The most important thing for a small, micro or home based business especially when they are starting out is to actually let people know you are there. Increasing your business visibility across a wide range of platforms can be daunting and overwhelming to many businesses when they start out – especially if you don’t have pots of money to throw at your advertising. We often need to sit down, take the time out ourselves and promote the business at the same time as working on the same business. Small business owners need to set up an effective marketing plan that is streamline, effective and something that will become the base from which you will be able to work from, for the business’ long-term security and future.
These following practices will lay the foundations for your business marketing, especially if you are trying to attract local custom within your particular locality. Although these marketing steps are free, they can be time consuming to start with, but they are so important to the framework of your marketing plan.
Google My Business
Google My Business is by far and away the most important tool for local small businesses. Getting Google My Business up and running will give you internet visibility – from organic Google searches – for your products and services in your local area. Sign up for Google my business as soon as possible as it can take around 6 weeks to get your verification code mailed to Australia. This verification code will make your business live on the map pack.
Google My Business will become your go to platform to inform potential customers and clients about all your products, services, offers and events and it will cover all those factual based searches such as “plumber near me” which are so important for businesses offering products and services in their local area.
Social Media Platforms
All social media platforms are time consuming on a small business. Picking the one or two social media platforms that you can effectively manage will be dependent on the business that you have and the target audience that you are trying to reach. So for small businesses that are predominantly B2B then LinkedIn would be your first choice, service providers to the general public will be looking at Facebook and if you’re selling a product then you will be going for Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. With a younger target audience then Snapchat, tiktok and YouTube will come into your considerations as well.
All these different social media platforms can add up to quite a daunting list to the small business & sole Traders – so in those instances it is better to pick one platform and do it really well than trying to spread your content across multiple platforms haphazardly.
What is really important across any of the social media platforms is that the content you put out is really engaging to your audience. So your content does not need to be “look at me, look at me” but needs to much more be in line with “how can I help you?” and really put your personality across.
Business Directory submissions
Business directories are an important part of increasing your online visibility. Often referred to as NAP citations (name address phone number) business directories will solidify and confirm all your business contact points. All of these citations help your SEO, your local SEO and your Google My Business listing. So even if you’re a business without a website confirming your identity in all the directories such as Yellow Pages, start local, as well as niche directories such as the directory here at Small Business Near Me, it will help your Google My Business map pack for all those searches in Google in your area.
Ultimately all small businesses should have a website. Your website becomes the focal contact point from you to your clients and customers. Even if you cannot afford the all-singing all-dancing website that you would like then purchasing your domain name and getting a good web designer to produce a 1 page SEO rich starting point would be ideal. New websites can take months to really start ranking within search engines such as Google, so it is much better to have one page now and build that trust with the search engines and upgrade in a year or two than trying to start a website further down the line.
All of these marketing elements make a daunting list, especially for sole traders starting a new business. All of the above starting points will actually cost you nothing in monetary terms, just a lot of time and effort. All of the above points can be set up for you relatively cheaply if you choose to get somebody to do these for you. Just make sure that everything looks professional – get your facebook header image the right size and resolution – make sure your citations are accurate across the board and above all else have fun setting up your business!