Maintaining an Online Marketing Presence as a Small Business
As a small business owner, you are probably left scratching your head when it comes to online marketing. How can you compete with the big guns who have £multi-million marketing budgets behind them?
Sure, money does help, there is no denying that, but it isn’t everything. There are ways that you can maintain a presence online as a small business without having to take out a second mortgage and you’ll find out exactly how if you continue reading.
Leverage social media
The great thing about social media is that you have access to a wealth of potential customers and through the appropriate strategy you’ll be able to reach them with no investment at all.
If you are working by yourself you probably don’t have an endless amount of time available, so pick one or two platforms to focus on as you get started. Facebook and Twitter are the biggest.
Once you have set up an account you need to start engaging with people and the best way to do this is by posting unique sharable content. You are an expert in your field so you’ll be best qualified to determine the type of content that will make you stand out and also be of interest to your audience. As people begin to share your content you’ll find awareness of your business dramatically increases.
An example of how a small business could create engaging content is a local baker posting images of them preparing the freshly baked bread each day or perhaps a video teaching people how to make a small amount of homemade bread themselves. When people need a baker they’ll remember you from your social content.
This social media cheat sheet will help you to get your accounts up and running and give you a few more ideas on how to drive engagement.
Build a website and focus on SEO
Everything is online today, so much so that even local home businesses have some form of online presence. With this in mind, if you haven’t got a good website already, make sure you prioritise getting one built.
The Internet is the first place people will go when they want to find a new product or service and you want to make sure that you have a strong website that ranks highly for relevant search terms on search engines.
A website doesn’t have to break the bank, there are countless affordable agencies and freelancers that will be able to put something professional together for you.
Website structure has a lot to do with your visibility in search engines, but so do links. In essence, the more websites that have a link pointing to your site, the more likely you will rank highly in search engines.
Without a considerable budget you’ll struggle to rank for national and highly coveted regional search terms like ‘bakers’ and ‘bakers London.’ However you can definitely make sure that your site is one of the first to appear for more local terms like ‘bakers Hackney.’ Speak to an SEO agency to find out more – a small budget each month could help you to achieve these goals and increase revenue.
Build an email list
An email list is one of the most powerful tools in online marketing. If you manage to accumulate a list of loyal customers and highly targeted prospects a few well-constructed emails here and there can drive a huge spike in your revenue numbers.
Using the baker example again, you could ask customers to leave their email address to be entered into a draw to receive a £100 voucher (this could be promoted in-store and over social media). People love competitions so you’ll have a few people bite.
Once you have created a strong list you can start marketing to these people via email. Have you got a fantastic new product or are about to launch your Black Friday sales? Construct an email that is informative and promotes your business well and you could see a massive increase in enquiries.
Webinars are a great way of building your email list and generating leads. They are interactive and keep the attention of potential clients far more than other traditional marketing channels.
Just make sure that your webinar is oozing with relevant and informative content. If people come away having learned something they will be more likely to share the information with their friends.
Larger companies will host webinars too but you are an expert in your field, so there is no reason why as word begins to spread you cannot find your place online.
If you are a start-up, make sure that you focus a considerable amount of time on marketing, without an established marketing presence you will struggle to generate sizeable amounts of work, particularly in the early stages. Furthermore, a more general point, you’d be surprised at the number of start-ups who neglect their tax and administration duties, if you think this could be you make sure you hire a good company to help mange your accountancy affairs.