If you’ve visited our blog in the last few weeks, or are subscribed to our Hints & Tips newsletter you may have noticed that we’ve been talking about the ways people find small businesses online, and why making it easy for people to discover your business is crucial to your success.

We’ve received a ton of great questions about this topic.

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Most recently we were asked, “How can I figure out how people are finding my business today?”

This is an important question for a number of reasons.

For starters, when you know how people are finding your business, it gives you the chance to better focus your marketing efforts so you can bring more new customers through your door.

It also helps identify new opportunities, so that you can put a plan together to reach customers on platforms you might not be using already.

Here are five ways to find out how customers are finding you:

1. Remember to ask

Most customers, especially happy ones, are willing to let you know how they ended up on your website or at your front door.

Ask for this information in the following ways:

  • Encourage employees to ask when interacting with customers face-to-face.
  • Give people the option to tell you where they found out about your business when making a purchase or registering for an event online.
  • Create an online survey; send it to new email subscribers or share it with your social media audience.

2. Use search

Start by searching for your business name on a search engine like Google to see where information about your business is already available online.

Chances are the first page of results looks something like this:

  • Your website/blog
  • Facebook Page
  • Other social networks
  • Review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor
  • Online listing platforms like YellowPages, Google, Yahoo, and Urbanspoon

Next, try search terms you think could drive people to your business.

For a restaurant, you might want to try search terms like these:

  • Restaurants in [your town]
  • [Type of cuisine] in [your town]
  • Places to eat in [your town]

Or for a mechanic, your search terms could look like this:

  • Mechanics in [your town]
  • Car shop in [your town]
  • Where to get my car fixed in [your town]
  • Where to get [particular repair/service] in [your town]

Make a list of all the places your business is showing up. Also make sure to take note of places where your business isn’t currently listed but you think should be. Then you can make plans to have your business information published on those sites.

3. Set up Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you can not only see which pages on your website are generating the most traffic, but can also see a breakdown of where the traffic is coming from.

Are people finding you through search engines like Google? Are sites like Facebook or Twitter driving visits to your site? You can also see which devices your audience is using to access your site. This is a good way to see the impact of mobile on visitors to your site.

In addition to insight into how people are getting to your website, Google Analytics also shows you the length of time people are spending on each page. This is all valuable information for helping you figure out how people are finding you and which resources they are using when researching your business.

4. Keep tabs on your audience

While not everyone who visits your Facebook Page or sees you on Twitter will become a fans or followers, keeping tabs on how these audiences are changing provides insight into which platforms offer the biggest opportunity for your business.

Look at how changes in your audience relate to your activity. If a particular piece of content is getting shared and resulting in a spike of new fans, you can incorporate similar content into our posting strategy in the future. Also, look to see how your interactions with different members of your network are impacting your fan and follower counts.

5. Track email list growth

If you’re using sign-up tools to grow your email list, you can easily track where people are signing up within your Constant Contact account.

This allows you track your email list growth online. You can also see how people are joining your list offline as well.

These people aren’t only finding your business but are taking the next step to stay connected. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up to accelerate your email list growth and take you a step closer to attracting your next great customer.

More resources to help you get discovered online

Once you’ve mapped out all the places people are finding your business, you can take steps to get more from those places that are already working. Then look for opportunities to put your business in front of the right people in other places as well.

Here is a guide to get you started: How Mobile Search Can Help You Find Your Next Great Customer

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