A beginner’s guide to marketing your business online

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Getting the basics right when it comes to your online marketing strategies

Do you really need a great website?

Well, what if I told you that my experience with rats proves that yes, you do.

Recently, I needed to hire an exterminator. I will spare you the disgusting details of the Great Strauss House Rat Infestation of 2020 (and you thought your quarantine was bad!) and simply share the most curious business aspect of this experience:

Nearly every exterminator in my area had almost the exact same website. Weird, really weird.

The layouts were the same, the verbiage was the same, only the names were changed to protect the guilty. Much like the rats who invaded my garbage area, the exterminators who promised to rid me of them were virtually indistinguishable from one another.

Their terrible websites meant that I couldn’t find and choose the best one for my needs.

Why this was, I do not know, and I didn’t care enough to find out. But when I finally found someone with a different site and an actual real name and story, I hired him on the spot, and he was great.

The point being, when it comes to online businesses and marketing, your small business’ website can make or break you.

This is certainly true for Daniel Reyes of Kenmore Kleaning. In 2007, Daniel and his business partner started the cleaning company but for various reasons, they had to close up shop five years later. Then when Covid hit and his ex-partner lost his job, the pair decided the time was ripe to give it another go, given our collective newfound focus on cleanliness.

So the partners teamed up with Yahoo Small Business to create a new and much improved site for their new/old business. They were able to take advantage of Yahoo Small Business’ Get Online offer that allows you to quickly and easily get a URL, create a website, get branded emails, and start to sell your services. The offer is free for a year if you sign up before the end of December.

Says Daniel, “I knew Kenmore Kleaning needed a standout, standalone website since much of my competition do not even have a professional website. I used the Yahoo Small Business Get Online offer to get a site for free and in around two to three days I had developed a great, professional website including customizations like a video background and Facebook Messenger on the homepage.”

So yes, having a great website is vital. But it is also true that it is only one aspect of your online marketing.

To succeed, because there is so much competition, your online marketing must be consistent, powerful, and have an X factor. What I mean by that is that your business must present itself as something unique, different, special, better.

Let me repeat that: Unique, different, special, better.

You need to stand out from the crowd. You need to get noticed. You need to give potential customers a reason to remember your site and business. You do that by being unique, and then sharing that difference consistently in a variety of ways online so that that message comes across loud and clear.

There are many tools you can use to do this:

1. Your site: I love the Yahoo Small Business site builder because it allows you to easily, quickly, and affordably build a beautiful, professional small business site, and that’s where it all starts. That is what people will check out first. Tell your company story, show why you are unique and better, and be approachable.

2. SEO: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of building a site that will get indexed and ranked well by Google and other search engines. The site you build with Yahoo Small Business will certainly help with this, and here’s an extra trick: Be sure to use some sort of SEO analyzer tool as you build out webpages – this will help you maximize your site’s SEO.

3. Go local: You also want your business to show up on local searches, and so this tool – Localworks, can help you get listed on over 70 such directories and search engines.

4. Social media: Needless to say, you need to nab the social media handles that correspond to your business and then begin to post there. Post articles and tips from your site, interesting videos you find, and so on. Create engagement with your audience. Be authentic. Don’t sell too much. Offer freebies.

5. Online advertising: Those tiny Google ads you see on sites, as well as ads you see in search results and on Facebook and Instagram, permeate the web for one reason – they work. And they can work for you too. So be sure to learn how online advertising works and then go for it.

This post is sponsored by Yahoo Small Business. As always, all opinions and ideas are entirely my own.