Leveraging Web technology to get the word out about your e-business is a savvy way to expand your customer base. With just a little effort, you can adopt the techniques used by larger companies to generate more business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Make sure that your contacts and potential clients can find you easily by increasing your search engine ranking. Consider investing in a text ad that will appear when someone uses a popular search engine (e.g. Yahoo or Google) to search for specific key words. In addition, post your profile in social networks like www.zoominfo.com or www.linkedin.com. Remember to include key words involving your business that will help potential clients find you, as well as your URL (Universal Resource Locator or worldwide Web address). The more avenues you pursue to generate more exposure in various sites, the more you increase the odds that new customers will find you.
- If you’ve avoided checking out blogging, now is the time to start. Participate in some carefully chosen online discussion groups or launch your own industry blog. Answer a few of the questions posed by chat room participants or fellow bloggers or post short, helpful FAQs on your own site. This is not the place for hard selling but it can help position you and your firm as experts in specific areas of business. Remember to always include your URL after your signature. Search engines routinely pick up names and comments from blogs, and this type of exposure can help potential clients identify you.
- Offer free content (and links) to other sites that complement (but don’t compete with) your Web site, and request reciprocal arrangements with them.
- Consider using online classified advertising or auction sites to increase exposure to your Web site and your products/services.
- Conduct a targeted email promotion with a link to your site offering a credit or special offer for Web site orders.
- Monitor what is out there online about you (and your competitors, too, if you wish). Both Yahoo and Google offer keyword alert services that will send you an email when anything is written on the Web that includes your name or your firm’s name.
- Remember to include your Web site information on all your business stationery and promotional items including:
- Letterhead, invoices, business cards, newsletters or any print materials.
- At the bottom of every page in sales catalogues, product brochures, etc.
- Press releases, media advisories, etc.
- Give-away items—coffee mugs, T shirts, fridge magnets.
- Employee uniforms, company-owned vehicles or trucks.
- Make sure you and all your employees include the company’s URL with their email signatures.
- Include your URL on any ads you run, including those in the phone directory.
A few simple actions can help you leverage some of the many low-cost ways to promote your Web site on- and offline. Web technology can provide small business with the same visibility, reach and clout as big companies with many more marketing dollars to spend.