How to get your business on Google

How To Get Your Website on Google

On Google, you’re either on the first page, or you’re invisible. When Backlinko analyzed 5 million search results, they found that the #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%. And the #1 spot is ten times more likely to be clicked than the result in the #10 spot. But what happens if your website isn’t on the first page? Not much. Less than 1% of users click a result on page two of the SERPs (search engine result pages).

Earning one of the top spots could lead to your content being featured in a rich snippet for that topic, which is a callout box with information. It’s a great way to increase your exposure and credibility.

feature snippets for Google

Grabbing the top spot, or even the front page on Google search is not easy. There’s a lot of competition and everyone wants the same spot. How can a small business compete? 

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How Do Search Engines Work?

First, let’s understand what Google wants. Dating back to the early days, Google has always made its intent clear: They seek to deliver the best, most complete answer available on the web to each query typed into the search box. 

The search engines have small programs, nicknamed spiders or Google bots, that constantly crawl the web to add pages to the search index. Your pages are examined and evaluated. Your ranking – where your website lands on the search results – is determined by weighing 200 ranking factors

To dominate the Google search results, you need to deliver the high-quality content they are looking for. But that’s only the beginning. Each of the tips we discuss below covers an important ranking factor.     

How To Get Your Local Business to Rank on Google                                                                                                                                      

How To Get Your Local Business to Rank on Google

  • Your site is the foundation to rankings
  • Add your business to Google
  • Submit your business to local directories
  • Optimize pages for main keywords
  • Get happy customers to leave reviews

You don’t have to be an SEO (search engine optimization) expert or a programmer to get your site on the first page of Google. Where you land, however, depends on how well your competition uses the same techniques. Competition always changes the game, and yours will fight to outrank you. The key to staying on top is to keep changing things up by adding new value to your site.

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Your Site is the Foundation to Rankings

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a neighborhood dog groomer, a food truck, or a small chain of yogurt shops, even small businesses need a website to generate business and grow. It’s less expensive than you might think, and more beneficial than you probably imagine. To rank well, your website needs to be well organized, fast loading, and accessible to web crawlers. 

Make Sure Your Pages are Crawlable

In order to add your page to Google’s index, Google bots and other web crawlers need permission. To find out if your site is accessible by Google crawlers, use the “URL Inspection” feature in the Google Search Console. If search engines are prevented from accessing your page (most commonly in a file called Robots.txt), it will not show up in the search at all. Blocking web crawlers is useful for internal pages you want to keep private, such as employee information pages that require a login for access, but an inexperienced webmaster might accidentally copy this file to a public page. If your page doesn’t show up in the search even when using your brand name, that’s the first place to check. 

Site Load Speed 

One common rookie mistake is loading up pages with programs and graphics that slow loading times down. Today’s users simply won’t wait. If your web page loads slow, they will click away. Make your pages lean by reducing image sizes and avoiding programs that slow loading, like outside ads, music, and popups on load. 

Mobile Optimization 

This isn’t exactly a DIY tip, but it’s important. Google places great importance on how well your website displays on mobile devices. Because so many searches are done on mobile devices, you’re unlikely to earn a high ranking without a mobile-friendly website. If you’re using a professionally designed website, mobile optimization should be included. Not sure? Check your site with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Broadly Resource:

Submit Your Business To Local Directories

Online local business directories, also called citation sites, help your business build credibility and trust. As a small business owner, you need to do two things: claim any existing listings and submit your site to relevant listing sites.

To decide which sites are relevant to your industry, you can consult this list compiled by Moz.

Once your business is featured on local business directories, it’s important to keep listings up to date, monitor for errors, and answer any comments or reviews left (where applicable)

Attract New Online Customers

On-Page Optimization for SEO

Your meta tags make a big difference to search engine optimization, and it’s a fast, easy fix. In the header of your page HTML or website creator, you’ll find fields or codes that identify the title, description, and URL. Here’s what you need to know:

Title Tag 

  • It should be 50 to 60 characters long, including the business name.
  • Use the primary keyword for the page.
  • Don’t use the same title for other pages.

