small-business-online-marketing-successMajority of my readers already have small businesses and are marketing them on the Internet. Some entrepreneurs know the ins and outs of running successful marketing campaigns while others are still in the trenches, learning. There are however a few business owners that are complete novices when it comes to online marketing.
Regardless of where you fit in the mastery of online business marketing, this post will give you some tips that will help you succeed. Let’s jump right into the details.
What Are Your Marketing Goals
Before you start looking at different online marketing methods to implement for your business, it helps to define your marketing goals.
Every business has unique problems that the owner may be looking to solve. For example, you may be looking to achieve one or some of the following:
- Get more sales/revenues (sweet)
- Get on top of search engine results for target profitable keyword phrases
- Improve your social media following for brand enhancement
- Generate leads from existing traffic on your online channels
- Educate your target market on various topics to generate qualified leads
When you know what you want to achieve with your business in the short and long term, it becomes easy to determine which route to take with your online marketing.
Now let’s look at some marketing tips that are sure to guarantee you success with your small business.
1. Establish a Strong Online Presence
This is probably the most important way of marketing your small business. If you are not blogging, you should be on Twitter or LinkedIn chatting with prospects and sharing valuable content. The key thing is to add value to your clients and prospects. The secret to generating leads is to be nice to people and help them solve a problem they have.
You should have your online marketing strategy right from the start. Think about the people you want to help, what they like, where they hang out on social media and the information they are searching for.
You can use insight from your competitors to know what is working and to get jumpstarted with your campaigns. For example, you can check the topics that industry leaders are writing about and follow the same angle.
However, you do not just want to copy the topics being covered by competitors. Rather, you want to curve a unique angle that will help your audience. You can make a name for your business by creating great content and promoting it across the various online properties you have a presence.
Practice lean marketing for your business. Identify the online channels that are working best for your business and concentrate on them. If your prospects hang out in all major social media networks, follow them wherever they are.
You should establish a presence in the online channels your prospects hang out and dominate the field.
2. Use Online Channels Sparing
Limit the social media channels you are using for your marketing. This is especially true if you are running a one-person business or are not sure whether your target market uses the additional social networks you want to have a presence in.
Every channel you are using should help you achieve your overall business goal, be it creating brand awareness, generating leads, closing sales and so on.
To achieve all of these, you need to get prospects to trust and respect you. The way to do this online is to position yourself as a trusted source of information in your industry.
For example, you can create blog posts around your industry topics, curate content from thought leaders, network and connect with industry leaders, and address the subjects your audience interested in.
It’s easy to get into the trap of being “everywhere” online. However, think about the benefit that being everywhere will bring to your business. For the most part, you will realize you are spending time and resources to establish a presence on the additional social networks but have no ROI (return on investment) to show.
And this brings us to the next point…
3. Track your Marketing Efforts
You cannot improve what you cannot measure. Track your marketing efforts to see whether you are on track to achieving your business goals. You should do an audit of your marketing activities, perhaps 3 to 6 months, to see how your business has been fairing.
Here is a handy list of the important metrics that matter that should be on your list of things to track.
Tracking should help you in two ways:
- Discover the marketing methods that bring results to your business. Any methods that do not bring results should be scaled down or tweaked for better performance. Methods that result in positive ROI can be scaled up for even better performance.
- Identify new marketing techniques that are working for your business. Tracking can help you determine whether the marketing experiments you have been doing are working. If you find a winning technique, scale it up.
It’s important to define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for every marketing campaign. KPIs are simply benchmarks against which you will measure the results of your online marketing campaign to determine whether they were hits or misses.
4. Get Your Website Right
Your online properties, especially your website, are possibly the first interaction that prospects will have with business.
Have a professionally designed website for your business. Make sure your website speaks to the customer. Some potential clients will judge your business by how your website looks. You want to hook them the first time they visit.
Your website copy should be targeted to the visitors. The site should explain what your business is about, what you do and how you can help the prospect.
Make it easy for clients to find your business on search engines. This means your site should be designed according to the best SEO practices. For example, the site’s copy should contain the relevant keywords that you are targeting.
Conversion is another thing that the website should be focused on. Make it easy for prospects to connect with you by subscribing to your email list. If you produce great content that your audience loves, you can get leads into your sales funnel. You can nurture the leads to become customers.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is the key to earning trust from prospects and moving your business forward. Many small business owners start online marketing with a lot of fire, only to get bogged by entrepreneur’s burnout and slowly fade into oblivion.
The worst thing is that just as the entrepreneurs are starting to fade off, that is when a prospect who has been following the business for months wants to make an enquiry that is a potential sale.
To be consistent with your marketing, you need a plan. An online marketing plan will act as your roadmap in your small business journey. It’s important to have a plan from the onset of your marketing. If you don’t have a plan, you are likely to be caught up in the trap of doing everything just to feel busy but in the real sense, you won’t be helping your business.
The above are five important tips that will help you improve your business. It’s time to get out of the shell and start making moves for your small business. Consistency is key to get your small business to the next level.