Rock Talk

Small Business Owners: From offline to online part 2

Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:41 pm

In the previous post, we discussed the proper steps to help improve your business’ online presence. We identified the importance of a value-add, establishing an online goal and considering what channels your customers use to find you.

Now that you’ve accomplished these three steps, you’re ready to execute your online plan. For customers who prefer reading user reviews, creating business pages on sites like Yelp and Google+ can be helpful. You can expand to other channels and reach customers who value business credentials by creating a LinkedIn page. On each of these sites, remember to include your business’ value-add and other basic information, like business hours and areas of operation. For other tips and best practices, check out Google’s video.

When your online presence is established and you’re feeling comfortable, focus on differentiating your business from the competition. When customers are perusing the internet, it’s likely they will have common questions about your business. For example, if you’re an independent insurance agent, customers might wonder which carriers you offer or how long you’ve been in business. Your online content should focus on answering these types of questions.

In the case of the insurance agent, you could also post links to the carriers you offer or share customer testimonials. You could even go a step further and get creative by uploading videos that discuss helpful insurance buying tips. No matter how you choose to address these questions, your website content should reinforce your business’ value-add, convincing customers that your products and services are the best selection.

It’s important to have a cohesive and holistic presence across all of your online channels. Customers should be able to travel seamlessly from one of your business pages to another, all of which convey a consistent message. To achieve this, be sure to integrate related links in each of your pages. For example, your Google+ page could direct customers to your Yelp page to find reviews. To learn more about how to create a holistic experience for your customer, check out Google Webmasters’ explanation.

If in your business, the majority of your interaction with customers is in person or over the phone, you may want to encourage happy customers to visit your pages at review sites like Yelp and Google+ to post their comments and feedback. Reviews can be very powerful, so let your customers know that you value their feedback. For tips on how to obtain – and curate – online reviews, check out this article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

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