Last night, when most Detroiters were fighting traffic down I-75, a handful of Detroit entrepreneurs came together at Get Your Business On The Map With Google. Hosted by Techtown and B4B Connect, a small business initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center, the entrepreneurs made the fight for the type of traffic that can make or break a small business … Google traffic.

Small businesses need Google to direct customers to their website. The key to harnessing Google’s power is staying relevant.

As host for the event and Digital Marketing Strategist at Social COOP Media, Billy Strawter, said, “if your business is not online, you are digitally invisible.”

Along with Strawter, Joanna Dueweke, community engagement specialist at the Detroit Regional Chamber, helped small business owners become relevant on Google. Their main goal at the end of the meeting was to get everybody’s free Google My Business page verified.

The event was held inside  the Ford Resource And Engagement Center
The event was held inside the Ford Resource And Engagement Center

“There is this conversation that there is a need for big business to add to the economic growth of the city, which I don’t disagree with, but my main argument is that small businesses are essential to the growth of Detroit because the people who work at these big businesses have to live somewhere,” said Dueweke. “If we want them to live in Detroit, then they need to have small businesses they can frequent, and they need to know where those are as well. We need small businesses that are reachable and existing. I want people to hang out here.”

Attendees were predominantly female, but their age and business goals were diverse. One athletically toned woman ran a health and fitness online coaching website with global clients. Another woman sporting turquoise glasses was striving to launch a fashion pop-up for her handmade bags and leather tassels.

Big business might fuel Detroit’s resurgence, but it is small businesses that make Detroit a community. Community is the key factor in a homeowner’s buying decision. If we want people to put permanent roots in Detroit, then we must nurture Detroit small businesses.

Billy Strawter helps Angelo Palmer, who sells garden stakes on Amazon
Strawter helps Angelo Palmer, who sells garden stakes on Amazon

Here are Strawter’s Tips For Small Business Online Success:

  • Make sure your business is visible. Use Google My Business, not Google+ to be digitally visible. Put effort in your business profile’s introduction.
  • Have a relevant Google My Business Page. It’s a free way to get your business on Google–your business comes up when people are searching for services you can provide. Part of the service includes Google Keyword Planner. Input your website and Google will pick the keywords for you.
  • Make your website compatible to every device. People are using tablets and Smartphones more than their computers to search for businesses. If your website is not compatible, you will lose customers.
  • Keep fresh on social media. Post interior/exterior photo of your business on your social media pages. Businesses that post video are given high Google relevancy. Twitter is important. What you tweet shows up on Google in real time. Use Hootsuite to manage all your social media in one place. Use the IF by IFTTT app to post Instagram photos on Twitter.

Upcoming Techtown events:

Techtown Open House
June 24, 11:30-1 p.m.
440 Burroughs St, Detroit 48202

Retail Space Selection & Design Seminar
June 24, 11:30-1 p.m.
440 Burroughs St, Detroit 48202

3 Keys That Build Your Business
August 19, 5-6:30 p.m.
440 Burroughs St, Detroit 48202

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