Search engines are a great way to get new business, but they’re not the only game in town. There are a lot of other ways to attract interested customers, which is fortunate for businesses that don’t have a good search engine ranking.
Place your business website in as many online directories as you can enter. Most of them are free, and new ones are popping up all the time. This is great for your search engine ranks as well, as these directories offer valuable, high-quality backlinks to your website. Make sure you also add your business location and website to map-based search sites like Google Maps and Bing Maps.
Sponsoring or holding a contest is a great way to drum up some publicity, especially if the contest and prizes are closely related to your business. A social media raffle contest, where one “share” or “retweet” equals one entry, can spread your business website all across the Internet. You can increase customer interaction by having them work for their submissions by naming a new product, taking cool product photos, or writing short testimonials about how much they like it on your landing page.
Make use of new media by producing videos for your customers’ benefit. You can post something useful to them, such as “how-to” videos with tips and tricks for using your product, and then posting your website link at the end. Be careful with viral videos though, because going “viral” is not a 100% guarantee. The video could just as easily fall flat on its face and damage your reputation instead.
This form of content marketing is excellent for reaching people, because they can listen to your podcast online or offline as they see fit. They key here is the same as all content marketing: there has to be value for the listener, and a minimum of crass advertisement. Post the podcast audio on your website and release more episodes on a regular basis to keep customers coming back.
A good blog is an excellent resource for customers, and does wonders for your business websites ranking. Just make sure that you are providing value to your readers first, and marketing your company second. Otherwise your readers will be turned off and avoid your site like the plague.
Present yourself as an authority in your field by producing eBooks and whitepapers. You can write about pressing industry issues, or give in-depth tips or insights in topics that your readers would find relevant. Customers will hold you in higher regard and value your services more.
7. Online Communities
Sign up for online communities where your customers hang out. LinkedIn groups and industry forums are great places to go if you want to talk to like-minded people and develop some customer relationships. Don’t be crass and start selling the moment you enter. Be helpful and considerate to other community members and act like you’re there for more than just customers. Once the communities trust you, you’ll be in a better position to offer your services. One of our clients, Nolan Creek Winery Brand uses Facebook with such flair that it is a joy to see them engage the community and build more interest in their business.
Networking isn’t just a way to develop business contacts. It can also be a good way to spread the word about your business. Leave a good impression, and the people you meet will have a higher chance of remembering you if they meet anyone who could be your customer.
If you have any of the above mentioned blogs, podcasts, or videos, you can promote them through social media and get people to spread your website for you. Social media is tricky to manage, though. You have to engage customers, not just bombard them with one-way messages. As always, the watchword is “value.”
10. Local news outlets
Don’t forget that there is a world outside the online space. Write up a press release with your company bio and link, and send it off to your local news outlets. Announce new products or a milestone with your company, or have a PR company set up interviews with local business news publications and channels.