Small businesses are characterized by tight budgets, using which they need to compete in a highly saturated business environment. As a result, they often fall prey to SEO scammers, resulting in declines and penalties instead of boosts. So, how does a small business owner make it through the think forest of social media, online marketing and SEO and still keep their head up.
The trick in 2015 is to have focus – you don’t have to do everything. Focus on the basics instead of overwhelming yourself with all the strategies. Below are three simple techniques that you can take up, and with just half an hour daily effort, boost your traffic and leads to bring your business further up the ladder.
- Local listings
Begin with the two main ones; most business won’t need any more:
- Yelp – create a Yelp business page; add photos and links to your site, including effective descriptions of what you do. Ensure your contact information and business hours are current and correct. Use Yelp to interact with customers privately or publicly, especially once they post reviews.
- Google my Business – this should be a priority, if you have done so yet. Ensure that prospective clients can use Google Maps to find your business, including operating hours and click-to-call. You can read and respond to customer reviews here as well.
- Create online reviews
Once you have your local listings, proactively generate reviews, even though they are scary ground for many business owners. Just 1-3 negative reviews can turn away 67% of potential customers. The thing to remember is that even if you don’t have a listing, a customer can still call and leave their review.
The key to managing your reviews is ensuring that you have more – way more- happy customers that not. One way to get this is to use tools that offer instructions for customers on how they can leave reviews in local listing.
Remember that Yelp discourages businesses from asking for reviews. Instead, remind them you have a listing using review badges on your site, using QR codes and putting up signs in your store.
- Make your site mobile-friendly
Mobile search is at the heart of local search, which is at the heart of small business success. Mobile searches are currently more than desktop searches in over 10 countries, the US included. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re not going to get anywhere.
It’s no longer enough to have a Facebook page; many business owners have had their pages shut down. Build a website and ensure it is mobile-optimized. You don’t have to have technical experience; you can start with a template-based site, building on from there once you’re more mature and can afford it as a business. Target your mobile users – mobile is the future of all things technology.