Starting your own business either on your own or with a partner is always daunting – after all, no matter what you’re making, selling, or offering, the likelihood is you’ll have a rival or two and your ultimate aim will be to make sure that you constantly remain two strides ahead at all times. While you may have fantastic ideas, business ethics and a route into the marketplace, there are a number of things you can do to get even further ahead of the game – and while good SEO practice from an experienced team of professionals will help you tackle the online side of things – there are a number of things you can do to make sure you’re appealing to as many people as possible both on and off the web.
In any business, whether you’re a sole trader or working on behalf of a partnership, networking is essential. Look for likeminded local business owners in your area either via regular business networking meetups or Chamber of Commerce events – or you can even do so via social media by following and conversing with the right people, and your target audience. Twitter, in particular, is becoming a very lucrative tool in this regard. So are business cards – while many may see them as an outdated form of advertising, passing them on by any means possible will get you out there just the same. Everyone you network with should get a business card – so make it eye-catching and informative without going over the top on the detail!
Word of mouth, even in a climate where getting yourself online and connected via social media, is still a huge factor in getting yourself seen by prospective clients. By providing a superb service and customer experience, your clients are more likely to recommend your expertise and business ethic to their colleagues, friends and maybe even their rivals – and the same should go for you. If you pay the favour forward, and recommend clients and businesses you’ve worked with in the past, they will be more likely to back you up on future projects and could even encourage you in finding more contracts and clients going forward.
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Being the best you can possibly be in your line of work goes without saying – but by demonstrating that you are amongst the best in your field regularly will go a long way in attracting people to your cause. If you have the time and the facility to, why not record regular podcasts, videos or write blogs to demonstrate what you understand about the industry and why you are passionate about it? Further to this, from an SEO standpoint, we recommend keeping a regular blog to ensure that your website is constantly seen to be fresh and active – Google and your clients will be more inclined to approach you if this is the case.
Everyone loves a freebie – and the UK is a competition-loving nation – so why not offer some of your services or wares for free as part of a promotion or competition? Free samples go a long way in allowing potential clients to decide whether or not they wish to invest, and competitions give people a chance to win something great for absolutely nothing invested – meaning it’s win-win for the client, and for you, it’s extra exposure and the chance to get your foot in the door with a new client and potentially a whole new network of people. You can also offer freebies by encouraging people to subscribe to email mailing lists or by following you – perhaps by offering a discount on their first order. Donating your wares to local public event in return for valuable free publicity is also a very shrewd move for anyone that may not have the largest budget to spend on marketing.
While most businesses will be focused upon attracting new customers and clients, it’s just as important to look after those that have generated considerable work for you in the past. If you work on a business-to-business (or B2B) basis, this is particularly important. Maintaining business contacts is all about making time for each other. Never forget where you’ve come from – and always make the effort and time to keep your existing clientele close. After all, they will not only remain a regular source of work for you, but also a regular source of promotion, too. The longer your relationship with a client, the better!
While you may well put yourself out there on a fantastic website and an engaging Facebook page or Twitter feed, you’ll get only a slim share of what you could potentially get from actively seeking customers and regular work. By putting yourself where your customers are – whether it be craft fairs, local markets, networking events or even in dedicated Twitter chats – you’ll give the impression of a proactive and passionate entrepreneur that is genuinely energised by their work and by finding new people to work with regularly.
While many clients will eagerly pass your name on to colleagues and friends within their industry, you can ensure this happens by offering a discount or a free gift if they refer you onwards – therefore, your client will return for more business, will put your services out there to more people, and you’ll be helping them out in the process. Again, people like to ensure that they get as much as they can for free – meaning that you can work this to your advantage to ensure that both you and your customers benefit on each and every occasion.
Making sure that your online presence can be easily found on directories such as Google Maps or Yell.com is a great start, as it will connect you directly to anyone searching for your services based on their location. This is a great way to show up at the top of local results, and ensuring that your location is part of your SEO strategy will reap considerable benefits for you.
It goes without saying that, as a dedicated team of SEO professionals and web designers, we recommend that your website and social media content be appealing, inspiring and that it is run through with a fine SEO toothcomb. Appealing to customers via Google is no longer about stuffing keywords as and where they fall – it’s a finer process that we can help with and ensure that you are pushed as far as possible to the top of search engine ladders on an organic basis. Writing good content alone, again, is well worth the effort – engaging, original and inspiring words used in the right way will make the difference between a reader becoming a customer or simply leaving to go elsewhere. Think about the power of visual aspects of the web – infographics, for example, are becoming increasingly popular as they’re fun and easy to read – meaning that you can engage with your customers before you even do business!
For dedicated website design support and SEO consultation for all businesses large and small, contact SEO CoPilot today on 01246 540869 – even if you’re just starting out, we will be happy to help you get your services seen and your sales boosted in no time at all.