Peppergraphics Design Studio 
Web Design, Web Content Strategy, Search Strategy

The Secret to Making Your Business Successful Online

Growing Your Business Online

How do you go from being a great baker and shopkeeper to making a great and growing business online?

In your shop the bread and pastries you baked were very popular. Your customers loved them. You loved your customers, too. When the people you knew came in to pick up their pastries, you enjoyed talking with them. They respected you. They trusted you. They told their friends about you.

You also knew what they wanted. You learned when they wanted bread and when they wanted desserts. You knew what they most enjoyed for breakfast pastry and you listened when they told you about their needs and interests. That was the key to your success. You listened. They trusted you. And you made exactly what they wanted. But, it was time to grow a larger business.

What do you do to expand your business, to market it online?

You hire someone to build you a great website. You put it online. Then what. People can come and order bread and you deliver it. You can serve the entire city this way. But the entire city does not know about you. They don't come find you.

You think you want to be on "first page" on the web, and then people will find you. But, there is no more one first page on the search engine. Everyone has a different one for their interests. How do you chase something so elusive? And there are no magic tricks to get to show up for people to see you. You wonder where to begin.

The secret is exactly what you were doing before. What made your store successful? You knew what people wanted and made it for them. You loved meeting and talking to them. How do you do that online?

The same way you did it before. Listen and write down what people asked for, what they wanted, needs they talked with you about. Try this. Type these same phrases into the search engine. Perhaps you get other stores on the page, or other bread recipes, or featured baked goods. This is the secret. Answer the same questions, just do it online.

Growing Your Business Online

How do you get onto those search pages?

1. Do online exactly what you did that made your store successful.

First, on your website, you put together pages that answer those same questions. You might discuss those topics, offer recipes for the people to try, advise them of good ingredient sources, you can give them great information, just as you did when they came into your store.

Of course you answer these questions with your products. But you do more than provide a simple answer. You talk about the quality of the grain, the types of grains, and the best sources for grain. You know a lot about these subjects but don't often get to share that knowledge.

In time, you find that people are coming to your website not just to find and buy products, but they are staying on the pages to read your stories and resources. What you find is that they are learning you are quite an expert in your craft. Your knowledge is showing online the same thing your kind attitude and cheerful morning greetings did in the store. The visitors trust you. You are developing authority online in your subject area and are becoming known for that.

2. Give Social Media a try in creative new ways.

You are not used to this new medium. Your hands are used to kneading dough, not typing daily messages. You know you want to use pictures of your bread and you want to reach beyond your immediate neighborhood and family friends. You try "Pinterest", for the pictures. You post a lot of photos of the bread and pastries. People like them well.

But you want more, so you think about making videos of the baking process. You try a few and put them on YouTube. People view them and enjoy them too. Then you add a page on Google+. You don't know much about it, but you decide to give it a try. You can post photos. You can share videos. It seems like fun.

You actually begin posting a regular blog on Google+ and through it you find many other bakers who are trying similar things. You form a community of peers around the country and share with each other ways to develop new pastries, find new grain sources, and other shop resources. You find that you have made some good friendships with colleagues just like you in other areas.

You learn that each of these photo-story posts that you are sharing on Google+ is also appearing on your local Google search pages. Your face photo begins to show up with them in search and people start realizing this person online is in a nearby neighborhood. They travel to your bakery and your circle of customers starts to widen around your city.

3. Meet and make friends with people who are influencers online.

You don't think you know too many people. The mayor does buy bread from your bakery. And so does the local newscaster. But they aren't spreading the word about you widely. You find some more influential people online with larger followings in the food industry.

Due to your growing reputation as knowledgeable about grains and sources of natural ingredients you are finding many others to talk to on Google+. These people, from larger cities, with bigger reputations, treat you as one of them. You discuss topics you jointly share online and you find yourself connected to a much wider circle of cooks, and bakers, and storeowners.

Someone else joins your natural foods Google+ community and it turns out to be the owner of a larger chain of high quality restaurants. You end up talking because you happened to be on the same baking hangout show on Google+. You continue the conversation and he visits your store, tries your products and offers you an account to bake for his restaurant chain.

Before you realize it, you are becoming as popular online as you were offline. You seem to connect with the topics of interest to many in the organic food industry. And the influencers in your product area seem to create a public awareness of your trust and high quality.

Growing Your Business Online

This is finally the beginning. From here you are managing growth.

What did you do?

1. Do online exactly what you did that made your store successful.

Listen to your customers.

Provide answers that meet their needs.

People will find you trustworthy and a good resource online, as they did in your store.

2. Give Social Media a try in creative new ways.

Creatively try out new things.

Learn what people search for online and provide it.

Great images, good stories, authoritative answers.

3. Meet and make friends with people who are influencers online.

Meet influencers in your profession online.

Become friends. Share information. Learn from others.

Connections will happen.

In short, the mindset shift was to start thinking of people online as you thought of people in your store. You got personal with it, sharing yourself as a person, and connecting with others as people. You were not a website just selling products online.

Online you were still a baker serving the needs of the people you cared about. It is not really any different. You just need to talk to people online in similar and genuine ways so they get to know and respect you.

Growing Your Business Online

Just having a website online is no longer good enough. You need trust, authority, and respect. You need to be your authentic self—online.You need to connect with other people—online.


This article is based on the guidance in the book, Google Semantic Search, by David Amerland. Please do enjoy the content of Chapter 8, the foundation for the article.

Please read the other articles in this series, based on this book:

You Are an Entity Not a Keyword

What on Earth is a Knowledge Graph

Passion and Customer Relationships Win at SEO

Local Landscaper Semantic Search Success Story

Why Would Google Recommend You?

Are You Actively Building Your Online Reputation?

Build a Business Dream Team on Google+

Dressing Your ENTITY for Success

Are You a One-Hit Wonder

Social Media for Semantic Search Success