How to Become a Top-Ranked and Top-Rated Business Online
You are successful.
You have put in the time, effort and discipline to create positive change in your life and surround yourself with quality information and people. Small, positive changes you make each day are compounding to make your life and career more engaging, fulfilling and positive.
You are ready to leverage your positive choice into more success.
If you are responsible for growing your own business or driving sales for your organization, you are sitting in front of a fantastic opportunity that can take your powerful mindset and skills and turn it into new sales and profits.
The world of selling has transformed dramatically in the last five years and opened a very unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and local businesses.
1. Online searches for local businesses, products and services have increased dramatically.
Consider this: 81 percent of shoppers now conduct online research before making a purchase. These customers have purchase intent, which means they are already planning to buy the product or service and are just searching for the business that will provide the greatest experience.
With the majority of customers looking online for what you have to sell, you can focus your online marketing for just the search phrases that have purchase intent and tap into a waiting market of customers who already want what you have to offer!
A very small and manageable online campaign can produce significant volumes and profits because you focus on just the customers who are already planning to purchase.
2. Digital reviews have completely shifted customers’ purchase behavior.
Recent studies show that 92 percent of consumers now read online reviews before making a purchase decision (versus 88 percent in 2014). When using online reviews to drive more customers, the most important factors are the number of business reviews and overall rating.
Here is where this becomes powerful for you and your goals: You’ve made it this far. You’re dedicated and have what it takes to stand out in your market. You have an excellent product, amazing service and strong core values.
The online marketplace needs someone like you. The consumers want better products, services and a strong brand to support. You just need to properly showcase your online reviews using the same search phrases your customers are already using.
When you become well ranked on the first page of the search engine and become the most positively reviewed company in your niche, you’re on your way to connecting your business with new customers.
- You need to become a top-ranked option on the front page of search engines (Google, specifically) for the search phrases in your niche that have purchase intent.
- You need a system in place to engage your past, current and future customers. Over time, this works to make your business the best-rated option in your category.
- When you are listed on the front page with more positive reviews than your competitors, the majority of your online customers will choose to engage your business first.
Although the concept is simple, it can become a bit more complicated in practice. But just like any other meaningful goal in your life, getting ranked on search engines is a goal that can seem overwhelming until you take the first step. Once you have the knowledge, start taking small, consistent steps in the right direction every day. You can do it.
For a little motivation, check out one of the recent success stories from Connection Inc. Jen owns a family-run custom furniture business that was struggling to reach an online audience. We optimized their website, helped them create and optimize content, and taught them how to engage with clients for online reviews. They saw a complete revolution in return on investment from the online presence.
You can get started using these must-have tools:
1. A Google My Business Page
This is the core of your online rankings, the page that will showcase your reviews and show up on the front page in the local business listing—aka the “3 Pack” in front of local customers.
On many of our successful campaigns, the direct phone calls and visitors to the business come directly from the Google My Business page rather than the client’s website.
2. An Online Reputation Campaign
When the search engines are looking to rank businesses, they are searching for brands that are going to provide an excellent user experience. But because Google can’t actually do business with you, it looks for online signals that demonstrate you are a leader in your niche.
Give Google the right impression of your business by making sure you are listed on websites, such as the Better Business Bureau, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sign up for local and national review sites.
Starting now, mention your Google My Business profile to every happy customer who does business with you. Every 5-star review on your Google My Business page will generate new customers because your products and services are positioned as the first and best choice.
Who would you call from the options above if you were searching for a Mortgage Broker?
3. A Website Optimization Campaign
Think of your website as the foundation for the rest of your online presence. With a proper online marketing strategy, your website boosts your Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other platforms in front of future customers.
Online optimization is a topic that requires an article on its own, but here are some simple steps you can take to see great improvements:
Get listed. The more references search engines can find about your business online, the more reputable your brand becomes. Although it is best practice to sign up for each of the online directories manually, you can also use a service, such as whitespark.com or yext.com to quickly get listed on major directories.
Create content. The more often you update your site or blog, the better chance you give search engines to see you as the authority they should be showing to their traffic. The better the content, the better the results. Pro tip: Write specific content for each of your 10 best-selling products or services.
Get noticed. Every time you post a new piece of content, you want as many reputable online sites to link to it as possible. Make sure you have a promotional plan for every piece of content. These can include ads on social media, press releases, trade journals and asking your peers to add links to your content on their websites.
With these simple tips, you can showcase your quality work to customers who are already looking for you. Imagine being the top-ranked and top-rated business when customers type their “purchase intent” phrases into the search engines.
Chris Johnstone is CEO of Connection Inc. He helps businesses create significant sales growth and increased profit margins using digital marketing. Johnstone is a passionate trainer who has helped consult and train thousands of salespeople, entrepreneurs and executives. Visit ConnectionIncorporated.com for a free analysis of your website and online marketing strategy. Johnstone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.