Meta Description

  • A short summary of the page content
  • Include primary keyword
  • Make it no longer than 160 characters

Page URL (website address)

  • Include your primary keyword.
  • Make the title 2 to 7 words long.
  • Use hyphens, not underscores.
  • Don’t use special characters.

SEO on page optimization for Google

Example: For our blog page “How to Get More Google Reviews For Your Business: 

  • The title tag is “How To Get More Google Reviews For Your Business – Broadly.com”
  • The description is “Don’t know how to get Google reviews for your business? Not to worry, the team at Broadly walks you step by step on how to get Google reviews for your company.”
  • The URL is: broadly.com/blog/how-to-get-google-reviews/

Create Helpful Content

Small Business Content Strategies To Grow This Year

Many of the top-ranking factors on Google are related to your content is relevant and helpful. Having a blog that answers your customers’ main questions will help you to rank for those questions. As you provide value to the reader they are more likely to work with you in the future. 

  • Content uniqueness – Even though your content might be a topic covered on other websites, you need to bring fresh insight, better organization, or new information to the table. If you’re a roofing business, for example, “How we repair your roof” may not change much over the years, but you can add information about brand new materials, meeting legal standards, and new techniques to make it topical, interesting, and unique.
  • Keyword usage – Keywords still count. Ten years ago, websites stuffed keywords into articles by repeating the same phrases over and over so often the articles made little sense. That will actively hurt your ranking today. Instead, write in a natural voice and include related subjects and keywords. Keyword tools:
    • Clearscope – gives you keywords and analyzes your content to see how well you did.
    • Google Keyword Planner – easy for a beginner to use and understand. 
    • Soovle – collects keywords from different search engines.
    • Jaaxy – in addition to delivering keywords, Jaaxy tracks site rank and helps you find keyword domain names.
  • Search intent match – This one is pretty easy. Some people use headlines and descriptions that promise one thing to get clicks, but don’t deliver on that promise. The headline and description must describe what readers will find on the page, or they will scan and click away in seconds. If enough people do that, it’s a signal to the Google RankBrain that your content isn’t what users are really searching for, and it will hurt your rank. If your page title is “10 Brand New Hairstyles for 2019” and your description reads “The newest, trendiest hairstyles in salons today” but your page is about hairstyles popular 5 or 10 years ago, people will leave your page immediately. 
  • Content freshness – Evergreen content is content that remains useful for years, and it’s a great way to fill your site and build a complete knowledge base for your customers. However, you do want to review and update your evergreen content every year to be sure links and references are still valid, and to add new information when you can. 
  • E-A-T expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – This one is a little tricky. RankBrain makes every effort to determine whether the person who wrote the content is an expert in the subject, but you can be considered an expert by posting a great deal on the same subject, by working in the industry, and by offering knowledge and insight. 
  • Rich content: Photos, graphics, and videos – To attract the organic traffic you need in order to boost rank, make your pages interesting with graphics, photos, and videos. Google image search is increasingly important, and you can add value by optimizing image URLs. You may even want to allow sharing of unique images with credit – this creates backlinks to your content, another way to boost your search engine ranking.
  • Internal links – when writing your content, include internal links to other pages in your site to help people learn more about a specific topic that’s part of a larger or related subject. This helps people understand and keeps them on your site longer.

How to get more google business reviews online

Get Customer Reviews

Traffic is an important signal used in web page ranking. One of the most reliable ways to build trust, authority, and to generate more organic traffic is through personal reviews. 90% of consumers say they check reviews before buying, and 63% use a search engine to find reviews. To get reviews on Google

Most happy customers are happy to leave reviews when asked to do so. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to take action.  

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What About Paid Ads? 

While paid ads show up above organic ads, more people ignore them. Research by Smart Insights shows that 94% of clicks go to natural listings. Paid ads can help get you noticed in the short term, but once the budget runs out your business disappears from the search results. 

My Site is Live. What’s Next?

