Using the Internet to market your small business online doesn’t require expensive tools or a fleet of social media strategists. In fact, harnessing the power of the Internet for marketing your small business all starts with three crucial areas. Master them, and you’ve got a foundation to execute an online marketing strategy that brings results.
1. Web Presence
A great website is not only a crucial information portal, it’s also a marketing tool. Think of your site as the gateway between your business and the entire internet. With well-written copy and good photographs, you can market your business online and attract new customers and differentiate yourself from the competition.
In addition to listing all the basic information that customers might need, including location, hours of operation, holiday hours, and information on your product and services, make sure your website has easy navigation. Whenever possible, use professional photography—it can help your business set itself apart.
Also, use your website to share what makes your business stand out from the crowd (for example, “Largest selection of native plants in the area”) and explain why your customers love you (“Customers love our free delivery”). Don’t be afraid to list your products and services by category if you have more than a few, too.
Your website may only receive a small number of visits each day, but a great blog post can reach a much wider audience. In fact, content marketing can increase web traffic by 63%, and it costs less and produces more leads than than traditional marketing. If running an in-depth blog sounds intimidating, think of “content” as just information that’s been packaged digitally. Your posts could be images, short blog articles, or social media updates. Try to create new content regularly: perhaps one blog post a week as you get started, and at least one update each day on social media.
If you’re not sure what to write about, here are some suggestions you might want to consider:
Sharing customer success stories can be a good place to start
Answer some of the most frequently asked questions you get from customers (but make sure you answer them in a non-salesy way)
Share you insight into the industry you work in
The key to content marketing, even on a small budget is creating and maintaining a mix of engaging content that is related to your business. Ultimately, content–like all online marketing–is a matter of percentages. A percentage of people who see your content will interact on social media or visit your website; of those, a percentage might become regular customers. The numbers may be small at first, but if they are steady, you can add a valuable stream of new sales.
Consumers–particularly younger ones–are using their mobile devices more and more each year. If you want to attract this growing group of mobile users, make sure your website looks good on smaller screens. (You don’t have to worry about your social media accounts being mobile-friendly; social media mobile apps take care of that for you.)
How can you tell if your site is mobile-friendly? Use this free website to enter your site’s address, and Google will scan your site and tell you if it is optimized for mobile use or not.
If it is, then you’re all set for mobile; just keep making and finding great content and sharing it.
If not, get in touch with your website provider or designer. Ask what needs to be done to make your website mobile optimized, or responsive. Your site provider should be able to identify what’s needed, give you options (specific fixes vs. a whole new design), and estimate costs.
Like most worthwhile tasks for business growth, digital marketing is something that builds over time into a valuable endeavor. Focus your efforts on maximizing these three areas, and your business is sure to benefit.