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How potential customers can find you on the internet

Google My Business and PPC

4 out of 5 internet shoppers use search engines such as Google, so you could be losing out on potential leads and sales if you’re not listed. While some potential customers may find you via traditional advertising or coming across your premises by chance, you need to have a strong presence where people are shopping. That means being visible online.

There are lots of options for small businesses to go down the digital marketing route. A good website is the usual first step. But how can people find you on the internet in the first place? The web is a busy place and it’s easy for small businesses to get drowned by louder voices.  The answer includes some simple digital tricks which larger competitors have been using for years.

Here are two ways you can make your business seen on the internet:

  • Create a Google My Business account

When searching the web have you ever wondered why certain businesses pop up in the right-hand side column? These businesses have taken advantage of a neat and free service offered by internet search engine giant Google. Aiming to streamline and boost its offer to SMEs in particular, Google My Business was introduced in 2014 to make it easier for small businesses to be more visible on the net.  Companies are encouraged to share information and images about themselves to help Google display relevant listings in its Search and Maps tools.

Once you’re signed up for Google My Business you can expect your business to pop up in the listings on relevant Google search results. The prominent listing can display your logo, give your business address, website, contacts details and opening hours amongst other details.

Here’s how to get a Google My Business listing:

  • Go to the Google Business Page and click on start now
  • Log in to your Google account or set one up
  • Fill out the forms which prompt you for various details about your business – there’s a set of guidelines here from Google which will help with this step – and follow the steps for verification.

Apart from greater visibility, the benefits of Google My Business (GMB) include:

  • Interaction with customers – you can respond to customers who leave reviews about your business
  • Manage your business information – you can easily update your business details such as opening hours and product availability – 54% of smartphone users check the web for business hours before visiting
  • It’s free advertising – an opportunity no small business can pass on! A special advantage is that if anyone searches for your product or service near your location then your listing will appear in the results.

There are other advantages too – GMB has been created as a one-stop shop for small business owners so it means that from one dashboard you can access all your Google tools e.g. Google+, Insights etc.

Even if you’re new to Google’s services signing up is worth a go because it has over 1.2 billion unique users per month –  it’s a great opportunity to tell the world you exist.

  • Invest in Pay Per Click advertising

64% of people click on Google ads when searching to buy something online. Another way to attract customers and drive traffic to your website is Pay-Per-Click (PPC). PPC is a form of advertising which appears on the relevant search pages of Google’s search engine.  To be honest, unless you’re a web expert, it can be a challenge to have your website appear organically in web searches. Instead, you can bid for Google to show your ad at the top or bottom of search pages – advertisers ‘pay per click’ only when someone clicks on your ad rather than paying in advance for advertising and hoping for the best.

If you’re thinking about a PPC campaign:

  • Choose keywords for your ad for the audience you are trying to attract – use the words which you think they will use or which will catch their eye
  • You could create special landing pages on your website to give visitors more specific information about what they were looking for. If you are using your home page as the main landing page for clickers, ensure it’s up to date and easy for potential customers to follow product/service and contact details
  • Monitor any traffic which arrives at your website via PPC – you will then know how successful your PPC campaign has been.

Digital marketing can be daunting for small businesses with little in-house expertise. However, once you’ve decided to mine this rich seam of potential customers, there’s lots of advice online or from professional online marketers who specialise in small business.