Getting Started with Small Business Internet Marketing
It can be hard for small businesses to compete against larger corporations for buyers' online attention. After all, big businesses have more resources and money to market their brand - and more strategic power to figure out how to cut through the clutter target the right audience.
Thankfully, today’s digital marketing tactics have made it increasingly easier for small businesses to spread brand awareness as the cost-based barrier to entry has been lowered. Whether it's through paid advertising, content marketing, or email marketing, small businesses are finally getting noticed in a big way.
So how can small businesses compete with larger businesses for the attention of buyers? Below are five digital marketing strategies that will help generate growth and boost your bottom line:
1. Email Marketing for Small Businesses
Email marketing allows small businesses to build direct relationships with prospects and customers. The majority of email marketing platforms offer professional-looking templates that are easy for small businesses to fill in with branded, engaging content – making it cost-effective and simple to use.
With email marketing, not only are you reaching your audience through their preferred communications medium (who isn't checking email all day long?), you're also helping to build direct relationships with buyers through compelling email copy. In addition to engaging new prospects, email marketing should be used to nurture relationships with existing customers. Simplify email marketing for small businesses by utilizing prospecting tools, which will help build marketing lists.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is another must-have marketing tool for today's small businesses. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are widely used to share content and spread brand awareness - without costing a cent. For instance, you can pose questions, highlight a new service offering, or share a customer testimony. Social media is also a great tool for learning about your audience’s needs and analyzing social chatter can give you valuable insights into their challenges and opportunities. Going to your audience, and exposing them to your services is crucial for an omni-channel approach to online advertising for small businesses.
3. Search Engine Marketing / Search Engine Optimization
If you really want your business to get found, then invest in a search engine marketing strategy – since that’s where most buyers start their search for a product or solution. Advertisements on search engines are paid tactics help to increase your exposure on search engine pages which, in turn, can help get your business in front of more consumers. Search engine optimization (SEO) – or the process of generating organic traffic from search—uses a number of approaches including keyword optimization, website architecture improvements, and user experience enhancements to get your website on the first page of a search engine’s result pages for specific search terms.
Paid ads on search engines or PPC for small business is a way to get in front of customers immediately. You can create a paid search campaign on Google’s Adwords platform, and have ads displayed to customers within a few hours for searches you want to rank for. Organic advertising, or SEO for small businesses is a long term approach to improving your company’s performance on search engines. SEO can take up to six months to get real traction, but if your business implements SEO best practices and continues to create helpful content that appeals to your audience, your business can see a lot of fr ee website traffic.
4. Online Advertising for Small Businesses
Believe it or not, online advertising – such as banner ads, pay-per-click ads, Google AdWords ads, and more – can be much more cost-savvy and effective than traditional mass marketing techniques, such as radio spots, billboards, and television ads. People are always on their mobile devices, and sometimes online ads have a better chance of being viewed than a television or radio ad. What’s more, online ads are up and running 24/7, which gives businesses round-the-clock visibility.
Small businesses can take advantage of the enhanced targeting features that online advertising has as well. As a small business owner you can have complete control over how much you spend on specific product exposure, when your ads are running, and who sees your ads. Most pay-per-click platforms are flexible and can be cost effective if they are managed correctly.
5. Content Marketing
You can serve your audience an ad – but’s it the content that might keep them on your website. Content marketing—or the creation and distribution of engaging content (articles, blog posts, etc.) – is a great way to establish “thought leadership” – or positioning your company as a powerhouse of industry knowledge to foster trust and credibility. Content marketing also attracts leads and can be more cost effective when compared to outbound marketing.
Small businesses should develop content strategies that reach potential customers at all levels of a buyers’ journey. Some articles should be created for the upper funnel, broader portion of the sales funnel, where products or general terms are introduced to potential customers. There should articles for the mid-funnel for potential customers are considering solutions to their needs. Finally, there should articles created that lead to a purchase. These final articles should typically draw a distinction between competitors, and illustrate why a customer would chose one product over the other.
Keeping a small business afloat is difficult enough, but trying to compete with large organizations for a small pool of consumers is even harder. Use the five marketing strategies above to help get your brand in front of buyers and help ensure that they remain engaged.