Business owners are learning how important it is to market their business online. However, there are so many options that it can actually be a bit overwhelming for those who have little experience working within the marketing industry. Because of this, it is important to learn more about each of the options—then, you can better understand what strategy will work best for you and put together a full marketing strategy for your business. Below you will learn the basics about some of the top marketing methods, an important first step in your marketing program.
Creating a Blog or Website. You may have already decided you need a website. It is important to have a home on the web where potential customers can find you. However, one thing you may NOT have thought about is having either a separate blog or one on the main website. A blog allows you to connect with your customers, but more importantly, it is one of the best ways to attract potential customers to your business. Including blog content will attract readers that find your blog through the search engines, especially if you utilize SEO strategies.
Online Advertising. The problem with online advertising is that there is a cost attached. In many case though, you have to spend money to make money. Online advertising takes little effort and there is enough information out there on the advertising sites that allow even new marketers to start with this type of marketing without any previous knowledge. The two basic types of online advertising methods are CPM and CPC, understanding the difference (CPM is Cost per Thousand Impressions and CPC is Cost per Click) will help you make the right decision about the type of online adverting that will work best for you.
Directory Listings. Adding your business to directories is a cheap and easy way to get your name out there. Some business groups, such as your local Chamber of Commerce may have a directory you can list your business. There are also websites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor have areas where you can include your company and links to your web properties, increasing your business.
Social Media. Social media is huge right now. It seems like nearly anyone has a Facebook account, Twitter account or enjoys websites like Pinterest. Find ways to bring your website to these social media sites and become an active participant. Small businesses get the best results when they treat social media as a way to connect with customers rather than strictly as a marketing tool.
This form of marketing has somewhat lost favor, but for certain small businesses, it can be an important addition to the marketing program. Email marketing works best when it is done in a personal way, rather than sending out thousands of boilerplate emails that are not opened by the recipients. There are programs available to make email marketing easier as well.
Step-By-Step Guide To Write A Small Business Marketing Plan
How you market your business will determine who many people actually see your website. By understanding how online marketing affects your business, you can reach out to millions of online users every day. This puts your company in front of a variety of internet users, both locally and at a distance.
Know Your Target Audience – The most important aspect of online marketing is knowing how you are trying to reach. Business professionals are more likely to be found on LinkedIn or other social media sites geared toward helping them further their goals. Housewives and new mothers can be found on sites like Pinterest and CafeMom. While these are generalizations, the concept is there. Know your audiences main interests and connect with them at that point.
What’s Your Budget? – Websites and online advertising can be costly. Make sure you have researched web design companies and choose the one that gives you the most for your money. Many websites come with a specific number of emails, a set number of years before you have to renew the domain name and other key benefits that can greatly affect how many people you can reach with the site. If you want to go big, take out a small business loan. The site will more than pay for itself and the benefits will last long after the small loan is paid off.
Review Online Resources – Review what online resources are available. Blogs have been proven to bring new customers into a business. Websites, banners and company pages on sites like Facebook and Twitter, are only the beginning. Creating a company page will drive people to your website. The exposure on sites like these can increase exponentially if the right market views the page. The best part about social media sites is they are free. People who visit the company page will often times, also visit the website.
Be SEO Savvy – SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a tool that drives your website up the rankings of the search engine ladder. Using specific words or phrases that individuals will type into their search bar will move your site towards the top. The more SEO keywords used and the way they are placed within the website, blogs and articles, will determine how well your site fares in the competition for rankings. Using keywords in the title and first and last sentences plus every 100 words or so, will bring the item closer to the top each time someone clicks on them during a search.
Be Creative – Reach out to your audience. Marketing only works if you are seen by your audience. Be creative. Use a unique design for the logo. Create a phrase or slogan that will brand your company in the minds of its audience. Your website should stand out. It should be informative, to the point and showcase what your company is all about. Grab your audience’s attention and let them know why they should choose your company.