Over dinner with friends a few nights ago, all of whom are small business owners, the discussion came up about how times and technology have changed. Used to, we relied solely on word of mouth (which is still valid) and the phone book. The Yellow Pages, the local phone book, etc. Now, if your business isn't utilizing the Internet for everything it is worth, you will suffer.
Because no one is looking in the phone book. No one uses them anymore. All the information one needs is available at your fingertips via your smart phone, iPhone, tablet, and iPad. It is absolutely essential, without a doubt, for your small business to make the most of its presence on the Internet.
There are many tools for the small business owner to use to give them the visibility they need to make their business successful. Some are obvious, some a little less. Some are used incorrectly and may have detrimental results. Some are not used at all and therefore could be costing you potential customers and search engine visibility.
Here's the list:
- A well constructed, easy to navigate website
- If the aforementioned website is not yet mobile responsive, that would be a priority to convert it
- A Facebook business page
- A Twitter page
- An Instagram business page
- A business profile on Pinterest
- A business profile on Google+
- If you sell products, an e-commerce website would be a priority
- A blog about your business
- Consistent branding across all of your venues
- An app - iPhone or Android - that lets customers and prospects interact with you, your products, and your services
Not everything listed above is appropriate for all business types. If your business is product based, then all apply. If your business is service based, the visual profiles of Instagram and Pinterest "may not" apply unless they could be used as creative marketing with images that can promote your business. Creative content writing, organic SEO (search engine optimization), consistent branding across all online venues and your printed promotional materials and correct use of Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards will all help your website get the visibility it needs to make your business become a serious contender on the Internet.