If you are a small business then you will always be looking for new customers. You may have tried all sorts of marketing ideas already. Some have probably been more successful than others. The internet is , however, the largest source of new customers available to any business. So how do you go about using it to win new business?
The internet is massive. There are billions of pages and billions of users worldwide, so it represents the largest window of opportunity for any business. If you can harness it’s power, then your business will thrive and be sustainable over the longer term.
So where does a small business start?
How Google works
Google receives about two thirds of the internet’s total search queries.
When anyone searches on Google, they are not actually searching the internet directly, what they are doing is searching Google’s index of pages that is has found.
The process by which Google finds pages on the internet is called crawling. Google sends out web crawlers called bots that search for new websites and new content on existing websites.
The bots job is to collect as much information as possible about each page so that Google head office can gain an understanding about the subject matter of each page.
The bot also helps Google head office to decide on the quality of the information on the page. It does this by assessing how much information is provided, whether there are helpful videos present and whether there is a lot of engagement with website visitors.
In fact Google uses a huge number of different “metrics” to decide on the quality of a web page.
Once this is complete, Google will know what a website is about and how good the information is on that site when compared to other sites that have a similar topic.
Google’s search results
When a user types a question into Google they want to see web pages that answer their question or provide the service that they are looking for. What Google is trying to do is the provide a list to that user of what it considers to be the sites that help the best.
This is an absolutely key concept to understand if you ever want to have a great relationship with Google. In the past (and unfortunately still today) many dubious web companies would try and fool Google into thinking their site was a good quality one. They would use a number of “techniques” none of which included trying to write a helpful webpage.
You may have heard of the various updates that Google applies to its search metrics (names such as penguin etc). These updates are designed to filter out websites that use these practices and leave only those that are genuinely helpful.
Imagine a customer came into your shop or office and asked for help about whatever it is you sell. You wouldn’t use a “technique” to help them. You would want to highlight the benefits of your service, maybe make a recommendation or show them specifically how you can sort out the problem that they have.
It’s no different online.
That is what Google is looking for in quality pages.
They want to find pages that help customers to solve problems.
So tip number one when creating your website content is to think about what real people would want to know about your product or service.
How would somebody find your business online? What might they type into Google?
Clearly the search term will depend on your particular business but some examples could include:
- Best dentist in Birmingham
- Apartments to let in New York
- Cheap flights to Australia
- Family friendly hotels in Barcelona
All of the above are referred to as keywords and your second tip is to try and gather together as many phrases as you can think of that are relevant to your business.
Once you have that list you need to use a keyword tool. One of the best ones that I have found is the Wealthy Affiliate keyword tool.
A good keyword tool allows you to see how many times a month a keyword phrase is typed into Google and also how many other websites are targeting that phrase.
What you are looking for is phrases with a high search volume and low competition. The more of those you can find the better.
Quantity and Quality
In general, phrases that have a high volume of searches tend to have a high number of competing websites. It’s only natural that other businesses in your industry will be targeting similar search phrases to you. Where there is high competition, you will find it more difficult to rank your pages well in Google as there will be a number of good quality sites that you are competing with.
Remember there is no magic formula when it comes to Google rankings. All that happens is that Google will decide what sites it thinks is the most helpful. If there are already hundreds of useful sites for a particular keyphrase then you will have your work cut out convincing Google that yours is better.
What works better is to target phrases that are relevant, but have a lower search volume and therefore lower competition.
The theory (and it’s a good theory) is that firstly it is easier to rank for lower competition phrases. Ranking well for those phrases will bring traffic to your site and it is better to say receive 10 visitors form 10 phrases (so 100 visitors in total) rather than trying to get 100 visitors from 1 phrase.
The benefit of this approach is that you won’t be reliant on a single search term for your website traffic.
Social Media and other promotion ideas
The World is very social these days with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being three of the most dominant platforms available. Smart businesses learn how to use these programs to build a pool of potential customers that they can start a conversation with.
The key with using social media is again not to focus on selling, but to focus on helping. People don’t like to be to sold to, but they will read a post that gives advice on how to solve a problem that they are having. If that advice involves a recommended product then you may make a sale.
A more direct marketing approach involves the use of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This method involves paying Google to appear in its search result page when someone types in a specific keyphrase.
This can be an expensive route to take if you don’t know what you are doing. The main problems that people encounter are:
- Too broad keyphrases targeted in PPC campaigns and
- Guiding users who click on their PPC adverts to webpages that aren’t relevant to the advert
A guide for businesses to follow
My recommended training platform where all of the above ideas are pulled together is Wealthy Affiliate. This is an online internet training program that teaches you how to:
- Build websites quickly and easily and without any technical knowledge
- How to find great keywords and phrases relevant to your business
- Guidance on creating useful content
- Ways of using social media to improve rankings and visitors
- Step by step guide to maximising PPC campaigns
- And much more
The normal monthly cost of the program is $47 however in order to allow anyone to have a full look at the training and the system for free there is the option of a free starter account.
The free account does not cost anything and doesn’t even ask for any kind of payment details for the future. All you need is a valid email address.
You can create your free account here
The internet represents the best source of new customers for businesses of all sizes and the methods of getting your business out there can easily be learned.
There is no need for expensive hosting or SEO companies as you can do it all yourself with the help of Wealthy Affiliate’s step by step training.
The free starter account is the best way to take a look as it can be accessed at no cost and zero risk to yourself.
So start today and start harnessing the power of the internet for the benefit of your business.
If you have any questions, either before or after you’ve created your account please feel free to ask them in the comment box below and I will answer them for you.
Good luck and best wishes!