Once you launch your website it could take a few days before your site is in Google’s index, and longer than that before Google trusts it to rank well for your main terms. You can jumpstart the process by promoting your new website on social media, engage new visitors through text messaging and email, the request customers to review your site.

social media marketing

How To Use Social Media For Small Business

Creating a social media profile is one of the cheapest and most reliable ways for a small business to get in touch with customers and grow their customer base. It’s so popular that 87% of small businesses use social media marketing, and 92% think it’s important. 

As you engage your customers on social media sites and they talk about your services or your company, their friends, family, and even strangers see the comments and conversation and make value judgments about your business. And that’s why you must be consistent, in both what you post and how you respond. It’s the best word-of-mouth advertising money can buy, and it’s largely free aside from time spent.

Turn Customers Into Reviewers

Why Do People Follow Brands?

A  common thing people say is “But our business is so boring! Why would anyone want to follow us?” Any brand can be exciting if you remember one simple thing: It’s not about YOU. Social media marketing should focus on your customers. People follow brands because:

  • You offer sales and promotions
  • Your voice is funny or entertaining
  • You post awesome stories
  • Customer service help
  • They are loyal to your brand
  • You offered an incentive to follow
  • To find out about your products or services
  • Recommendation from a friend or family member (social proof)

Planning Your Social Media Strategy

It’s a good idea to plan out a social media strategy that’s informative and entertaining, and leave time for spontaneous conversations, replies to all comments, and sharing great content posted by your customers. 

Your social media strategy should:

  1. Define what social media channels you will use – this should be determined by your customers. You need to be where they are. 
  2. Establish benchmarks and goals – Common goals might include:
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Make sales 
  • Generate more leads
  • Engage and inform customers
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Build trust and authority
  • Get online reviews
  1. Describe the kind of content to post – Content should be an interesting mix of industry news, tips and info related to your product, and spontaneous observations – with no more than 30% promotional advertising. Graphics, photos, and videos will help increase post engagement.
  2. Establish your brand voice (see below)
  3. Decide what to track and define how – Consider your goals and keep track of what’s important to you. How do your posts affect sales, website traffic, or lead generation?

How to Build a Social Media Presence

How to Build a Social Media Presence

Here are 6 social media tips you can use to build your audience and make your content interesting, engaging, and ultimately shareable.

1. Build Your Social Media Audience

Getting started can be daunting for a small business owner. You may post things nobody reads for a while. Don’t give up! For every subject, an audience exists. You’ll get in touch with your people, and with any luck, they will be happy customers. Give your audience a boost with these tactics:

    • Offer sales and promotions – Use your social media to post news about upcoming promotions, flash sales, and information about sale items.
    • Incentivize follows – It’s not always advisable to offer prizes in exchange for likes, but some brands have grown their base by using a targeted signup bonus. Offer a prize that only potential customers would find valuable, then offer something extra for comments, likes, or referrals.
    • Play games – Some brands post impromptu quizzes or games with prizes. Oreo is one of the most clever brands on Twitter, and once in a while, they run nutty games, asking followers to answer questions, tell stories, post photos, or, in this case, scan their cookies. Oreo’s tweets are entertaining and fun.
  • Oreo Cookie Social Media Example
    • Inspire brand evangelists – Brand evangelists are active users who love your brand. They go beyond your occasional customer and include repeat customers who talk about your brand without prompting. Loyal customers become influencers who help you build brand awareness.
  • Use hashtags – Tap into industry buzz by using the same hashtags your customers use. If you’re a local business, look for related hashtags with a local audience. Instagram and Twitter are social media channels where hashtags are particularly effective.
  • Join or create a group – Start a facebook group about life in your city, and post local news, comments, memes, and stories all locally centered. It’s a great way to get to know local social media users without overt social media marketing. 

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2. Develop Your Brand Voice

Who are you as a brand? Are you upbeat and relentlessly positive? Snarky and clever? Controversial? Your style and voice should be authentic…but at the same time, interesting. Your social media marketing strategy should define the voice that represents your brand. 

How do you know what voice to choose? Know your customers. Create a customer profile that represents your ideal customer, then find and observe that kind of customer in the wild. For example, let’s say you’re a hair salon and your biggest customer base is young married female professionals, age 25 – 45. What do they talk about? What are their concerns? What kind of content would be valuable to them? 

