Marketing Your Business: 6 Ways to Make a Great Online Impression

Steve Strauss, USA TODAY Small Business Columnist and Bestselling Author

Small Business Marketing: Online Marketing

You know the old saying: “You don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.” It’s true, especially in the short-attention-span age we live in.

Face it, people are busier today than ever before. The upshot? If you don’t grab someone’s attention quickly, you probably won’t get their attention at all. That is a sad fact of the world we live in.

So, how do you capture their attention? Here are four techniques that work:

1. Be different.

How do you stand out in the “real,” physical world? You must be unusual and special. Are you the friendly lawyer? The painless dentist? Perhaps the on-time plumber? 

Whatever you are in the physical world is what you must do and be in the virtual world. You must have a brand that stands out, that is different. Your website, social posts, and all other marketing must consistently reflect that unique brand positioning.

2.  Have a great name.

No, I am not telling you to rename your business (or am I?). A memorable name can make all the difference, especially for a small business. I particularly love names that describe the benefits of the business, such as:

  • Jiffy Lube
  • Baja Fresh
  • Kwikee Mart

With attention spans so short these days, having a memorable business name is your best bet to get someone to do a double-take. That’s because it suggests how the business solves a problem or meets a need.

3. Create a tagline—and use it.

If you already have a name you like (even if it isn’t particularly memorable), create a tagline and an online handle that describes your company’s benefits. A tagline is a phrase or two that highlights a brand’s “claim to fame.” Consider how Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less,” Nike’s “Just Do It,” L’Oréal’s “Because You’re Worth It,” or McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” differentiate those companies from the competition and make them memorable.

The key is to use that tagline whenever people see your business name—online and off, on your website, your store, email signature, and on your social channels. Everywhere.

4. Build a robust online presence.

You know that people today will find you online. They will search for your type of product or service, see your website or Instagram or LinkedIn page, and check you out. So, you need a great site and social presence—no ifs, ands, or buts. Having a robust web presence is a requirement.

Need help getting started updating your online presence? Find resources at sites like 99designs or Upwork.

5. Use Google Ad Words.

Google ads are, needless to say, ubiquitous. They are also an obvious and easy way for your business to make a great first online impression. Whether you advertise to promote a sale or simply to get your business name (and tagline) out there, creating a Google ad campaign is just plain smart.

You can get started with Google Ad Words here.

6. Encourage online reviews.

Give prospective customers the confidence they need to engage with your company by making sure you get customer reviews. The Index by Pinger app can be set to automatically ask customers for reviews and even send them periodic reminders. 

Bottom line

Making a great first impression online is almost more important than doing so in real life. Why? Because you only get a few seconds online before the viewer judges, clicks, swipes, types, or otherwise decides that you are—or you are not—worth a second look.

Remember that first impression that makes that second look possible. So, take that first look seriously.

To learn more tips for running and growing your small business, visit the resource page at Index by Pinger.

steve strauss portrait

Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is often called “the country’s leading small business expert.” A best-selling author and USA TODAY’s small business columnist, Steve is a thought leader, global speaker, spokesperson, content creator, and author of 18 books.

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