Trying to get your small business noticed online can sometimes feel like you are the needle in the proverbial haystack. The web is so big yet you are so small, and it’s just you and perhaps a small team trying to take on the world. No wonder online marketing can appear daunting from the perspective of small business owners. But a few key ideas can make a big difference when implemented systematically over time. Just because you run a small operation, there is nothing to say that you can’t punch above your weight in the online world.
Here’s how to get started.
Your reputation is of paramount importance in online marketing. This is how people perceive your company from what they can learn about you online. It is up to you to make sure that the information that is out there is nothing short of great.
Customers can be forgiven for assuming that inactivity means either no you are longer in business or that you simply aren’t up to the job. You don’t have to target every platform but the sites that you choose should be updated on a regular basis with professional information of benefit to your customers.
Use social media to interact with your customers, invite feedback and provide answers to questions. Customers will respond to your friendly approach.
Keep it Fresh
Ensure that the details on your website, blog and social sites are up to date. Apart from potential customers, we also need to be aware of SEO requirements. Search engines index your sites on a number of criteria, including how fresh the content is. If you haven’t updated in a while then your page ranking will drop. Another key factor in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings is how relevant your content is, so stay on point.
Small tweaks to your content, new images or fresh video links will all help you to get seen.
Have you ever noticed how a good mood is contagious? Try to remain upbeat about your brand in the online arena. There will be times when you meet an unhappy customers. but handled correctly, this presents perfect opportunity to showcase what a great company you are. By showing your humanity, offering an apology and striving to rectify the situation, you can actually turn a potential problem into a positive event.
Lead from the Front
Establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing your knowledge to allow people to see that you know your stuff. This can be done by blogging on your own site or guest blogging on a site in a related industry.
Contribute to group discussions while illustrating your knowledge in a way that lets others know that you can create value.
Stay informed – when a news story related to your industry breaks, you want to be one of the first to comment on it. Google Alerts can help you to stay up to date.
Without a marketing strategy your efforts could all become fruitless. First you need to know what a desired conversion is for your business at this time. It may not necessarily be a sale, it could be a referral, an agreement to sign up to your newsletter, or a social media share. When you have pinned down what you want to achieve only then can you decide how to go about achieving that aim.
Find out where your customers ‘hang out’ online and then target them in that space. Social media sites are an ideal place to interact with customers.
Set out what the plan for your campaign is, how much you have to spend and what channels you will use and what your projected results are. These parameters help determine your marketing effort’s success.
Google Analytics is a free, relatively user friendly tool that illustrates how you have performed. You will be able to see who has been interacting with your material and what action, if any was taken. Armed with this information, you can learn from the experience and build for even greater success next time.
Successful online marketing comes about from trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try new things while all the time measuring success. Remember it takes time to make a real impact, so settle in for the long haul and try to enjoy the process, there is much to be learned along the way.