Your voice might be fun and gossipy, professional and informative, or trendy and urban, depending on whether your salon is an elegant establishment where customers come for an updo before the ball or a fun salon where people drink wine while getting pink highlights. Post content that always reflects your style and voice.

Whatever style you choose: Don’t Be Boring.

3. Spice Up Your Content

Social media content is not limited to posting clever quotes or sharing news stories. To get and keep attention, your content should be a multimedia extravaganza. A lot of it can be found online and shared, and you should also generate your own unique content.

  • Tell great stories – We all have entertaining stories about things that happen on the job. If you don’t have any stories of your own, find interesting stories online and offer an opinion with a link to the original story. 
  • Take amazing photos – When you finish a beautiful kitchen remodel or clean a fantastic pool, take a photo and share it on social media (with owner permission, of course). Brand the photo with your logo in a corner. 
  • Create branded graphics and memes – There are several online generators to help you create free high-quality graphics in perfect formats for sharing. You can use them to make a website and blog graphics as well. Try Canva or Crello to add words, style, and your logo to graphics, and MemeBetter or ImgFlip to make quick memes using trendy images.

Create branded graphics and memes on social

Graphic created with Crello.

  • Make how-to videos – What related services can your customers do on their own? Share video tips related to your business. For a mechanic, this might include how to change oil, how to add antifreeze, or when and how to change the windshield wipers. For a hairdresser, how about demonstrating blowout or braiding techniques? Lawn service? How to make a professional edge or kill stubborn dollar weeds. Anything your customers might ask is a good subject. A few tips for generating unique new content:
    • On Facebook and Twitter, the highest engaging videos are between 60-90 seconds. The second highest is between 30-60 seconds. Keep your video tips focused and short. 
    • The best length for Facebook Live videos is about 15 minutes.
    • Post longer videos on YouTube 

4. Deliver stellar customer service 

How to Choose a Payment Solution for Your Business

Delivering great customer service means being accessible. You don’t have to be everywhere, but your customers expect to be able to reach you on their terms. Social media offers a great platform for fast answers. SMS is another avenue customers particularly like for its speed. If they can dash off a post of a text and get an answer in minutes, it’s a win. 

The advantage of social media customer service is visibility. When you answer questions quickly and help customers in public, you build credibility and trust.  

5. Spread product news and updates

Build excitement for a new product launch, a website redesign, new offices, or service upgrades with advance-news. The exciting news is a good time to ask people to sign up for your newsletter or for emailed special offers.

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6. Collect your most important asset – Social proof

Social proof is essentially word-of-mouth advertising. The more positive reviews you can accumulate, the more trust you earn. Studies show just how positive reviews are. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews, and 70% will leave a review if asked. Social media sites are the perfect vehicle to ask for customer reviews. As a bonus, reviews will help you raise your Google rating

Be sure to respond to each review with a thank you, an answer, or an offer to make things right if the customer has something negative to say. Chances are, you will run into an occasional difficult customer. Be prepared to respond to negative reviews in a positive and professional manner.

Social Media Tips for Local Businesses

How Customer Relationship Marketing Can Grow Your Business

While spontaneous responses are great (and necessary), your overall strategy should include a plan to help you establish consistency and keep things interesting. 

  • When to post Hootsuite research shows that generally speaking, the best times to post on social media are between 9 and 12 a.m. EST, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Sprout Social research bears this out. The best time to post overall is Wednesday between 11 AM and 1 PM.
  • How often to post – One post a week certainly won’t do it! When it comes to social media, more is better. Schedule ten or fifteen minutes several times a day to make posts and set notifications so you’ll know when someone responds to a post or mentions your business
  • Tools to use – You may be busy on weekday mornings (who isn’t?). When you do have time, schedule posts for all your social media accounts using a social media service. Each one has unique features to help you make the most of your time, schedule regular posts, and monitor your social media accounts. 
  • HootSuite
  • Sprout Social
  • Post Planner
  • CoSchedule
  • Feedly
  • Monitor your reputation – Responding to comments and company or brand mentions is critical. Our reputation management tool can help you stay on top!

