It’s the question I get asked more often than any other when I’m talking with small business owners about online marketing strategies.
“How do I get more customers online?”
To be successful in the competitive world of business, you need to be creative with your online marketing. Despite the confusion it’s very important for small business owners to address and improve their online presence.
In fact, 63% of Americans access the mobile web each day, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center report, and that number is on the rise.
Don’t put your small business in the penalty box. We have compiled a list of online marketing advice you can apply to your small business to improve your online presence.
Before You Start
Make a list of what you are currently doing to promote your business. Include all of your advertising and marketing collateral on this list including:
- Business cards
- Gift cards etc.
Visit each of these resources and make sure your domain name is visible, consistent and legible. Don’t miss this opportunity to promote your website on marketing materials you are already paying for.
Tip #1: Know your Customer’s Value.
Your online marketing strategy will never be successful if you do not have a clearly defined acquisition value. Before you spend a dime on marketing, figure out your customers value first.
The simplest way to estimate lifetime value: Plug actual or estimated (if you’re in the planning stages or just starting out) numbers into the following equation: (Average Value of a Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)
Once you have some idea of the lifetime value of your customer, you can decide how much to spend to acquire them.
Tip #2: Set a Marketing Budget.
Now that you know who your customer is, set goals, and plan your marketing budget accordingly. The good thing about online marketing is that you can be successful even on a tight budget.
Tip #3: Build a Website.
The Internet is where people of all ages go to find professionals in the business community. Whether they search from their desktop computer, personal smart phone, our their mobile device, your website should be at the top of search results and accessible on all devices. Looking for a template? Check out our favorite places to buy website templates online.
Tip #4: Responsive Websites.
Pulling up a standard desktop-based website on a mobile browser is a deterrent for many site visitors. Websites not optimized for mobile browsing are often difficult to read. Standard websites have a higher bounce rate and reflects the importance of meeting consumer demand for mobile websites that work responsively on small screens.
Tip #5: Leverage Social Media.
It doesn’t take $1,000 to get involved with social media marketing, but if you have this much money in your budget you can reach a large audience. Integrating your small business’s social media pages with your brand and website is a key element in building a steady customer base.
More business owners are also discovering the effectiveness of offering price specials or coupon codes through social media. According to Adweek, 70 percent of marketers plan to increase spending on social media advertising in 2015. This includes platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
If you are going to spend money on Facebook ads, for example, there are steps you can take to track your return on investment. As your ads are served and your balance begins to fall, pay attention to what is and is not working. Remember, $1,000 is a lot of money but it can go quick. If you travel too far down the wrong path, you could find yourself $1,000 lighter and nothing to show for it.
Tip #6: Don’t Get Burned on SEO.
The best time to fix the problem is before it happens. Don’t let inexperience or cheap SEO have a negative effect on your business website’s performance in search engines. Often “seo gurus” are exploiting loop holes in the world of search engine optimization to save money and please clients.
Tip #7: Attract the Attention of Search Engines.
The best way to attract the attention of search engines is to write great content. Your current SEO company should be coaching you on how to develop great content. If they are not…ask them what they are doing. If they say “We are Making Back Links” then say “I would like to visit the websites linking to our website.”
Tip #8: Check Your SEO
If you are questioning the legitimacy of your search engine marketing than visit website review and run a search on your website. I have clients who previously worked with Phone Directory Companies on their search engine marketing and I was shocked at the number of shallow links originating from questionable origins.
Tip #9: Email Marketing.
Email marketing often gets forgotten and lost behind all the talk of social media.
But email marketing for small businesses is more important than ever according to QuickSprout.
Historically, email has been one of the most important channels for driving ROI. Think back to a decade ago—email was the #1 channel used by marketers. Targeting was, at first, very broad, but over time, marketers became more refined in their targeting capabilities.
Tip #10: Directory Listings.
If your website is not optimized for local search or your small business does not have a website, make sure to routinely check your business directory listings.
Popular local search destinations and applications are Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Bing, YP, Yelp and Angies List. Depending on your business, some of these sites are more important than others. According to Nielsen “69% of consumers expect businesses to be within 5 miles or less of their location.”
Tip #11: Phone Number.
Most of the time visitors are on your website looking for a phone number. It is highly suggested that you list your phone number in visible locations. Also people feel more comfortable with companies that they can put a face or voice behind.
People feel more comfortable with brands that they can put a face behind. Even though you might purchase a product exclusively online, having a phone number on your site and the ability to talk to a real person (who cares) in turn makes you feel more comfortable taking out your wallet (or recommending someone else to) for this brand.
Tip #12: Offline Media Integration.
If you build it, will they come?
This may be true in some circumstances, but not when it comes to your company’s website. Just because you have an online presence doesn’t mean the traffic will immediately follow. There are many ways to promote your website, both online and off. Like many, you may spend most your time and money on online promotional strategies. But you might be missing opportunities to incorporate your website into your offline marketing materials.
Tip #13: Marketing Analytics.
Understanding marketing analytics allows business owners to be more efficient and minimize wasted web marketing dollars. In Internet marketing, it is essential for turning awareness into conversion. Just starting the collection process is useful to your business even if you don’t plan on actively marketing your business online right now.
Tip #14: Discover Local Keywords
How do you find the best keywords for your small business? This is a question that clients always ask me. They want to understand exactly how keywords work, and how they will make back their money from search engine optimization and pay per click campaigns.
One of the most fundamental steps when starting your search engine optimization campaign is finding targeted keywords that prospects will use when finding your pest control company online.
If you are just starting out its important to have realistic expectations on SEO. You are not going to rank #1 for Personal Injury Attorney in your community overnight.
- Naples attorney
- Naples lawyer
- law firm in Naples
Your best focus is to target traffic in the city tied to your companies business address. Targeting competitive regions should be done after basic SEO goals have been set and achieved.
Figure out which marketing techniques work best for the time and resources you have available to your business. Online marketing does not have to be hard. I hope you can gain some insights from my experiences and grow your online presence. Remember there are a ton of free resources out there that can help you grow.
It’s not always about the budget you have to spend on online marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and the impact it has for your customers and business What other questions do you have about marketing your small business online? Please ask them below!