Guest post by Erik Emanuelli.
Today, every business is digital, making online marketing essential for reaching your target audience and generating sale leads. According to various studies, between 70% and 90% of all purchase decisions now start with online search.
But in order to be successful with your small business online marketing, you need to implement the right strategies.
Here are ten tips that will help you build and maintain a strong online presence for your small business.
1. Keep Your Website Updated
In the famous words of Oscar Wilde (or possibly Will Rogers, no one is quite sure), “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Because your website is so often the first impression for your prospective customers, it has to be effective.
Your website is a digital space that you own and control, where you can showcase your products or services, share information about your business, and connect with customers. An outdated site (in terms of content, design, or worse—both) reflects poorly on your brand.
Creating a website is easy and there are many resources available to help you get started. Once you have your updated website up and running, be sure to include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) so visitors know what actions they should take next.
We’ve come a long way from the late-90s days of hand-coded websites. Today, you can use a website builder like Blogger, WordPress, or Sitejet which provide everything you need to create a professional website in just a few hours with no coding skills.
Make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you by adding your contact information to your website. Include your email address, phone number, links to all of your business social media accounts, and physical address (if you have a brick-and-mortar location). You can also add a contact form so that visitors can send you messages directly from your website.
Including clear contact information on your website, along with social proof, builds trust with visitors and makes it more likely that they’ll reach out to you when they’re ready to buy.
2. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media is a powerful channel to reach new customers and build relationships with existing ones. While it’s a good idea to have a presence on all the largest networks, focus on the one or two that are most important to your customers and prospects, so you don’t spread your efforts too thinly.
The most popular social media platforms for businesses are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Once you create your account, make sure to optimize your profiles, add links to your website, and include contact information so people can find you easily.
Posting regular updates, engaging with other users, and running ads are all great ways to promote your business on social media.
Just be sure not to overdo it—nobody likes a spammer!
When you’re just getting started, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Posting high-quality content that is relevant to your audience will help you attract more followers and get more engagement than posting multiple times a day with low-quality content.
3. Learn to Use SEO (or Hire a Professional)
SEO (search engine optimization) is, of course, the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results. When people search for businesses like yours on Google, you want to make sure that your website appears as high up on the list as possible.
There are a few basic things you can do to improve your SEO, such as adding keywords to your website content, optimizing your images with alt tags, and building backlinks. You can also use Google Ads to run ads for your business and get more visibility in search results.
If you’re not familiar with SEO, there are plenty of resources available online to help you get started. Moz has a great beginner’s guide that covers everything from keyword research to link building. And this interactive guide to on-page SEO shows all the places on your blog posts and web pages to include keywords.
4. Build an Email List
Building an opt-in email list enables you to amass a database of email addresses that you can use to send marketing messages and announcements to your customers. It’s one of the best ways to connect with your target audience on a permission-based basis and stay top of mind.
There are a few different ways to build an email list, such as using a sign-up form on your website, running a contest or sweepstakes, or collecting emails at events.
Once you have a list of subscribers, you can start sending them regular updates about your business, new products or services, special offers, and more.
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool – if used correctly!
Be sure to avoid common mistakes like buying lists of subscribers, sending unsolicited messages (spam), or sending your opt-in subscribers irrelevant or an excessive number of messages.
5. Connect with Influencers
One of the best ways to connect with new customers is to partner with influencers in your industry.
Influencers are people with a large following on social media or other online platforms. They can help you reach a wider audience and promote your business to their followers.
There are a few different ways to find influencers, such as using an influencer marketing platform like BuzzSumo or searching for relevant hashtags on social media. Once you’ve found potential partners, reach out and see if they’re interested in working together.
Offering free products or services, exclusive discounts, or affiliate commissions are all great ways to incentivize influencers to promote your business.
Just be sure that you choose carefully—not all influencers are created equal! Do your research and only partner with those who have a good reputation and are relevant to your target audience. Start with microinfluencers and work your way up to those with very large followings.
6. Create Value
The most important point to remember when marketing your small business is to create value. Whether you’re creating content, running ads, or building an email list, always focus on providing something of value to your audience.
An effective way to create value is by building free content that is useful for your audience. Think of a content asset that you know they would find helpful, such as an e-book, guide, infographic, self-assessment, or cheat sheet.