Establishing a social media presence is an effective way to meet your customers on their terms. Simply put, if they like you, they’ll buy from you. And as long as you go into social media marketing with a clear strategy, a defined voice and style, and an understanding of great content, your existing customers and potential new customers will respond.

local small business payment solutions

Local Business Payment Solutions Explained

Payment solutions are electronic equipment and software that process payments for small and local businesses. Different types of payment solutions include point-of-sale (cash registers), and online or mobile payment systems. Customers might pay online, in person, by phone, and by cash, credit, or bank transfer…..your business might need one solution or a combination of several options.

Whether B2B or B2C, if your business takes payments for any reason, you need a payment solution. More people pay by electronic means today. In a recent survey, US Bank found that 50% of respondents said they cash less than half of the time, and when they do carry cash, nearly half carry less than  $20 and 76% carry less than $50. No matter how small your business, the more convenient options you give your customers, the more your customers can spend with you! 

Offering convenience has other benefits as well. Happy customers leave good reviews, which in turn leads to more sales. People who read good reviews tend to spend 31% more – and you’ll be prepared to take their payments.

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Types of Payment Solutions

customer relationship management examples

The type of payment solution your business needs depends on how you do business. Online businesses need an online solution that handles credit or debit purchases. Online subscription services need recurring charges, and brick-and-mortar businesses like bakeries need a point-of-sale system and, often, an online solution. They might even need a mobile solution, for delivery drivers to take payments. Here are the different types of payments and a few popular solutions.

Point-of-Sale (POS) Solutions

The term “point-of-sale” simply refers to the location – where the transaction takes place. Mobile payments, specialty solutions for specific industries such as tabletop systems designed for restaurants, and traditional cash registers are all POS systems. 

Modern POS systems go far beyond simple cash registers. The most sophisticated systems handle inventory, manage employees, track receiving, integrate with accounting systems, accept any payment method, and help you manage every aspect of your business.

  • Mobile Payment Solutions – Good solution for local businesses to take payments out in the field; pool cleaners, plumbers, and roofers, for example. These devices usually have a card reader that plugs into a smartphone and an app to process credit card or debit card payments. The app connects to accounting software to track payments and automatically deposits the payment in the bank.
  • Electronic Cash Register – Today’s POS cash register systems can connect directly to inventory and financial systems, and some offer all-in-one functionality with mobile readers and online payment processing.. These are perfect for brick-and-mortar businesses, and businesses that have online and offline operations.

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Ecommerce and Online Payment Solutions

Ecommerce is BIG business. In 2018, consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. retailers. With ecommerce taking a bigger piece of the retail pie each year, it’s a smart move to incorporate an online component to your business. In an ecommerce situation, customers add goods to a shopping cart and payments are taken online, with the customer in one place and the seller usually in another. 

Many businesses take payments online, including online retailers, SaaS providers, and monthly services such as utilities and finance. eCommerce solutions offer turnkey online shopping solutions – either with a proprietary solution where you build your shopping site on their platform or a plugin you can use on any site. 

eCommerce solutions use a payment gateway to process and authenticate secure transactions from the customer to the bank. When a customer places an order, the payment gateway sends a message to the bank or credit, and payment is either authorized or declined. If the payment is accepted, the purchase goes through and the shipping process is initiated.

How to Choose a Payment Solution for Your Business 

How to Choose a Payment Solution for Your Business

Today, Americans report that they use increasingly less cash, with 53% saying they rarely use cash. Electronic transactions and mobile payment options have become the preferred payment method. Here’s what to look for in a payment system to meet your business needs.

