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You’ve started your company. You filed the LLC paperwork, got your Tax ID, and probably started your first project or two. But then that coveted question at every networking event is directed at you: “How do I connect with you?” – and you have nothing to share but your phone number in the hopes that they’ll answer a call or text from you.

We’ve all got short attention spans. That unicorn of a connection might be lost forever if there isn’t an easy, accessible way for them to find you when it’s convenient for them and without expectation.

A lot of times, people want to do their internet research before they commit to a partnership – and who can blame them? We all do it. It’s the classic ‘mystery’ versus ‘history’ debate. Do you trust the person in front of you to give you all the details, leaving some things to mystery, or do you do the research to learn the history?

So, how do you make it easy for potential clients, customers, or partners to work with you? The answer is simple: learn how to get your business online. By having a digital presence, you ensure there’s a sales funnel working for you 100% of the time. Follow this guide to getting your West Michigan business online and make sure you’re always accessible to those who matter most.

Boosting Your Visibility with Search Engine Optimization

Where’s the first place you go when you need information about something?

If you said anything other than the internet, I don’t believe you. So where do you expect your audience to go when they’re looking for exactly what your business offers? THE INTERNET.

Have you ever Googled yourself? If not, you should. And while you’re at it, search for your business too – because what you see is probably what customers see. If the answer to what they see is nothing, then we need to talk.

The easiest way to get started with a digital presence is to let search engines know you’re there! To start, create listings on Google Business (if there’s already an auto-created Google Business listing, make sure you’re managing it!), Yelp, Bing Places for Business, Better Business Bureau, and any other online search directory that your niche uses (i.e. construction companies – get listed on Angi or Houzz if you’re residential-focused!).

The goal with search engines isn’t necessarily to optimize for the algorithms – they change all the time. If you truly want to optimize, focus on your users’ experience with your content and do your best to get your business listed on every major platform or directory relevant to your industry. Additionally, fill out as much information about your business as possible on each of these pages. It’ll feel redundant, but you must remember that the importance is on the user (or potential customer/client). They could potentially find you from many different online channels or searches. The easiest, quickest way to start showing up in those search results is to list your business in well-established directories with corresponding information and all links pointing to your website and correct social media channels.

Establishing a Strong Social Media Presence

Creating well-developed social media pages is a crucial step in learning how to get your business online. Social media channels are trusted web pages with very high page authority, meaning they are considered legitimate by search engines and users alike. By leveraging this page authority, much like getting listed in online directories, you improve your chances of being found online.

You don’t have to post content constantly, only consistently. If you post once a month, that’s okay! As long as the content you post is relevant, factual, helpful, or entertaining in some way to your audience, you’re on the right track. Remember, social media algorithms change constantly, so it’s important that all of your pages contain complete information, are verified as legitimate business profiles, and feature your logo as the profile photo.

A professional-looking social media presence not only enhances your credibility but also makes it easier for potential customers to find you. Ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date on all platforms. This consistency helps search engines recognize your legitimacy, increasing your visibility in search results.

Having active and well-maintained social media company pages allows you to be found more easily on search engines, social media channels, and the internet in general. This is a key strategy in understanding how to get your business online and ensuring that your digital presence is strong and effective. By focusing on creating engaging and consistent content, you build a robust online presence that supports your overall business goals.

Building a Professional Website

Creating a professionally developed website is a critical part of learning how to get your business online. Along with being listed on high domain authority pages, like directories and social media, maintaining a registered domain and a functional website is essential for your business.

First and foremost, it’s important that you own your domain. Avoid using temporary domains like business.site or wixsite.com. Owning your domain not only adds to your credibility but also gives you full control over your online presence.

Your website should be easy to navigate, and free of grammatical errors, broken links, or incorrect information. A user-friendly and professional website ensures that visitors have a positive experience, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates (i.e. more people filling out your contact forms or engaging with your content!). Whether you manage the website yourself or have a trusted web development agency on-call for maintenance and updates, it’s crucial to keep your site updated and functioning smoothly.

Incorporating a website into your digital strategy, along with being listed in directories and developing social media profiles, will significantly boost your online visibility. This comprehensive approach helps ensure that your business occupies prominent positions on search engine results pages when potential customers search for your services.

By focusing on creating a well-designed and informative website, you enhance your overall digital presence, making it easier for clients to find and trust your business. This is a key step in understanding how to get your business online and ensuring long-term success in the digital marketplace.

Leveraging Online Reviews and Testimonials

Another essential aspect of getting your business online is leveraging online reviews and testimonials. Positive reviews not only boost your business’s credibility but also enhance its visibility in search results. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and industry-specific sites. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, to show that you value customer feedback and are committed to improving your services.

User-generated content in the form of reviews and testimonials serves as powerful social proof, influencing potential clients’ decisions. Highlighting these positive experiences on your website and social media channels can significantly enhance your business’s reputation and attract more customers.

Utilizing Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience and drive traffic to your online platforms. By building an email list, you can keep your customers informed about new products, services, promotions, and updates. Use email campaigns to share valuable content, special offers, and personalized messages that resonate with your audience.

Integrating email marketing with your overall digital strategy helps maintain customer engagement and fosters long-term relationships. Tools like automated email sequences and personalized email content can make your email marketing efforts more efficient and effective, driving higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Leveraging Local Resources and Community Support

As a business owner in West Michigan, it’s important to leverage local resources and community support to enhance your digital presence. Organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Construction Allies in Action, and other local business associations offer valuable resources, networking opportunities, and workshops tailored to minority entrepreneurs. Participating in these groups can provide you with insights, mentorship, and potential collaborations that can help boost your online visibility and overall business success.

Additionally, consider partnering with local influencers and community leaders who can amplify your message and help you reach a broader audience. Building strong relationships within your community can lead to valuable word-of-mouth marketing and increased credibility.

Accessing Grants and Financial Assistance

Many small businesses in West Michigan can benefit from accessing grants and financial assistance specifically designed to support their growth. Numerous local and national programs offer funding to help minority entrepreneurs develop their digital presence. For example, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provides various grants and resources aimed at helping small businesses thrive.

Researching and applying for these grants can provide you with the financial support needed to invest in a professional website, social media marketing, and other digital tools. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you can level the playing field and ensure your business has the resources necessary to compete in the digital marketplace.

Getting your business online is not just about creating a digital presence; it’s about building a comprehensive strategy that encompasses search engine optimization, social media engagement, a professional website, online reviews, and email marketing. By following these steps, you can ensure your West Michigan business stands out in the digital landscape.

For minority business owners, leveraging local resources, community support, and financial assistance can make a significant difference in establishing a strong online presence. Remember, the goal is to make it easy for potential clients, customers, or partners to find and connect with you. By investing in your online presence and maintaining consistency across all digital platforms, you can create a strong, credible, and accessible business profile that works for you 24/7.

Embrace these strategies, and watch your business grow as you reach and engage with a broader audience online. With the right tools and support, your West Michigan business can thrive in the digital age, connecting with more customers and building a lasting impact in your community.