You could also create a video tutorial or webinar that teaches them something new. Whatever you choose to create, make sure it is high-quality and relevant to your target audience.
7. Be Competitive
Know your offering, know your competitors, and be able to articulate your differentiators. Think about words you can use like first, biggest, best, most innovative, best value, etc.—and be able to back up your claims with facts.
No matter what you sell, there are many alternatives, so you need to make sure that you’re standing out from the crowd.
One way to be competitive (though it’s very challenging) is by offering something unique that your audience can’t find anywhere else. This could be a unique product, service, or even just a different way of doing things.
It’s also important to keep up with the latest trends in your industry and adapt to change. If you can consistently stay ahead of the curve, you’ll be more likely to attract new customers and stay ahead of your competition.
8. Analyze Results
There’s a famous Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
The same holds true for collecting performance data on your business. If you’ve been collecting this for some time, great! If not—start today.
Once you’ve been collecting data about your small business online marketing efforts for a while, take some time to analyze the results. This will help you see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can accurately assess what to do more of, less of, differently, or not at all.
Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool, though there are several others, along with social media analytics tools, worth checking out. Track the number of sales or new leads that you get each month and try to tie those back to their sources.
Track your progress on a regular basis over time so you can see how your marketing efforts are paying off.
By taking the time to analyze your results, you’ll be able to fine-tune your marketing strategy and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
9. Experiment with Online Advertising
Online advertising is a great way to reach new customers, but it can be challenging to get started. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by experimenting with different platforms and strategies.
Do your research to understand the different types of online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, display ads, and social media ads. Try out a few different platforms and see which ones work best for your business.
Don’t underestimate the commitment involved. You’ll need to create different types of ads and give them sufficient time to run—at least three weeks to three months, depending on the platform—in order to accurately assess their performance.
Test different ad copy and images to see what performs well. Always be testing and tweaking your campaigns to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your marketing budget.
Advertising can be expensive, so be sure to track your results carefully. Only continue running ads that are profitable.
10. Automate Your Processes
Once you’ve figured out what works, it’s important to automate the process as much as possible. This will save you time and help you scale your business.
There are a number of ways to automate your marketing, such as using social media management tools, setting up email drip campaigns, and using marketing automation software.
By automating your small business online marketing, you’ll be able to free up your time so you can focus on other aspects of your business. Be sure to monitor your results carefully so you can make changes as needed.
Marketing your small business doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. By focusing on the right things, you can automate the process and see great results. Just remember to always create value for your audience.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong online presence for your business.
What other tips do you have for marketing a small business? Share them in the comments below!
Erik Emanuelli is a pro blogger and marketer since 2010. He has created many successful niche websites, learning a lot during his journey. He shares valuable insights on his blog, helping others achieve success in the online space.
Lisa Sicard says
Hi Erik, It amazes me how many small businesses don’t update their websites. And if they had a blog it would be easier to update. However, because blogs take a while for them to see any type of result, they don’t want to be bothered to do it or pay someone a reasonable amount to make one for them.
In the end, they are losing out on business they could generate by providing useful information on their site in the form of a blog.
Tom Pick says
Completely agree! Starting a blog is like planting an apple tree. It doesn’t bear any fruit right at first, but once it does, it’s a lot for a long time.
Moss Clement says
Hi Erik & Tom,
This post is an excellent read with valuable information for small biz owners. For instance, automating your small business processes streamlines your tasks and improves productivity. And when you take time to analyze your marketing performance, you get valuable data that’ll help you make needs adjustments for better results.
I also want to add that understanding your target market (the people you want to attract to your business) is critical for your small business growth. Knowing your audience enables you to develop a sales funnel that’ll help you visualize buyers’ journey from the first point of awareness (ToFu) to the bottom of the funnel (BoFu) conversion. In that way, you can create educational content that addresses customers’ needs at each stage of the funnel.
Thanks for sharing, Erik, and thank you too, Tom, for publishing!?
Tom Pick says
So true, Moss! It’s easy for small businesses to fall into the trap of believing their market is “everyone.” Focus really helps clarify value proposition, messaging, sales efforts, even pricing.
Brandon Taylor says
The article very well explained the tips to build a small business and an online presence. This guide is very helpful for beginners.
Tom Pick says
Thanks Brandon! Great to hear this post is helpful.