Check Out Our Payment Solution

  • Hardware – The hardware you need to accept customer payments in any form typically offered by your customers. Hardware may include terminals, credit card readers, barcode scanners, cash drawers or cash registers, and online e-commerce platforms. Depending on your business, the solution you need may be as simple as a credit card reader connected to your smartphone, or as complex as a system capable of supporting mobile devices, registers, printers, terminals, and multiple locations. Before you choose a system, make sure it offers the hardware you need, and is scalable for future growth. 
  • Inventory control – Will you need to keep track of product inventory? If so, look for a solution that includes inventory management features.
  • Employee management – Some businesses have POS systems where employees can clock in, process payments, enter products and services. 
  • Accounting and payroll – Top-notch POS systems include financial reconciliation services or integrate with accounting software you probably already use, like QuickBooks. 
  • Analytics – Robust systems offer reporting and analytic features to help you make more informed decisions, including sales, inventory, and revenue data. 
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) – Some processing solutions streamline your operations with CRM features to help you better understand your customers and their buying habits. If you don’t already have a CRM, this is a handy feature. It stores customer records, contact information, interactions and transactions, making it easy to know exactly who you’re talking to and what contact they have had with your company in the past.
  • Online payment processing – Will you have an online customer portal to sell goods or services? If so, the solution you choose should incorporate an online payment gateway with a shopping cart. You’ll need a payment processing service capable of taking all kinds of online payments: credit card, debit card, prepaid card, ACH bank transfer, or online banking services like Paypal.
  • Technical support – look for customer reviews to gauge whether the customer support is as good as the service claims. You may need a lot of help at first, and technical support can make the difference between a working system and a complete disaster. Customer reviews are the most reliable way to find out the truth.
  • Specific industry features – you may be able to choose a solution specifically tailored to your industry. ITRetail for examples, is a POS solution designed for local grocers.
  • Payment card industry (PCI) compliance – No matter what system you use, make sure it has a good reputation for meeting the technical and operational standards necessary to ensure your customer credit card data is protected.

Choosing your payment solution can be tricky. There is a lot to consider. Fortunately, most solutions today are robustly featured, affordable, and easy to understand. You may need to think ahead and choose a system that fits your needs as a small business and is capable of scaling up as you grow. Consider your business plans. What’s next?

Free Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Free Marketing Ideas For Growing a Small Business

Marketing can be a challenge for a lot of businesses but it doesn’t have to be. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s everything you need to know about how to market your small business for free. 

Free Marketing Ideas To Grow Your Small Business

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Target your audience
  3. Content marketing 
  4. Social media marketing
  5. Word of mouth testimonials
  6. Community relationship building

You should be able to handle each of these small business marketing ideas in-house. We’ll make it as easy to understand as possible. Of course, nothing is completely free, and everything takes time.

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How SEO Gets You Free Traffic & Leads

SEO is at the top of the list because the best lead generation any small business can have is visibility. When people search for a topic, they usually use type or voice search using words like “Find a hairdresser near me.” The higher your business is on the list the search returns, the more likely you are to get the business. So how do you get to the top of the list? It’s a big subject, so we’re going to cover the basics and keep it simple. 

First, it is really important to optimize your website. Optimizing starts with simply using the right words everywhere on your site, in both the hidden HTML and on the pages visitors can see. 

Claim Your Business on Google 

Google allows business owners to set up a profile and update important information about their company. Here is our guide on how to claim your business on Google

How to Claim OR Add Your Business to Google

Add Your Business to Google Maps 

If you are a local business you want to set up your website to show up on the map in local search results. Follow our guide on how to add your local business to Google Maps

Google My Business GMB Listing for Local Roofing Business

Use Keywords in Your URLs 

Here’s what the link to our ebook, “Proven Ways to Get Customer Reviews”  looks like. Simple, right? The URL tells you exactly what to expect. And yet some websites give you helpful URLs like fakecompany.com/resources/43745. What’s that? A video? A tutorial? A game of Tetris? 

Free Marketing Tips - Optimize URL

Nail the Title Tags & Meta Description

Meta tags are placed in the head section of each HTML page. The meta title tag shows on search engine pages. Moz has a handy tool and tutorial you can use to create meta title tags for each page. It should include the name of your business and a very short description of what is on the page. Here’s the meta title for Broadly’s Lead Central product page:

SEO Title Tag Free Marketing Tip

The meta description is a mini-sales pitch. It shows up under the title, and tells people what to expect on the page. It should be no longer than 160 characters, and entice users to click. Here’s ours for the same Lead Central page:

Make Headings Count 

On the page, your visitors see, the words you choose are equally important. Use keywords in page title, headers, and subheaders.

