Consumer traffic is the lifeblood of small and medium-sized businesses. To generate traffic, companies often need to ensure they have strong visibility and differentiate themselves by offering something unique. However, this can often require money and resources that SMEs simply don’t have. There are easy ways to improve your visibility and generate more traffic without spending too much money or expending resources.

1. Build Your Own Website

A website is the primary online identity of your business and acts as the online “shop window”. While having a strong social media presence is often necessary, modern websites also help customers to look at not only your products and services but also your company mission and values. This is the place they can find out more about you and your services. You don’t need a lot of money to set up a website, especially since tools such as Wordpress and Wix offer free accounts. You also don’t need to be an expert at coding, as these tools are extremely user-friendly and provide interactive tutorials to help you set your website up. Websites also add credibility to your company, which generates a level of trust between you and your customers.

When you setup your website, utilise analytic tools to monitor the traffic coming to your site. There are many free tools, such as Google Analytics, that you can use to analyse the traffic, consumer behaviour, how users find your site, and even what their journey on your site is. This insight can allow you to improve and update your website accordingly to improve customer relations and increase the chances of gaining returning customers.

2. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is what makes your business more visible on search engines like Google and Bing. It greatly affects the search rankings and there are many different aspects of SEO that these sites incorporate into their algorithms. This is why it’s so important to get it right and ensure that you rank on the first page for keywords and phrases that relate to your business. It’s even more important that you rank highly for keywords in your local area, which will increase your business locally as well. This kind of SEO, that focuses on rankings in search engines is known as organic SEO as it’s more general and relies on people looking for keywords and finding your website on their own.

Local SEO delivers results that are relevant to the searchers' location at the time, so it uses geographical keywords as well. An example of local SEO is if someone searches for a product or service “close to me” or “nearby me”. This allows the search engine to refine the results for localised areas, which makes it easier for you to appear in the search for your area. This tool is especially helpful for businesses that deliver products and services to their local area and is most effective when part of a fully integrated marketing plan.

3. Invest in Networking

Building a strong business network is crucial to success. Attending networking events can improve your visibility exponentially. These sorts of events help businesses to form partnerships and extend awareness of their brand. This means that more businesses will know yours and you may be able to connect with new suppliers or partners that can benefit your business in some way.

4. Social Media Marketing

Many SMEs initially set up accounts on all social media channels at once. However, by doing this, your efforts in social media marketing quickly lose priority and give way to the efforts of growing your business. There are a wide variety of social media channels and the best way to approach a marketing strategy is by selecting a channel(s) that makes the most sense for your business. One way to determine this is to look at what your competitors are doing and see which channels offer the highest chances of giving you quality leads. You can create engaging artwork for your channels using the Adobe suite or utilise free tools such as Canva and Unsplash. There are even applications that help you schedule and manage your posts on social media, such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Recurpost. If creating content isn’t your forte, you can easily reuse and republish content posted by others that your audience might find useful, but you must ensure that you credit the source of the original content.

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