Simple tips to help customers find your small business when you don’t have much time.

Oh the joys of small business – you are the most time-poor workers in our economy. When you are everything from the cook to the baker and candlestick maker it is really difficult to take a step back and think about where your next customers are coming from. There is so much hi-tech marketing jargon around that it puts you into a spin just thinking about it. And furthermore you just don’t have the time to get your head around it.

Here are three simple online ways to help customers find your small business.  Not just any customer, the right customer.  And when I say “right” I mean one that is likely to convert, one that is more than likely going to buy your product or service rather than just give your tyres a good ‘ole kick.

1. Website – one that is fresh, updated and talks to your customers
OK – I can almost hear the groans and see your eyes glazing over. Why do I need a website when putting a few posts (or even ads) on social media is so much quicker? Where on earth will I find the time to maintain a website? Or maybe you have been fortunate enough to get by with word of mouth and don’t see the need, but that may not always be the case.

Well the answer is in the stats. As many as 81% of consumers conduct online research before committing to buying. If you aren’t showing up when they start searching then you are out of the race before it even starts. Currently just 64% of small businesses have a website, and of these I am fairly confident quite a few have been sitting there gathering cobwebs for a while. That is a whole chunk of market that small business are missing out on. When 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business without a website you can’t afford to not be part of the equation.

Furthermore, once you get a prospective customer to your website, you can keep in contact with them by funneling them through to your email list. Why go chasing new customers all the time when these ones have already told you they are interested in what you have to offer?

2. Tell Your Story
Consumers want to get to know you. They want to be able to trust you and connect with you. Gone are the days of stuffy, formal, “pretending to be something that you aren’t” marketing tricks. This is about being authentic. Let your prospects know why you do what you do? What do you love about it? It is your story that sets you apart from your competitors. Prospective customers really do want to know and they really do want to be able to feel as though they can trust you. The simplist way to do that is to share your story.

This is also where social media can help as it can be quite useful in dispersing your story so that it has further reach. Blogs are also a great way to connect, build trust and share that you have something that they need. Ultimately though, those that decide they may have a connection with your product will head over to your website first to check you out, so your story also needs to be part of your website message.

The whole purpose of any marketing you do is to inform, engage and convert so the sooner your prospects connect with you the sooner they get to the conversion stage.

3. Share Your Knowledge and Expertise (for free)
To many small business owners this one initially seems to be counter intuitive. Why share my knowledge for free when that is what I want to sell? Well it actually doesn’t work that way. What it does is instills in prospects that you are an expert in your field, that you know what you are talking about and builds your reputation. That gives your prospects a whole lot of confidence when they are at the buying stage.

If you freely share your knowledge and expertise now it will be you they remember when they decide to purchase. So how do you do this? There are lots of ways but they include FAQs, informative blogs, impartial product reviews, tips and tricks about services you offer or if you really get into it, create a resource like an e-book.

The clincher with each of these three ways to help customers find you is that they are relatively simple and not expensive to do. If you feel as though you don’t have the confidence to write content for your website, blogs or social media posts there are lots of simple on-line tools to show you how and break it down for you. Or if you simply cannot find the time another option is to outsource it. That way you are buying yourself a whole lot of time that you don’t have by getting someone else to do it and the investment is nowhere near as crazy as what it once was.

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