Your website is the heart of your online presence, but it’s not necessarily the first place that new consumers are finding you online. In fact, it’s likely that they’re discovering you elsewhere and are only heading to your website because something they see there intrigues them.

This means that a great website is an important component of your marketing efforts, but it’s certainly not the only piece of the puzzle. Here’s a look at the top places consumers look and where to get your business online, and what you can do to make the best impression in each location.

Local Listings Sites

If you’re looking for an easy answer as to where to get your business online, we’ve got it. The answer is everywhere.

When consumers are looking for a local solution to a need, they’ll often turn to local listings for their initial broad search. I’m sure you’ve done this in your own life: When you move to a new city, you check out Yelp reviews of local hair salons or barbershops to find a place with a convenient location, fair pricing, and great reviews. If you’re undertaking a home renovation project for the first time, you might turn to a site like Houzz or Angie’s List for help in finding trustworthy contractors, electricians, and plumbers.

There are some local listings platforms where every business owner should claim their business and create a profile, like Google My Business. Then, depending on your industry or location, there may be more niche listings sites that make sense for your business.

Reviews are an essential component of local listings, so be prepared to handle any feedback — positive or negative — that comes your way. Statistics show that 90% of consumers are checking out reviews before making a purchase decision, and nearly 70% are making purchase decisions based on what they read.

Search Engines

While some consumers go straight to a local listing site or app to run their search, others will head to Google, Bing, or another search engine. That’s why it’s important to have a joint SEO and paid search strategy.

A strong SEO approach will help you show up in search results for relevant terms and keywords. Plus, Google pulls information for their Maps search results, snippets, and other featured search information based on your organic online presence.

However, PPC will get your name right to the top of the page for your chosen search terms. You’ll typically show up ahead of even organic results, and studies have shown that businesses whose names appear in both paid and organic results on the same search engine results page have a higher chance of getting clicks.

Social Media

The final major online search channel that consumers are turning to is social media. Discovering new brands on Facebook or Instagram can happen in a number of ways: some are influenced by friends’ posts and positive reviews, others see the brand promoted by their favorite influencer, and others search for keywords of interest and happen upon the business’s official profile or page.

Again, a combined paid and organic approach works best on social media. With organic tactics, you can share meaningful content and start conversations with fans on your pages or in relevant groups. Combine that with paid tactics, which can help you identify and target the consumers who are most likely to take an interest in your brand, and you’ve created a recipe for success.

Direct Mail

While all of these digital channels are important, you also shouldn’t neglect tried-and-true marketing tactics, like direct mail. With crowded email inboxes and News Feeds, sometimes it’s the snail mail that catches consumers’ eyes in a way that digital tactics can’t. Plus, using modern analytics and tools, you can identify the segment of the population that will best respond to a direct mail campaign and present them with personalized, trackable offers, so you can easily measure results.

And even with a mailing, you can include your website address and handles for all your social media channels. That way, you’re still alerting those who receive your mailing to your presence online.

If you were to ask your customers where they first discovered your business, very few would say they just happened upon your website. Today’s consumers are savvy and do a lot of research before settling on a business to meet their needs.

You want your brand to show up on the platforms and in the channels where these consumers are searching. If you’re smart about creating a complete online presence, you can make sure your brand is front and center on the top platforms where consumers are finding businesses like yours. Want more direct guidance on where to get your business online, and what to do when you get there? We can help you get on the channels that matter most to your customers. Contact us today to learn more.

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