Running a small business often means that you have to make the most of a limited budget. While big companies have a lot of funds at their disposal, small businesses have to get creative in order to be able to compete. A crucial part of getting the word out about small businesses is crafting an interesting digital marketing strategy that will catch the eye of your potential clients.
If you know anything about marketing, you have probably heard that mixing the online and offline ways of marketing is the best approach. However, with new entrepreneurs, it’s not uncommon that they are not well-versed in digital marketing.
So, if this is the case with you, we made a guide for small businesses that should help with your digital marketing strategy regardless of whether you are tackling it on your own or hiring experts. Take a look below.
Start by Listing Your Business
There are many local business platforms you can use to give people more information about your company. Platforms such as Google My Business, Yahoo! Small Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yelp are some great options.
By listing your name, address, phone number, email address, business hours, and description, you are increasing your visibility and making it much easier for customers to find you. As soon as someone googles your business’s name, these details will show up on the first page of Google’s results and potential clients will know how to get in touch or when to visit your store. With the latest version of Google My Business, you can even post updates, look at analytics and respond to comments.
Make the Most of Google’s Free Tools
Seeing as how your budget might be on the smaller side, you should stay on the lookout for any free tools that can be of help. Luckily, there are many solutions that don’t cost anything and a lot of them are offered by Google.
With Google Analytics, you can easily learn to analyze your web traffic. Voice is another tool that allows you to text, call and have a voicemail inbox free of charge in certain countries.
Then, of course, there are cloud services including Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Docs. After a while, you will see which tools you need to find a premium version of and which you can continue using without paying.
Use Social Media to the Max
The best thing about social media platforms is that joining is free so small businesses have the chance to reach a wide audience with the right approach. Of course, you can join all networks you can think of but keep in mind that this effort might be futile.
Doing some market research and a better understanding of your customers will tell you where most of your target audience spends its time. For example, there is no need for you to keep posting on Snapchat if you know that everyone is going to be checking out your Instagram stories.
Different platforms can be used for different things and you can consider a specific voice for each platform but in such a way that your audience still recognizes you. While Facebook might be for an older crowd, Twitter and Tumblr could be where you will catch the attention of the young people and show that you truly understand them.
For targeting other businesses, a profile on LinkedIn can be very useful. Plus, if your website is still under construction or you cannot afford it yet, this is a great way to keep your audience updated.
Work on a High-Quality Website
However, for your business to be successful, you cannot operate without an official website for too long. There are plenty of ways how you can save some money but skipping this step is not the road to take.
This is why it is very important to use options like Squarespace and WordPress to make one on your own or find an expert who can create a killer presentation for your company.
First of all, the website needs to be user-friendly, easy-to-navigate and responsive. It has to load quickly and give an overview of what your company is.
Include an FAQ section where visitors can easily get answers without having to contact you and implement chatbots that will quickly answer any enquiry they might have. Plus, if you are selling something, make sure you have a fully functioning store that is easy to use and doesn’t require registration.
Invest in Search Engine Optimization
To improve your visibility and reach a wider audience, you will have to learn more about search engine optimization and how beneficial it is for small companies. While understanding keywords and backlinks can be a bit difficult at the start, SEO is a very cost-effective method that helps build trust and credibility not only among customers but search engines as well.
Relying on local small business SEO services can help you rank better on SERPs and increase your conversions.
Another great thing about search engine optimization is that it is a relatively cheap approach with an impact that can last several years. However, seeing as how Google and other search engines change their algorithms every once in a while, you have to either stay up to date or outsource this task to experts in the field.
Create a Blog
If you are good with words, have some spare time when not dealing with most aspects of your company, and believe you have something useful to share with the world, why not start a blog? This is not only a great way to promote your products but also to get some authority in the field and gain the trust of your clients.
If your blog takes off, you can even get other people to write instead of you. Plus, this is a great opportunity to work with other blogs and companies. They can write an interesting post for your blog and vice versa. This practice is also great for your SEO.
Reach Out to Influencers
Networking is a huge part of ensuring your company gets noticed. In addition to tapping into your existing contacts and promoting your new business on your personal social media profiles, you could also look for some influencers that could help you.
What is great about this is the fact that you don’t need a world-famous celebrity to partner up with; locals that have a decent amount of followers and are influential in your niche could be all you need to reach a wider audience.
They might make a YouTube video about your products, review your services on their blog or simply post a snap of themselves using something you sell.
Certain influencers prefer to be paid while others simply enjoy getting free promotional products and services.
Consider Paid Advertising
In case you can’t wait for the organic approach to pay off or all your previous efforts simply aren’t working, you can consider pay-per-click online ads.
PPC might seem expensive but the good thing is that you only pay if people click on the ad and open your website. Plus, you can test out new keywords regularly, target a specific niche or audience and even track every click.
If you’re new to digital marketing, the above-listed methods should not be skipped. Keep in mind that the digital environment is always changing so you will have to adapt quickly and follow the latest updates to stay in touch with your competition.
The article The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing by Emma Williams first appeared on Innovation & Tech Today.