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Link to Your Own Pages 

Wherever practical, add links to pages on your site in your blog posts ← just like that. That’s called internal linking and helps Google to better understand different pages on your website. 

Build Business Directory Links 

You’ll also need to check with local business directory listing and review services like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and  Google My Business. Monitor your listings to answer comments and make sure the information is correct. Keep on top of reviews by thanking positive reviewers and working to make things right for people with complaints.

Watch Your Site’s Speed

To load fast, your website needs to be lean and mean. “Weight” from gigantic image files, external ads, or scripts that load automatically to play music and annoy visitors slows your website load speed…and that hurts your SEO.

Useful Content Brings Free Traffic

Every day, billions of people search for answers. The company that provides the best answers to the questions they ask comes up at the top of the search engine. This is the why, you’ll find more details about the how in the Targeting and Content Marketing sections below.

Target Your Audience
Customer Service Email Templates for Different Types of Customers

You can waste a lot of time and money marketing the wrong message to the wrong audience. Creating customer personas can help you identify your target audience and refine your marketing tactics to speak directly to them in their own language.

Customer personas are fictitious profiles of your ideal customers demographics, gender, and needs. They help you understand who your customers are, what they want, and how to communicate with them. The more details you can add to your customer profile, the more effectively you’ll be able to market to new customers. You’ll use the information you gather on social media, in your web copy and content, in email marketing, and even for new product development. 

Develop your customer personas by understanding who your ideal customer is.

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Questions to identify your ideal customer:

  • How old is your ideal customer?
  • Male, female, or both?
  • What are their spending habits?
  • What have they bought from you in the past?
  • How frequently do they make a purchase?
  • How do they use your product?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What do they like/dislike about your brand?
  • What is their preferred method of communication?
  • What social media channels do they prefer?
  • How are they connected to other customers?

Content Marketing for Small Business
Small Business Content Strategies To Grow This Year

Blogging got its start as a diary of sorts, or a way that companies could get to know customers and show their human side. While it’s still fun and informative to let customers in on events your company participates in and company news, blogging has evolved into an auxiliary information hub you can use to answer questions asked by potential customers. Other content avenues include videos, press releases, ebooks, and webinars.

Write a Killer Blog

Fill your blog with detailed answers to questions asked by your customers and learn to use keyword research to find additional topics to write about. 

Let’s say you own a lawn business. What kind of questions would people search regarding their lawns?

    • How to fertilize a lawn in spring
    • How to kill weeds without killing my flowers
    • What kind of grass grows best in Greenville, South Carolina?
    • Should I water my plants during the day or at night? 

You get the idea. Write blog posts about things customers are bound to search for, and include any locally-specific information that works for your industry. Search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, search for the content with the most complete answer to the question a user is searching for. The better your answer, the more likely you are to land on the first page of the search results. The closer you are to the #1 position, the more likely customers are to click on your website to read more…and the more likely they are to do business with you.

Get More Customers Now

Record a Podcast or Series of Videos

A regular podcast or a series of videos is fantastic, especially for a business where you can hand out DIY tips. A painter, for example, might demonstrate how to tape off trim, talk about what kind of equipment to do, and explain exactly how to hit that pointy corner on a 20-foot ceiling.

Write a Press Release

When your business does something special, let the world know. New offices, charity event participation, expansion, and new services or products are all great reasons to write a press release. Send it to local and online industry publications, and post it on your website.

Add Some Pizzazz to Your Sales Copy

Read your sales copy with a critical eye. Is it interesting? Does it tell a story? One great example of storytelling copy is Farmer’s Insurance. Not only do they have great story commercials, but their website is also full of engaging, relatable stories. This story about hail is personal, scary, packed with information, and when you read it, you really want home insurance.

