, and how your user experience compares to theirs. Try and figure out what works well for others and imitate it, while ensuring you still stand out from the crowd.
As mentioned above, it’s important to use your brand to connect with your audience, and one of the best ways to do this is through social media. You need to consider which channels resonate most with your target demographic, and show your audience that you’re human. People can’t connect with a corporation, but want to engage with the people behind it.
You may even need to think about using various mediums over social media. While B2B companies may focus mainly on platforms like LinkedIn, which is primarily about text and imagery, if you have a younger audience, you could be using social platforms like TikTok, which is all about video. Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular, so you should be prepared to invest some resources into this.
Another way to build up your online presence as a small business is to use email marketing. Of course, before this marketing technique can become effective, you first need to build up an email list! Whether this is through a pop-up encouraging people to sign up to your newsletters, or making it a call to action via social media, there are many great ways to get email subscribers.
The main benefit of email marketing is that you can remarket to people who may have not previously been looking to make a purchase. While they are probably interested in your product, as they’ve subscribed to your newsletters, some people don’t want to buy straight away.
Use a Digital Marketing Agency
Not everyone has the confidence or expertise to grow their business online. And if you don’t have a marketing team, outsourcing can be the cheapest option. As a business, you will need a marketing strategy in place if you want to increase your profits – the old adage of spending money to make money is certainly true here! So it may be sensible to consider using a marketing agency, who can put a solid strategy in place for you, and make sure you know what to expect moving forward.
If you’d like to discuss setting up a new marketing strategy, or want advice on your current plan, The Pineapple Agency are here to help! We can ensure you’re on the right track, and are building a strong foundation for your company for the future.