The Best Online Tools for Small Businesses
Consolidating and expanding your business base does not have to be costly or complicated, even if you are a small business owner. In this article you can learn about five simple strategies to achieve this.
In today’s digital world, no business can expect to stay ahead of the competition unless it has a well-designed website that displays quality content. However, simply having a website is not enough to guarantee success. The ever-changing nature of technology requires business owners to become familiar with a number of digital tools, and this applies to small-sized businesses as much as it does to large companies. This can be a daunting prospect once the range of online tools available is considered, so which are the most useful tools that small businesses can use to their advantage?
1- Google Alerts
Knowing who your competitors are is an essential element in the business success equation. You can of course browse the net in order to identify your main competitors, but we all know how time-consuming that can be. So, why not let an automated application do this for you? All you need to do is identify the keyword that best describes your products or services and can set up Google Alerts to send you notifications whenever the application detects new content about that keyword. Doing so will keep you up-to-date with industry trends and any new businesses that may turn into competitors.
2- Google Analytics
Knowing your customers is as important as knowing your competitors and, once again, Google has a specific online tool that can help small business owners obtain vital information about actual and potential customers. This free tool can help you measure the success on your online marketing campaigns by determining the number of visitors that land on your business site, but more importantly, it can also help you to determine why visitors do not stay on your website. Google Analytics can identify which page in your site has the highest bounce rate (visitors leaving the site straight after entering it), thus giving valuable hints as to which parts of your website need to be rewritten or redesigned.
3- Google Places
According to Google, 97 per cent of customers look up local business services online. Google Places can help improve the exposure and visibility of your business locally by accurately mapping your company on Google Maps. More than that, Google Places allows business owners to insert a description of their services or products, which will appear along the address and coordinates of their business. Customers can also write reviews that will be publicly displayed, and it is thought that the volume of positive reviews for your company can positively influence your website’s rankings within Google searches.
As essential as online marketing is, it can be hard to find time to keep track of the latest developments in this area, or even to learn the basics. This is especially true of small business owners, who often have so much on their plate. Mailchimp is a godsend in these cases, as this online tool can provide useful tips on creating a non-spammy subject line for marketing e-mail campaigns, filter relevant contacts in your address book, track the specific contacts that open your marketing e-mails, and show who has unsubscribed from your services.
5- Online agencies / directories
Lastly, you should consider signing up to a relevant online business directory or agency that specialises in your business area. This can help to gain more exposure for your business and website, and links from authoritative agency websites can help to drive traffic to your site. Associating your business with a respected agency with a good online presence is also a good way of building the reputation of your brand.
This article is courtesy of Transport Innovation, the specialists in freephone taxis who provide online and offline marketing solutions to local taxi firms.