If you’re like most business owners, you are always looking for places to promote your business online. After all, you don’t have the advantage of huge brands that are household names. You have to work at getting visibility. Here is a handy checklist of 12 places to get visibility – make sure you have these covered if they apply to your business:
Customer Receipts: Put your website URL on your receipts to build awareness and loyalty. Provide the URL to a survey (make sure the URL is short) on your website. Offer a free monthly drawing for those who take part in the survey to encourage them to visit your website. Not only will it encourage visitors, but you could gather some terrific customer feedback and testimonials this way.
Packaging: Do include your website address on packaging material. If you provide a sturdy and nice-looking shopping bag, for instance, many people will save it. They will see your URL again and again each time they re-use the bag – or it may be passed along to someone else to see.
Outdoor advertising and advertising in public places: If you depend on a local market, consider outdoor advertising such as billboards, buses, subway station placards, train stations and other public venues. For this, it helps to have a short or catchy domain name that people can easily remember.
In Presentations: If you’ve been invited to speak at an event — whether it’s for the local Chamber of Commerce breakfast or a national industry event — include your web address prominently on any PowerPoint slides. At the very least, put your URL on the beginning and ending slides, and if possible in the footer of each slide. Don’t forget key social media profiles — and mention your blog, too! Give people a reason to want to stay connected with you afterward. If people request a print copy of the presentation, the information will be there. Or, if the presentation is shared online as is often the case, the URL will be there.
Direct Mailers: The USPS has an affordable direct mail program called Every Door Direct with an online tool you can use. If you issue mailers through this or any other method, include a URL for a landing page specifically tied to that mailer (such as mybiz.com/mailer). That way, when people visit you will know it was as a result of the mailer, and you can track response rates better.
Business Cards: You might laugh at this and say, “Doesn’t everybody have their Web address on their business cards?” Yes, there are still some people who do not. Don’t be one of them. But let’s assume you already have your Web address on there — here’s another tip: include a QR Code that recipients can scan with a mobile device, taking them to an information page on your website optimized for mobile. Or offer them a special incentive to scan the code, such as special tips or to receive a freebie Guide. When you make it quick and easy for people to visit your site by whatever method they prefer, you win.
Email Signature: Include a link to your website in your email signature so that every time you send a message to a customer, vendor or even a friend, you’re promoting your site. Besides, it’s a courtesy. Nothing is more irritating than to need to contact someone and not be able to find a phone number or a Web address in email messages. Include one or two key social profiles, too, such as Twitter and your company Facebook Page.
Press Releases: Today you can issue press releases easily online through one of the many press release distribution services that will syndicate it out to numerous sites. You don’t necessarily need to have a PR firm working for you. Not sure you have news to reveal? Most companies have some kind of news – they just may not consciously think of it. New products, a key new executive hire, a partnership arrangement, achieving a major milestone, receiving an industry award — all are reasons to issue a press release. If you’re not in the habit of issuing releases regularly, put it on your calendar as a reminder for once a quarter.
Local Listings: If you are a local business, be sure you have claimed and verified the accuracy of your local listings in Google, Bing, Yelp and other places. An easy way to do this is to use an online tool such as GetListed.org that will check the major listings and assist you in updating them. Be sure to include your website URL in each local listing. And make sure it’s correct!
Professional Communities and Directories: Don’t forget about professional communities and places where businesses are listed. Whether you’re a small business taking advantage of a networking site like BizSugar, part of the local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau or an industry group, take advantage of any directories and list your site!
Social Media Pages: Set up pages on major social media sites for your company and include the website address, of course. This includes your company Twitter account, company Facebook Page, Google+ page, LinkedIn page — even Pinterest and other sites. Go over to Knowem.com and you can find hundreds of social sites where you can reserve your name. You don’t have to set up and use hundreds, but at least cover the major sites frequented by your customers and target audience.
Guest Blog Posts: Contributing guest posts on other blogs is an accepted way today to develop thought leadership for company executives and to make others aware of your company. Look for authoritative sites in your industry when searching for guest posting opportunities. Then, be sure to include a brief “About the Author” statement that includes your website URL. Not only will you get in front of the readers of that other blog, but you may be contacted by the media (who look at blogs for article ideas). It will tell them where to find information online about you and your company.
Remember, your website is your home base on the Web