The internet is vast. How do you know where and how to position your business online so that it gets discovered by the right people at the right time?
Start by thinking about the way you search for new businesses. I’d be willing to bet your research usually starts either on a search engine or social media platform. You likely read up on a few businesses in the area, scan for recommendations from friends and influencers, or check out reviews from strangers.
With this in mind, the three most important marketing solutions become obvious. Having a presence, both organic and paid, on search engines and social media is the way to stand out online. Here are the strategies you need to employ to get noticed online and some tips for getting started.
1. Start with SEO
SEO, which stands for “search engine optimization,” is how you establish your organic presence on search engines. To get discovered by new consumers who are looking for the type of solution your business offers, you need to make sure you’re showing up for searches that are most relevant for your business.
Performing well on Google and other search engines starts with a strong website. These search engines consider hundreds of factors when deciding how to display websites, but they almost always favor sites that are mobile-friendly, quick-loading, and secure.
Once you’ve established a technically sound site, it’s time to hone in on the things that will help you show up for the right search terms. Keyword research helps you understand the terms consumers are using in their hunt for businesses.
You can start this work by brainstorming terms you would use to find your business and see what comes up in SERPs. This can help inspire you to explore related terms and find new ways to market your business. But, it’s also important to remember that search results are highlight tailored to the searcher, so performing your own search isn’t the only indication of how your site is performing in SERPs.
Using a tool like Google Search Console allows you to see the terms that are leading real consumers to your website. Armed with this information, you can further optimize your on-page content and behind-the-scenes elements like metadata and alt text to help improve your standing in SERPs on these already-popular terms.
The final piece of the SEO puzzle is establishing a presence on local listings sites. These directories, like Yelp and Google My Business, are another way to increase your chances of appearing in organic results online. Some consumers will go directly to Yelp or Google Maps to search for businesses, and when you’ve claimed your profile on these sites, you ensure they’ll find you there.
Additionally, having your business’s information listed on these sites establishes backlinks to your business. And having your business mentioned on the internet beyond the bounds of your own website boosts your legitimacy and increases search engines’ trust in your website.
2. Pair it with PPC
When it comes to making sure you’re seen on search, it’s not enough to rely on SEO. Performing well organically on search is a process. It takes some time to optimize for the right keywords and establish enough of a presence online to land on that first page of SERPs.
But in the meantime, turning to paid search (also known as pay per click, or PPC) can ensure that you’re getting seen for your preferred keywords right away. With PPC, you have the power to define the search terms you’d like to rank for. This can be helpful if you’re just starting your SEO efforts or if you’re looking to move into a new space and want to start ranking there immediately.
Google and Bing are the two biggest search engines out there, so they should be included in your PPC strategy. Both platforms allow you to define your search terms and hone in on your desired audience. When you work with a search marketing partner, they can run your search advertising across platforms, and LOCALiQ Search Marketing will automatically allocate your budget based on the search engines, keywords phrases, and more that are driving the most conversions.
You can direct your advertising at people based on demographic information like age, gender, and location. This ensures that you’re showing your advertising to those who are most likely to be interested in your goods or services, allowing you a greater ROI on your advertising dollars.
Even if you already have a killer SEO strategy in place, PPC can still serve a purpose. Search engines have expanded their advertising options over the past few years, meaning that paid results take up even more space on SERPs. Even the best SEO strategies can get crowded out by paid results, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re undertaking some targeted PPC campaigns alongside your SEO.
3. Round It Out with Social Media Marketing
Social media is increasingly becoming consumers’ first stop for answers about what businesses to trust. Facebook, for example, has a feature that allows you to ask friends for recommendations for local businesses. They also have business pages that are almost like full websites – they allow you to include your mission, post photos and updates, list hours and contact information, and collect reviews from customers.
Consumers also trust social media influencers on Facebook and Instagram. When an influencer shares a product they love, their followers often take notice. Even LinkedIn is increasingly becoming a place to sell – if you’re a B2B, having a presence on LinkedIn is critical.
As is true on search engines, a joint organic and paid approach to social media is necessary. Organic social media is a great way to engage one-on-one with your existing followers and build real connections that foster long-term customer loyalty. Paid social ads allow you to reach out to a whole new audience.
When you pop up in the feeds of a new audience and present them with useful information and content, you have the opportunity to coax them into following you on social. This increases the odds that they’ll eventually give your business a try in real life.
When it comes to marketing your business online, establishing a presence on search engines and social media is key to laying a solid foundation. A combination of paid and organic approaches on search and social forms the foundation of a holistic approach to marketing.
Ready to get started with these marketing tactics? We can help. Contact the team at LOCALiQ today.