Think about the last time you wanted to make a purchase that required some research, whether it was a new car, a new TV, some furniture, or a bike for your child.  What was the very first thing you did?  If you’re like most people, your answer can be summed up in one word: Google.  When consumers are in the early stages of buying something, they are likely to turn to Google.  So how can you use this to your advantage?  Read on for some ways to make yourself more visible online and offline.

  • Online commenting is a very effective way to drive traffic to your website.  Write brief but meaningful comments on sites that are relevant to your business.  You can also write reviews of books about your industry on sites like Amazon or Google Books.  Participating in this type of online discourse will allow you to network with other likeminded people in your field, and eventually make your name more recognizable on the web.  Furthermore, frequent commenting on well-chosen sites can increase the likelihood that people will find you on search engines like Google.
  • YouTube and podcasts are also available resources for you to use in your search for new customers.  Do not dismiss YouTube as solely a website for young people watching viral videos.  Many businesses are now using YouTube channels to post all kinds of videos such as tutorials, product demonstrations, and mini-advertisements.  Include the link to your website so viewers know where to go for more information.  The same goes for podcasts; for people on the go, they are a necessity.  Consider using this medium to communicate with not only prospects, but current customers as well.
  • Smartphone apps are a must for any brick and mortar business.  By registering for popular apps like FourSquare, Google Places, Yell, and GoWalla, you can take advantage of the ever increasing use of smartphones by current and potential customers.  Most of these apps are available for iPhones as well as Android and Blackberry phones.  People use these apps not only to find the location of a business, but also to link to the business website and read reviews by other users.
  • Here are some more ways –
    • Signage on cars
    • Fun signage/banner/T-shirts for your clients to display
    • Testimonials
    • Online/printed Reviews
    • Follow up cards, emails and phone calls
    • Seasonal promotions for your community
    • Sponsor charities and causes in your community
    • Weekly workshops and/or presentations in community hubs
    • Partnering with other businesses
    • Referral exchange – where you refer business to them and they refer business to you.
    • Sporting/community event meet and greet
    • Offer online/offline contest and give-a-ways
    • Joining or starting organizations and clubs

Many of the methods listed above are low-cost ways to help customers find you. Make the most out of your online presence, but don’t forget to also make it easy for your local community to find you offline as well.

How else can you increase your visibility to gain new customers?  Share your ideas below!

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