There's a long list of things you can be doing to grow your business online. You probably know that, and yet you get so busy that you neglect it. Well, you don't have to do everything. Just pick three things that make sense to you.
I got this idea from Jennifer Horowitz, and if you're looking for more ideas than I have room to talk about here, I suggest you check out what she has to say at the link. I only have room for about ten or so, and she discusses thirty or more. But don't let those numbers throw you. All you need to do is pick three things, every day. Set aside some time perhaps 15 minutes, perhaps an hour or so and do those things. Then tomorrow, do three other things. Before you know it, you'll build up some momentum.
So what three things can you do to promote your business? Well, what will be most effective is going to vary with the business. I'll give you ten ideas to get you started, though; you can go to Horowitz for some more, or come up with some of your own. The point is, if you devote a little time to promoting your business online every day, it won't become the big, scary, horrifying monster that never gets done.
Let's start with how the search engines see your site. Is there some new content you can add? Are there broken links that need fixing? How about sending out an email requesting a link? These are the kinds of little housekeeping things that can help your standing in the search engines and encourage searchers to trust you.
Now let's take a look at Facebook. If you don't have a Fan Page for your business there, get one. Once you have a page for your business, you can use it to connect with customers. Tell them about sales, hold contests, offer coupons, and in general engage with these people so they don't forget about you. Keep it interesting, and they'll be pleased to see your updates on their Wall.
The third you can do to promote your business online is create content for your blog or website. Make sure that it's interesting and engaging. And by all means, include a call to action. For example, if you're running a nursery, you could write a piece on why herbs make good plants for beginning gardeners, and conclude with something like You'll do well to buy some lovely herb plants from the stock we just got in! Basil, rosemary, cilantro, you name it! Mention this blog post and get 10 percent off! (I'm hardly a copy writer, but I'm sure you get the idea).
The fourth thing you can do for your site is check for 404 errors and clean them up. Yes, it's a housekeeping chore, but like housekeeping it's one of those not-fun-but-necessary things we all have to do. Consider how frustrated you feel when you get a 404 not found error for something you're trying to find online, and imagine your customers feeling that. That should help motivate you if nothing else does.
The fifth thing you can do is invite a guest blogger to make a post to your site or blog. Guest bloggers can give your readers a different perspective on things, to say nothing of the fresh content they add.
And of course, the flip side of this coin is the sixth thing you can do to promote your business online: look for opportunities to be a guest blogger on someone else's blog. If you do get the invitation, don't be lazy; give it your best effort. That way, readers will be encouraged to follow the link you include to your own blog or website.
The seventh thing you can do is test your shopping cart to make sure it's user-friendly and working correctly. This isn't necessarily just a housekeeping chore. You'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) at how many would-be customers will abandon their shopping carts merely because the checkout process took too many steps or was too difficult or time-consuming. This is one of the worst ways to lose customers, and it's worth checking your checkout process to avoid it.
The eighth thing you can do is really simple: if you haven't done it yet, add Like and +1 buttons to your website and blog. This will encourage your customers to get the word out about you in social media. Lots of local businesses do this, and you should, too.
Speaking of social media, the ninth thing you can do to promote your business is see about snagging a Google+ invite. If you're on there already, try out the features (there are a ton of them) and consider how you can use them in your business. It isn't all about promotion by any stretch; there are articles that mention using Google Circles for customer support, as just one possibility. You can find a number of articles on business uses for Google+ already, and it hasn't been in limited public testing all that long yet.
The tenth thing you can do to promote yourself and your business online takes a little work, but if it takes off, it'll be worth it. Create a video online and start talking it up everywhere. Just make sure it's worth talking up and relevant to your business.
Okay, I've given you ten ideas; I'm sure you can come up with plenty more. The key point is, you only need to do three of them a day. That's how you can go about promoting your business every day without getting overwhelmed at how much you need to do. Good luck!
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