These days you need to have an online presence to be competitive. There’s really no other way around it.
Customers are used to the convenience of checking out products and services whenever it suits them. They want to be able to use their smartphone to compare prices and inclusions.
Without a website that’s just not possible.
If you’re just starting out or not sure whether investing in a professional web designer is for you, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on going online altogether.
While setting up a fully optimised website for your business is best practice, it might be beyond your means right now. Luckily, there are other ways you can start building an online presence for less.
Until you’re ready to take the leap and invest in a website, here are some ways you can get found online for free.
Your Online Branding
Before crating any online accounts, you should outline your branding for you business.
Maybe start with having your mission down in writing. It should convey your purpose and value. It is like an Elevator Pitch.
If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to have your brand colours sorted. Canva can help you get started here: https://www.canva.com/colors/
And while you are at it, look at picking a font or two to use for your marketing designs. Try out:
You should also have on hand your business NAP – Name, Address, Phone. This should be laid out the same for each profile you create.
Free Logo Maker
Now that you have your colours and maybe a font or two, you should get a logo. This will help your customer recognise you quickly. Again, Canva can help you: https://www.canva.com/create/logos/
Banners, Posts & Resources
Now that you have your logo, and branding, you should make a few branded images ready for your social media profiles – while your logo should be your profile image, some soical platforms allow you to have a banner image. And while you are there, why not create a post or 2 to help launch your business online! Get started with Canva: https://www.canva.com/create/
Your Online Accounts Setup
You are prepared to now dive into online account creation! Have your branding resources handy to copy and paste, upload and submit!
Creating a free Google Account helps your business connect with customers on Google Search and Maps. It also allows your to havea free email account upload videos to Youtube and setup your Google Business Profile. More than just a local listing, customers can leave reviews and book services right from your Business Profile. You can even create a free website through your Business Profile which can be customised to suit your industry and your business.
Setup your Google Account here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp
Then setup your Google Business Profile here: https://business.google.com/create
Finally, start collecting reviews.
Building a Facebook Business Page is another great way to build an online presence for free. With a Business Page you can share your menu, list your services or showcase your products with a shop section. You can also communicate with customers through comments or direct messages and access page insights to see how your page is performing.
Setup your Facebook Business Page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/creation/
Just like Google Business Profile, this account allows you business to appear on Bing’s Maps, searches and apps! It is free, you set it up once, and hardly ever need to review it for updates.
Setup your Bing Place’s account here: https://www.bingplaces.com/DashBoard/Home
Apple Maps (Physical Locations Only)
Claiming your business on Apple Maps can also build your digital presence. With an Apple Maps listing you can keep important details up to date, like your address, phone number, website and opening hours, everywhere in the Apple ecosystem. Your listing will appear also on the DuckDuckGo search engine!
Setup your Apple Maps listing here: https://register.apple.com/placesonmaps/
Have a restaurant or accommodation business? A free TripAdvisor listing is a must. Used by millions to search reviews and discover new experiences, listing your business on TripAdvisor puts you directly in front of potential customers. You can respond to reviews, add photos and menus and access insights to see how your listing is performing.
Other Online Profiles
Other online profiles that are highly recommended are; Instagram, Pintrest, TikTok (Download the TikTok app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store), and for Business-2-Business try out LinkedIn.
Do I need a Domain Name?
Ideally, yes. You can redirect your domain to your GMB page, your Facebook page or your Instagram account. This can be temporary as well and can be changed to your new website if you get one..
You can then put your domain on business cards, flyers and other marketing material and it wont go out of date when you do get a website.
Do I really need a website?
In the long term, a website offers way too much value to not have. It is the asset in your business that you own/run/mange fully. When done right, you own the funnel from the “Walled Garden” social platforms to your own website to collect sales, emails (that you can market to over and over), and re-marketing ads. The website also showcases your value through the quality of the design, the user experience (is it easy to use?), the social proof (reviews and testimonials), and the trust (authority on the topic).
If you can not afford a website, a bio profile page will get you started.
If you can’t proceed with a website redesign right now, these free tools will help you build your online presence. Once you’re ready to take your business to the next level, reach out to That Website Is Me so we can help you get started.