No matter how big or small a business is, a strong online visibility is essential in the digital age. At a time when B2B buying behaviours are changing, we’re seeing reliance upon digital information becoming heavier and heavier. Even if B2B buyers are still showing a preference for purchasing offline, Google’s research reports that more than half of all B2B purchases are at least somewhat influenced by digital methods.
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that big corporations dominate the web. Search for ‘coffee’, for example, and Starbucks and Costa both feature on the first page of results. Small, independent coffee shops are below the fold, of course. The reason? Quite simply, larger businesses have both the budget and the resources to make themselves stand out from the crowd and ensure that they’re highly visible.
Pay-per-click, or PPC, is one of the most effective methods of online promotion, but statistics suggest that the average business using Google Ads spends the equivalent of $10,000 per month on PPC… not something that fits in within every small business’s budget. Similarly, content marketing can be hugely valuable, yet many small businesses lack the resources they need to publish content regularly.
So just what are some simple, low cost methods for improving small business online visibility?
More and more B2B buyers are using social media to help them to make a purchasing decision for their business, which means that social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and professional network LinkedIn can all be good places to find and engage leads. Building a social presence typically requires fewer resources than content marketing due to limits placed on the size of posts, making it a good option for small businesses who lack the resources needed to manage a blog. The ability of social media posts to spread amongst people makes for cost-effective advertising if done well.
While online directories are certainly a more traditional method of boosting online visibility than social media, they can still be a valuable tool. As Google is placing increasing importance on context, the free-to-use Google My Business directory is being incorporated into search results to provide users with more relevant websites. Directories like these can be used to provide prospective buyers with information about your brand.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is commonly associated with content marketing. What many small businesses don’t realise is that you don’t need to have a blog to incorporate SEO into the mix. In fact, anything that your brand publishes online — from social media posts to directory entries — can be optimised by including important keywords and phrases that your audience are likely to be searching for. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and think about what keywords are being used by your audience.
‘Visibility’ doesn’t necessarily mean that a small business can be seen by every user, every time. Instead, it’s more about ensuring that your business is seen by the right people, at the right time. For B2B sellers, this means focusing on buyer needs and behaviours, implementing small changes to your processes to integrate SEO, social media, and online directories into your efforts to connect with your audience.