6 Essentials Online Marketing Tactics for Small Business (even if you think you don’t need it)
The world of marketing is diverse and confusing. So you think that don’t need online marketing at all. You don’t have the budget and you certainly don’t have the time. After all you’re a small business or a local mom and pop store. You can thrive on walk-in customers, the occasional leaflets and business cards that you hand out or work some more on connecting with your friends and their friends on social media .That should do the job.
Online marketing is important for business success.
Even if you’re a small business owner or a brick and mortar business, you cannot ignore having an online presence and a good marketing strategy. Everyone and everything is going digital and most of your customers are online even if you’re not.
Online marketing gives you the opportunity to tap into the huge database of potential customers. And that means increased profits and more business.
But you don’t have money to waste and time is precious?
It doesn’t have to be an elaborate 100 page marketing plan nor do you have to spend all your hard earned bucks on online marketing. But you can market smarter with these 6 proven tips that will bring you success in all your marketing efforts.
1. CREATE AN ONLINE PRESENCE.
Every single business is online and you need to be there too even if you only sell to offline customers.
Don’t you want to grow your business and capture new customers?
I thought so.
With over 1 billion Facebook subscribers and 5 billion Google searches every day, surely there has to be some potential customers in there for you.
Besides, consumers shop differently these days. They want to be informed and gain knowledge about which products and services are good for them before they even commit to buying anything. And they do this by searching online. You’ve probably done that too.
It’s not so much about selling your products online (you don’t have to sell everything online) but about making your presence felt and leveraging the World Wide Web and the potential it presents to expand into new markets, verify your business and increase your visibility.
According to a survey, only 54% of small businesses in the U.S have a website.
That’s nearly half the businesses that are not using the potential an online presence offers to reap the many benefits that are available to them.
By having online presence, you are reminding your customers about your business, your value to them and how you can best serve them. Your web presence is the first point of contact for any potential customers and as first impressions go, it should be memorable- the kind which makes them comes back for more.
A simple website should do the trick. You don’t have to build a full-fledged ecommerce website. But put in enough thought to plan a website which is designed to inform, engage, and convert your visitors. By doing this you stop being invisible.
2. GO SOCIAL
If you don’t have a social media account, its time you got one. Close to 1.7 billion users have active social media accounts and there are1.65 billion active mobile social media accounts. These are huge numbers and in there lies the potential for you for grow your business, attract new visitors and increase conversions.
Social media platforms are excellent lead generation tools and give you an opportunity to market yourself for free. You can tap into the vast pool of people all over the world or even locally to improve your reach.
Being active on social media gives you the opportunity to communicate with your customers first hand and to engage with them socially which creates brand loyalty. You can gain insights into how your competitors are performing and gather relevant customer data to make smarter business decisions.
The most important benefit of having a social media account is that you can direct more traffic to your website and increase the number of shares your content gets. By doing so, your rankings on search will be higher and you’ll move further up on the ladder.
But with so many social media platforms out there, it can be a difficult decision on which platforms are best for you. Pick the main ones like Facebook, Twitter, Google + , Instagram or LinkedIn. Decide on the ones that are most relevant to your business. Are your existing customers using these platforms? Are your potential customers and influencer active here? And which one do you think you can manage easily?
Whichever one you choose, stick with it and use it to engage with your community, share your content, join discussions and start connecting.
3. CREATE RELEVANT CONTENT.
Content is literally the gold that you will be trading in. It is the sum total of all the wonderful stuff on your online presence or website– written words, visuals, and even the design of your website. But it is good content which will get you shares, expand your customer relationship and stand out on the World Wide Web.
By creating relevant content that educates your audience and provides value to them, you are establishing your authority and building your brand.
Start a blog, create an eBook, work on a report or make an awesome infographic – all these efforts will pay off in the long run.
Because your website should make that very first important impression, your web content must be engaging and compel visitors to click through the rest of your website and want to do business with you.
As Neil Patel says “you are building a strong relationship with your customers by creating content that is highly relevant to them on a consistent basis”.
But writing is not your thing? Or you don’t have the time?
Hire a freelance writer who will manage your blog by updating frequently, come up with new exciting ideas for content and even write a persuasive homepage content which will resonate with your visitors.
4. SPREAD THE WORD CONSISTENTLY
Share. Share. Share.
It cannot be emphasised enough.
If you create valuable content then make sure you share it. Essentially you are marketing your content which in turn will work to market your business.
Share it on social media platforms and add social sharing buttons so that your website visitors can share on their networks. This is where you social media networking efforts will be a major asset. By sharing your content, you are broadening the reach of your content and driving more traffic to your website. If your content resonates with your audience, they will visit your website, subscribe to blog updates and keep a tab on what your business is about through your social media.
There are other benefits to this too – you are improving your rankings on search by publishing and sharing content with important keywords and driving more web traffic.
By establishing authority through content and distributing it, you are differentiating your business from the competition and letting the market know how you can help them by informing and empowering them with information and knowledge, thus driving sales.
5. CAPTURE LEADS
Another essential facet of marketing for small businesses is capturing leads which most small businesses fail to do. Creating and sharing content drives more traffic to your website but you want to capture those visitors and turn them into leads.
So how do you do that?
You offer them something that is interesting and relevant to them. This will make them want to fill out a form to access your offer and give personal information such as their name and email address at the very least.
Offer an ebook which addresses their pain points or an important question that your customers have, create a subscription form so that visitors can get regular blog updates or subscribe to a newsletter, or create one-time offers that are so compelling that your visitors can’t say no.
Now you have a big list of leads that have opted to give you their information and you can now contact them with offers, ideas and promotions.
6. EMAIL MARKETING
This is a great way to nurture your leads. You haven’t just captured leads to sell and promote your products. Customers want to be nurtured and informed at the same time. You can’t just sell them your services or hit them with a sales pitch. That will turn many leads off and you’ll soon see an increase in unsubscribes which you don’t want.
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social according to Monetate. While McKinsey says that email is 4 times more effective in acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
With these kinds of stats you can see that email marketing is a powerful tool which is right at your fingertips.
Use email to send blog updates, news about your business, information about your industry and address queries that your potential or existing customer’s might have. Be helpful with your emails by giving them information they want to see, information that will increase their knowledge base and improve their lives. You can start your email campaigns with free services like Mailchimp. A professional freelance writer can help you with writing effective emails which will nurture your leads further into the buyer’s journey.
Start off with these essential ideas to start marketing your small business and watch it grow. But be consistent and aim for the long run. These tactics are not one-time wonders but need you to be fully involved in it. Start with a plan and then implement it based on your resources and goals. Get some help if you need to, even if they will cost you a little bit, like hiring a professional freelance writer or a designer and web developer – but in the long run this will pay off brilliantly.
If you have any ideas for smart affordable marketing tactics for small businesses, please share.