It is no secret that the world has gone digital. Nearly every adult in this country has a smartphone in their pocket. Even the elderly, who used to shun technology in previous generations, know how to use the computer and many use it for shopping, entertainment and more. Even kids have smartphones and many of them, including children from three to five, know how to use home tablet computers; and some parents report that their kids even know how to access iTunes so that they can pay for extras for their favorite games. With all of this digital technology all around us, it would definitely pay off for your small business to join the online race. Marketing your small business online may seem like an overwhelming prospect right now, as there are so many tools and techniques to discuss; but for right now it is important to start slow. Here is an outline of a basic online marketing campaign that will blast your small business message to your target audience while keeping costs to a minimum and growing your business at the same time.
It All Starts With a Website
When marketing your small business online, you will typically want to start with a website. Your very own website allows you to control all the information you decide to publish and it establishes you as the authority in your industry, provided your website provides actual value to your target audience.
Your website should be created according to your business’s overall message, it should use particular colors and have a simple layout and design that is easily maneuverable for website visitors. The website copy should inform, educate and, if possible, entertain. And make sure that visitors always have a way to contact you. Your phone number should be prominently displayed on every page and every page should include a call-to-action with your phone number listed again or a web contact form, or an email address. Finally, use images and videos to help visitors become familiar with your business before they ever step foot inside your physical location (provided that you have a physical location to visit). If yours is solely an online business, your website will be your home base and it’s exactly where you hope your website traffic will flow to.
Being Found Online
Your website will have to be optimized for the search engines when marketing your small business online if you hope to be found by your computer, tablet and smartphone using prospects and customers. On-site search engine optimization (SEO) will have to be managed, which is easy if you are using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. Many plugins exist that will help the search engines find your site quickly and list you prominently for your chosen keyword terms. Beyond that, fill your site with valuable content that uses keywords customers might use to search for your business.
Once you have on-site SEO handled, you will move to off-site SEO, which is gathering healthy referring links and establishing a robust social media presence that brings traffic to you from non-search engine sources in droves.
You hope that tons of people will find your website and visit, but you should also have a way of collecting the information of the site visitors who land on your site and browse around. This is why the web form is recommended, but an email marketing campaign is also a terrific way to keep your customers’ information and keep them informed at the same time.
Sign up with a free or low-cost email marketing platform and offer your site visitors a free ereport or something else of value in exchange for their email address. Then, start sending out valuable emails that, again, inform, educate and entertain.
Adding email to your online marketing campaign will create more loyal customers, especially if you manage to hit a nerve with the emails you send out.
Social Media Campaign
One of the best ways to gather healthy offsite links and establish your authority simultaneously is to create presences on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and any other social media sources you think you have time for. You will have to engage with your audience, provide them with sharable media (media you come up with or media you find around the web) and always respond to questions or comments using the same brand voice you use on all marketing materials. This helps to develop trust in your target group, which can contribute to more leads, more customers and more repeat business over time.
So far we have established an online marketing campaign that involves a website, an email marketing campaign and a few social networks. You can stop there if you happen to be managing the marketing of your small business all by yourself. Yet if you have help and you have more attention to put towards the marketing of your business, that is when you will want to delve into video marketing, ebook marketing, paid online marketing and all the other techniques that are too numerous to mention.
Start off slow, build your online marketing empire steadily over time and you will experience longer lasting and more sustainable results. What results will you earn? That is up to you. An effective online marketing campaign can double, triple, quadruple or otherwise multiply the amounts of customers browsing and buying your products and services. Imagine more sales, imagine far more revenue coming in and imagine a much larger business with tons of loyal customers. That is exactly what you could earn with an effective online marketing campaign like the one we just envisioned.