These days, it has become a prerequisite to open lines of communication and engagement between businesses and its clients through online platforms and social media. Online marketing is part of EVERY marketing plan and with the limited resources that’s often the reality for small businesses, the possibilities presented by having a solid online presence makes it that much more appealing. Here are eight ways to improve your small business’ online presence, and how to translate it for financial and marketing gains.
Being a small business, it’s understandable that you may not yet have the kind of online reach you would ideally like to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into others’ network — and that’s the main benefit of hosting a small business gathering. At your small business event, you could either partner with other businesses that complement yours, or attract attention to the enterprises within your neighborhood. By having a number of businesses promoting the event, you get exponential reach, and if executed properly, engagement beyond your own means. This is easier said than done because new networks aren’t just grabbed from thin air. But aside from the usual business gathering event page on facebook and/or promotions on social media, there are sites like Meetup.com to help you create an official group with like-minded or targetted individuals.
SEO provides a number of benefits to businesses, with of the main things having the ability to make you appear high in search engine rankings. But as pointed out by digital marketing company, First View Online Marketing, because most people do multiple searches, using different search terms, there is great value in continually appearing in different search results.Not only will it lead to more website visits, but a certain level of trust is also developed when you are constantly displayed in their search results. A good grasp of SEO helps you accomplish this. Analytics, meanwhile, ensure that you understand what is going on with the investments you’ve made in online marketing. Let’s say you learned SEO and outsource professional help to help your branding and visibility online, if you don’t get to view a clear picture of the numbers behind the online behavior of your prospective clients, then it is akin to pouring your online marketing efforts (and money) down the drain.
With most of the decision making done online these days, it’s important to have a visually appealing, interactive, and professional looking website. And being a small business, you may not necessarily have the know-how and expertise to achieve that in-house — this is where the importance of hiring professional help comes in. By hiring a web designer, you can have someone with the expertise and experience to translate your ideas into an appealing and engaging website that would facilitate your online marketing efforts. And because almost everyone first tries to find something on social media, you’ll also need to setup accounts where you can promote your website. As noted by business content portal The Balance, even if you don’t sell anything online directly, you need a website — and if you’re going to have one anyway, you might as well have a professional do it for you.
Being active on social media doesn’t mean talking about your own business 24/7, or trying to push a product or service. As noted by Katie Katz, co-owner of Bernard Katz Glass — a business selling contemporary art glass sculptures — you need to think of yourself, instead, as a curator of content. According to her, their social media content is primarily about running a small business and being a glass artist — where she posts stories and photographs about working with customers and helping them find a special piece. They also share information on other glass artists that the company likes. I’m always thinking about sharing an article, or something about another business, something of value, Katz says. You don’t kill them with, ‘Look at me, look at me!’. It fails when you are just talking about yourself.
With its stated purpose of helping the world’s professionals connect with one another to accelerate success, LinkedIn is extremely important when it comes to online networking. As pointed out by The Balance, with over 40 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn remains a powerful tool for online marketing, which gives you the platform to connect with not just potential customers, but prospective partners and colleagues as well. But it is important to note, that much like your social media presence, online networking should not be used to incessantly talk about yourself. Giving without worrying about the returns has been a proven way to get, frequently, more powerful returns that you thought possible.
Email marketing, in its most basic scope, is about building a list of customers and prospective clients. And what’s good about this list, is that you know that these people are interested in what your business offers because they personally opted (perhaps because they were offered promo codes, coupons or future product/service updates) into this list. As noted by The Balance, because the list becomes more valuable as it grows, many marketing professionals consider email marketing as the most important small business marketing strategy in the long run.
It takes a while to build a following, and as a small business it’s perfectly fine to start small. But once you establish your online presence and expand your media outreach, it’s is integral to your business’ success that you consistently relay the right message. Whether it’s developing thought leadership or establishing field expertise, you want to stay consistent with the message you relay to your followers. Not only will it help in expanding your reach, it will also develop credibility.
The digital realm is constantly evolving. While blog posts and photos may have once taken their spot at the top of social media and digital marketing, there is no doubt that presently, it is video that is king. As pointed out by a Cisco white paper, by 2020, video will account for 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic. This is why it’s important to continually add new assets to your content — to keep pace with the online trends, and to make sure that you have the type of content that the market is currently leaning into. And while video appears set to hold on to the top spot for the meanwhile, virtual reality is starting to make its move, with digital marketing firm Marketo, noting that the number of active VR users is projected to reach 90 million 2017 (from 43 million in 2016). Thinking of implementing this but doesn’t have a creatives team? Proffessionals, like Molecule Group, can help!
The fact is most people make their purchasing decisions online — be it by conducting a string of searches, reading reviews, or connecting on social media — makes it imperative that you invest in efforts that strengthen your online presence. It almost doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, if you aren’t visible online, then you’re missing out on countless opportunities to improve both your business and your brand.Customer engagement and building relationships is the name of the game — and the best place to accomplish both is online. Look at your current online marketing efforts, and find out what areas need improvement, you’ll thank yourself later.