So, you’ve got a business going. You’ve got an incredible team of professionals, your product is of the highest quality, and the prices are very reasonable. Still, you feel that your company is making less money than it should be.
The online marketing strategy for your small business does not show great results, traffic isn’t high and the amount of leads is low. And your website doesn’t appear among the top five sites on the first page of the search engine.
How can you improve this situation? Luckily, we collect all the useful tips for you in this article.
It’s Time to Step up Your Online Game!
We are going to tell you everything you need to know about marketing for small businesses: why it is essential to understand your clientele, why your brand image is so essential, how to make your website better, how to properly use SEO, what promotion techniques you can use and a lot more!
What, Why and How?
Online marketing is comprised of many elements that all interact with each other and work in harmony. Although you have to understand – there is no magic in there, only skills and knowledge. Let’s starts from the basics.
Brand Image Is the Face of a Company
Your brand is your face, and it depends entirely on you, the exact face your customers see.
If you are an environmentally-friendly company, make sure your clients know this, if you recycle, post it in your blog and attach photos. If you receive a negative comment, respond politely and put this feedback on your “customer reviews” page.
Let everyone see, that you are a professional who can handle the situation appropriately and take responsibility for your actions.
Know Your Target Audience
A huge part of successful marketing for small businesses is knowing everything about your customers. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they want from a company like yours? Are they married? Do they have children? What is their income? How much are they ready to spend?
Answers to these questions will help you create a successful marketing strategy, bringing you new customers who want to use your company’s services.
What Are Your Goals
Identifying your goals for the future will make it easier to create an efficient marketing plan. State clearly what you want to achieve and begin working in that direction.
Your Website Shows the Credibility of Your Firm
It is hard to imagine a company in 2019 that does not have a website. However, not every business owner considers a website to be something worth investing in and this is just wrong.
Put yourself in your clients shoes, which website would you prefer – one with a logical structure, pleasant design, and good content that is user-friendly or a website where everything is chaotic, you are unable to find what you need after searching for more than five minutes, the fonts are making your eyes bleed and there is no mobile version.
The answer is pretty simple. And if you can’t provide your customers with a decent site where they can easily find or buy products and services, how can they be sure that you can satisfy their needs?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a vital part of any marketing strategy for small businesses. Basically, it is how good your website’s position is in the search results.
SEO processes your HTML titles and tags, your images, links, the quality and the relevance of your content, the reputation of your domain and many other things, and if it fits the search query (that is what you type in the search box), then your website will appear in the search results. Let’s find out how it all works.
A word or a phrase that helps a search engine to understand what your site is about is called a “keyword”. When you type, for example, “buy a car” in the search box, Google gives you the pages that have this keyword.
This is the reason why you need a lot of different keyword combinations. However, do not get too carried away, you won’t be able to improve your page’s rank just by using a dozen keywords in one paragraph.
Search systems not only look for relevant keyword combinations, they also assess whether the information on your page is what people were looking for.
If the links in your search are not labeled as “Sponsored” or “Ad”, then these links are the result of an organic search. You can see them because the information at these websites is relevant to your search query.
An organic search does not require an investment; the results depend heavily on the content of your site. For example, if your page has a blog which is updated regularly and the content is useful and has relevant keywords and key phrases, your search results will be much higher than your competitors (if they do not pay attention to the SEO).
Small businesses have higher search rankings in local search engines. For example, if a potential user types “buy a car” and your website is, let’s say, 7th in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), then with a search query like “buy a car in *your location*” your position will be higher.
Google My Business
In continuation of the previous paragraph, we should mention one of the best Google services for local businesses – Google My Business (GMB). It compiles all of your Google profiles (Maps, Google+, reviews, etc.) and makes it whole. It works like this.
When the user types “*location* carwash”, the first links that he sees, are paid ads. But below them, even above the organic search, there is a GMB listing with the local carwashes. Is it even worth mentioning how being placed there can boost your leads? And the cherry on the top of the pie – it won’t cost you a dime.
Google Adwords is a service for paid ads which are shown the first in the SERP and have an “Ad” or a “Sponsored” label. Even though using this service may be pretty expensive and tricky, it still can get the job done. You can use paid ads and organic search simultaneously to get the best possible result.
This is the information you can see under the link in your search result. It helps the user to understand what your page is about. This description should be short (not more than 160 characters) and it will be better if there is a keyword (but try to not make it seems forced).
There are three types of useful SEO links: internal, external, backlinks.
- Internal links connect the pages of your website, allowing the user to explore more content on your site.
- External links transfer the customer outside of your website.
- Sometimes companies share external links and this is called backlink. Such links generate more traffic, for both websites, as the users from one site may visit another. Moreover, the search engine improves your search ranking if it sees that some sites with a good “reputation” are backlinking you.
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
In the contemporary business world, a strong social media presence is mandatory, especially for local businesses, as you have to gain new customers from anywhere you can. Many companies even prefer social media to be their primary platform and users like it!
If your business account has a lot of followers, you have a lot of opportunities at hand. Word-of-mouth is a real thing on the Internet, so keep an eye on your customer support. Moreover, having a lot of subscribers means that other brands may be willing to pay you money so that you will mention them in your next post.
The most popular social media platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Posting regularly on these platforms will also increase your brand awareness, which will result in more potential clients and further expansion of your business.
One more useful way too boosts your sales and improve your credibility via social media is to use so-called influencers. These are people who have a lot of subscribers on their social media page. They can make a post about the products or the services that your company provides, so their followers will find out about you. Needless to say, this can literally bring you a lot of new customers overnight.
For example, if your company specializes in making furniture for children, try reaching out to an account whose brand image is a mother with a newborn. Offer her, let’s say, a crib for free. If the quality of your product is good, she will gladly use it and share this experience with her followers.
Because her target audience is mostly mothers with children, they need this baby furniture. And as soon as her post appears in their news feed, all of these people will become your potential customers.
The trick here is to be ready for the sales boom. You need to be sure that your sales department is ready for the big flow of customers and an increase in sales. So, make sure there is a lot of this product unit in stock.
This tool comes in handy when you need to raise awareness for your latest post or events. This method allows you to reach thousands of people at once and deliver your message.
Webinars and Podcasts
If you have excellent expertise in some sphere, do not be afraid to share it with your customers. If you give some useful tips or pieces of advice to your clientele, they will be more inclined to trust you, meaning they are more likely to use your company’s services. That is why all kinds of online conferences, webinars, live broadcasts, and podcasts are extremely useful.
Moreover, this will allow you to connect with your audience, to have a chat with them, and hold a question-answer session. All of these methods are aimed at increasing your customer base and raising your brand awareness.