Search Discovery –
The days of customers picking up a phone book to look for your business are LONG over. How are people finding your business? Every business has a webpage, but are you able to be darkweb link found when customers are searching for your product or service. People are searching online all the time for information, entertainment, products and services. From the start to end of the buying cycle, people are searching for businesses reviews, prices, locations, and reputations more and more online, finding the one that suits them best, and then searching for either the website map or phone number for the business to make a purchase or get a quote. Will customers be able to find you when they are ready to make a purchase? Where do you stack up against your competitors in the same industry? are you even on the radar online?
Free tip to business owners #1: If you haven’t done so already, claim your Google Places and Bing Local Listings. Do it… NOW. No really, follow the links and do it now, its free, and you are missing out on potential customers to your competition as we speak
Reputation Management –
How do customers and potential prospects view your business? I speak to a lot of business owners on a day to day basis, and the crazy thing is, most of them have NO IDEA how their business is being rated and though about online. Bad reputations now not only resonate through circles of friends and media outlets… Its not just the newspapers, TV, and radio and magazines that tell consumers whether your service is horrible or a “must-use”, 2 thumbs up or down, 5 stars or 1. Now any average consumer can be a critic, and trust me, they love the chance to speak their mind raving about how amazing your food is, or publicly bashing your appalling customer service. People believe 90% of reviews they see online… how do you look vs your competition?
If your business got a horrible review from a local news reporter, you’d probably take notice, so it baffles me that at least half of the small business owners I speak with have absolutely no idea about what their reputation is online, considering its basically a world wide publication.
Free Tip #2: Do yourself a favor, and get your business set up on Yelp so you can follow the chatter and reviews about you. This site also shows up highly on search engines… look good
Social Discovery –
Its an old marketing adage that the best advertising is word of mouth. What customers and clients are saying about your business is even more important now than ever before. How it used to work was that a customer would eat at a good restaurant, had a “guy” as a mechanic, roofer, dentist, etc etc etc… If they had a good experience, they would recommend someone to their friends (or tell 10x as many people if they had a bad experience at your business).
Then came social media. Think this is a fad that is going away sometime soon? Twitter is something for the Kardashians and LeBron James to blab on… Facebook is for kids? Hell NO, Social media is word of mouth on steroids after a redbull and a 5 hour energy. No longer do people just tell their friends what they think about your business, they post and tell anyone who wants to listen to them, all their friends and followers online. The message is no longer lost in thin air, but indexed online for years to come for anyone to see who searches for “Joe’s body shop” or “insert your business here”.
The HUGE, and I’m talking, HUGE advantage with the advent of social media, is that you yourself Mr. Business owner, no longer have to sit back and hope people are talking about you nicely, and be left in the dark about what people are saying about your business… you can now be part of the conversation! Engage your customers. Set up a Facebook and Twitter page. See what people are saying about you and respond. Reward loyal customers. Create an open environment for conversation. The word of mouth about your business is going to happen regardless of whether or not you are involved, so wouldn’t you want to have some input and at least know what people are saying?