A beginner’s guide to Small Business Online Marketing
(Posted on 27/03/17)
According to Forbes, 80-90% of consumers research purchases online before buying. Therefore it is vital for any business, big or small, to have a strong online presence. Here is an introduction to four core elements of small business marketing - website, blogging, branding and social media.
Having a professional-looking website is one of the most important assets you will create for your small business. This is where you will show who you are, what you offer, where you are, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you.
If you’re fairly tech-savvy, you might want to build your own website, and there are many Content Management Systems (CMS) to help you do so. If the technology world is alien to you, you can use a freelancer or an agency that specialises in web design.
The best way to become an authority on a subject is to create a blog. You can create a blog by using one of many free website tools to make platforms, or update your website to contain a blog section. Once you have started blogging, you can add a call to action on your posts, which encourages visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive e-mails. This is a great way to start collecting leads and offering potential customers information if they aren’t ready to buy anything from you just yet.
Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business can make you look more professional and help attract new customers. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon described branding as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Essentially your brand is represented by the emotions people feel when hearing your company name.
It is important to begin with a logo, the first identifier of your brand. For this you can enlist the help of a marketing agency. While there may be more inexpensive options, using an agency can give you a higher quality product and connect you with a designer who can change and update your brand as your company grows.
Social media might seem like it's just a fun platform for people to socialise and connect, but it's actually a powerful business tool. Social media can help you increase traffic, improve your search engine rankings, and engage with potential customers.
If your business is focused on a local area, the most important accounts for you are Facebook, Yelp, and Google's business feature. Having high Yelp reviews improves your authority online and helps your search ranking. You can claim your business on Yelp for free, customise your profile and add pictures, and start asking for reviews.
For any business, having up-to-date social media accounts will help you be found and engage with prospects. Create a Twitter account for your business, Facebook page for business, learn how to use Instagram for business, create a Pinterest page for your business (if relevant), and use them as a way to discover new clients. You can also try your hand at using Snapchat for business if you've already mastered the basics.
Some things like blogging definitely take a few months to start kicking in and sending you traffic, but social media accounts and posts can have immediate effects. To find out more about improving your online presence, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.