Free Social Media Marketing

Your customer personas will tell you which social media channels to spend time on. It will depend on age and interests. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are most well social networks known for marketing purposes, but sites like Linkedin, Flipbook, Pinterest, and WhatsApp may be more effective based on your target market demographics. Figure out where your customers are most likely to hang out online and go there. 

How To Gain Free Social Media Traffic

  • Share often, and share well. 
  • Respond. Look for opportunities to engage your audience, ask questions, offer promotions, share success stories, horror stories, and participate in local involvement
  • Monitor your mentions, and if a customer mentions you, answer. Using reputation management software allows you to listen to all the conversations about your business. If they share something positive with you (like a photo of a beautiful lawn you gave advice about), promote it. 
  • Use hashtags. Join discussions around your industry and/or local area each time you post.
  • Create a Groupon. You’ll be selling your services at a discount, but the reach you get with Groupon is huge, and repeat business is worth more than a one-time customer.

What you shouldn’t do: use social media strictly for overt selling. If every post is a solicitation, it will turn your audience off. Give them interesting content they’ll be happy to share.

Need Help Getting Reviews?

Word of Mouth Testimonials

Not surprisingly, word of mouth is still the most trusted form of advertising and the best marketing tool you can have. Shoppers used to ask friends and family for recommendations; today we can read online reviews from hundreds of users we’ve never met. 

Reviews are the most trusted source of information used by consumers before they buy, so strong customer testimonials are crucial to building your brand reputation. Here are some revealing facts and statistics:

  • Consumers are 270% more likely to buy a product with reviews than a product with no reviews. – Spiegel Research Center
  • Google encourages businesses to get reviews and says reviews will improve your local ranking. 
  • 92% of shoppers read customer referrals before making a purchase, and 60% of them look for reviews on Google – bizrate insights
  • Personal recommendations are at least twice as likely to influence a sale than advertising and are more trusted than celebrity or influencer endorsements – SurveyMonkey

Turn Customers Into Reviewers

If you’re a new business, how do you get personal recommendations? Every customer “touch” offers the potential to do two things: upsell and ask for a testimonial. Customer touches include providing service, solving problems, and communicating in any form. 

  • Ask – at the right time. When you make a sale, answer questions via web chat, email, or text messaging, or fix a customer’s problem, it’s the perfect time to ask for a favor. Great customer service will help you earn those online reviews.
  • Make it simple. One thing most experts agree on is that making reviews simple for your customers to leave is key. With Broadly’s automated review platform, customers can leave reviews on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Nextdoor, or any other review site with a single click. We can even send an automated email or text to ask for the review! 
  • Give back. Make word-of-mouth even more appealing and expand your customer base by starting a customer referral program. Offer a discount or a gift when your customers’ friends become customers.

Build Community Relationships
Community Marketing for Plumbers

Being part of your local community doesn’t cost anything but your time. 

  • Meet and greet other business owners and potential clients at Chamber of Commerce meetings and other local events. 
  • Partner with nearby businesses for a low-cost marketing campaign. For example, you could get all the businesses in your business park or shopping center to host a family event with themed food, decorations, and fun entertainment.
  • Be eventful. You can also get your staff involved in charity events, support a youth league, or participate in small business showcase events such as art shows or food festivals in the park. Offer free product samples, branded swag, or stage a raffle or giveaway. Any opportunity to make a good impression on thousands of neighbors, hand out business cards, and get covered by your local news station for doing good works is smart positioning. Be sure and send out press releases and talk to local stations in advance to help boost event participation.
  • Make referrals. Leave reviews about other local businesses, and be sure to include a photo and your company contact information.
  • Send holiday gifts and birthday cards to your best customers, community leaders, and local businesses.
  • Donate prizes for local fundraisers. Buy movie or sporting event tickets, donate your services for free, or buy a few cases of candy bars for the high school stadium concession stand, and then slap on a sticker with Go Wildcats! And your company logo. The team makes money, and the parents are grateful…and remember your brand.

There are tons of free marketing ideas for small businesses. Since Google reports that 3.8 million searches happen every minute, SEO, social media, and your own website are excellent starting points. These marketing tips will help you build your digital marketing, online presence, and local reputation without draining your marketing budget.