8 Effective Online Marketing Tips For Small Businesses
Businesses these days have numerous ways – and many more places – than they ever did before for marketing themselves. However, deciding on a specific marketing method to use, especially when you are a small business or even a mid-sized one with limited resources and a small budget, can be difficult. Although social medial marketing usually is free, it still can be quite time-consuming; the same thing is true when it comes to blogging. However, digital advertising, in addition to traditional print advertising, can both be very expensive.
So which are the best internet marketing channels for small business to use? Dozens of marketing professionals and small business owners share the following list of the best marketing strategies for small businesses to use.
BLOGBlogging is among the best marketing strategies that a small business can use, according to Maren Hogan, who is Red Branch Media’s chief marketing strategist.
Hogan says that when your prospects are provided with non-salesy and informative content that is posted on your blog, that you can also promote it on social media and offer it to other networks in order to supplement your strategy. This will help your team establish itself quickly as experts in whatever your desired field is.
It can have a positive impact on your SEO as well.
Blogging twice a week at least can significant increase the ability of your website to be found on the major search engines, says Mike Lieberman, president and chief marketing scientist for Square 2 Marketing. He adds that the more blogging that you do, the more traffic that your website will receive from Bing, Yahoo and Google since you are publishing fresh content onto your website on a regular basis. Also, if there is a call to action included in all of your blog posts, it can also help you to generate additional leads off of your blog.
Business managers and owners should also consider doing some guest blogging.
According to Susan Payton, who is the president of Egg Marketing and Communications, guest blogging is among the best marketing tools that she has ever found. When you contribute useful content to relevant blogs, it shows your knowledge off and expands your reach. You can also usually link to your site from your author bio, which makes it easy for readers to visit your website.
Leverage social media.
Mike Volpe who is CMO of HubSpot, a firm specializing in inbound marketing, says that any small business that isn’t currently utilizing social media needs to do so right away. He says that social media produces nearly twice the number of marketing leads that direct mail, telemarketing or trade shows do.
Volpe says that since social media can appear to be overwhelming, select one social media platform that is used by industry leaders, prospects and customers the most- whether that is Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook- and begin to build a presence there. After you have an account set up, start to connect by engaging with that community, joining in on discussion and sharing original content of yours. Your social efforts should be done frequently, but most important of all, make sure that it is helpful and relevant for your audience.
Get a Facebook business page set up and make use of Facebook advertisingAccording to Tori Hoffman, who is the social media strategist for the automotive advertising agency Potratz, Facebook is one of the more important marketing tools that any business can use, particularly small businesses.
Hoffman adds that Americans are on social media one out of each seven minutes, which provides small business owners with a huge opportunity for building relationships with fans through sharing relevant content and having interactions with fans through liking and commenting. The more that users interact with a Facebook page, the more likely it is that their friends will see it as well, which increases awareness even more.
Consider Facebook advertising as well.
According to Bob Bentz, who is president of the mobile marketing agency ATS Mobile, they have seen great success with Facebook advertising for their mobile marketing clients. The ads are displayed directly in the news feed, so it is impossible to miss them. For local clients is is particularly effective, since there is hardly any waste the way there is with traditional media.
A local restaurant is able to promote to only the zip codes that it draws business from. Even a specific sex or age group can be targeted, Bentz adds. Best of all, those customers can be targeted during times when it most likely that they will buy. For example, your ads can be displayed right before as well as during lunch and dinner time hours. Also, if you don’t get the results you desire from your Facebook campaign, it can be canceled at any time since there isn’t any long-term commitment.
Post to Instagram and PinterestIf the service or product you are selling is highly visual, for example you are in the food or bridal business, then you should post images regularly on Instagram and/or Pinterest. It is free to post and the platforms both have large followings, especially among women.
According to Eric Elkins, chief strategist and DEO at the real time social media company WideFoc.us, Pinterest can be used to drive large amounts of traffic to your website, and no platform is able to use hashtags as effectively for building audiences the way that Instagram can.
Ria Romano, who is a partner with RPR Public Relations, says that for services and goods that specifically target women 18 to 65 years old, we recommend that companies use Pinterest. In terms of shopping online, women tend to be more visual compared to men, and a picture really does say a 1,000? words. Romano adds that for each dollar spent by a female consumer on client services and products that they see on Facebook, that same shopper spends $3 on the very same service or product on Pinterest.
Mindy McCarthy, who is the owner of MinMac, says that Instagam is her favorite place for selling her handmade jewelry. She adds that it is the queen when it comes to visual markets. Prospective customers are able to scroll through your pictures to see exactly who they are supporting. It allows them to make a connection with you not merely as a business owner, but as a person as well. Most of the pieces of jewelry that she post sells within minutes of it showing up on Instagram.
Leverage email reminders and email marketing.According to Ron Cates, who is the director of Digital Marketing, Education, Constant Contact, email marketing is a great tool for engaging customers. However, its potential is really limited if it is kept inside a silo. He adds that, for maximum impact, make sure that your email marketing campaigns are integrated with the other marketing campaigns you are doing.
if you have a Facebook contest that you are running, increase how many people participate by informing your email subscriber list about it. You can also send out a reminder email when you run a special offer or time-limited deal.
Cates says that email has an undeniable impact. He says that his clients have seen as much as 25 percent of their sales from deals and coupons coming from reminder emails. ?
Try Google AdWords/Pay-Per-Click Advertising.According to David Waterman, who is the account director at the search optimization and marketing firm of Digital Marketing, The Search Agency, small businesses need to target their marketing dollars and efforts as much as possible, particularly if their service or product is location specific.
Waterman states that PPC advertising is a potentially cost effective way for getting started with online marketing and your marketing dollars can be used for specifically targeting the terms and regions that relate to your business the most. Some marketing and media companies also offer automated bidding solutions which allow the small business PPC beginner to be able to obtain the same level of exposure and targeting without having to spend a lot of money.
Kyle Peterson, from the tech marketing and PR firm of Clement and Peterson, says that having an efficient Google AdWords campaign can provide small businesses with huge amounts of leads. He adds that you should start out with very targeted keywords and to pay close attention to search query results, negative keywords and keyword match types in order to prevent irrelevant visitors, such as people searching for jobs.
Then get some kind of conversion tracking enabled so that you know your business is being checked out by new visitors instead of bouncing immediately. It is easy to scale up. The biggest challenge with AdWords lies with wasting money on clicks that are irrelevant.
Waterman also recommends that medium and small business owners try Bing PPC advertising either instead of or in addition to Google AdWords.
According to Nicole Skuba, who is a partner at the Blue Tree Digital marketing firm, webinars can be used for generating leads and building your list. She says that according to webcast experts, some webinars receive a 70 percent rebound effect which is comprised of new individuals as well as those who saw the live broadcast. Because webinars are more interactive they have a tendency to hold the attention of potential clients and leads better.
Just be sure that your webinar is rich in content, and that the content is well organized, relevant to your target audience, and is hosted by somebody who is experienced in running or conducting webinars.
Remember to use press releases.
According to Vocus product manager Abby Hammer, competition is intense for visibility. She says that press releases can help midsized and small businesses distribute their content over hundreds of local and global channels, which will allow them to obtain the same exposure that much larger brands do.
She adds that when press releases are included as part of a business’s integrated marketing strategy, that it will be able to get its content in front of consumers directly and connect with bloggers and journalists – and that these interactions can have a lasting impression.
The cost for publishing a press release using a wire service is also fairly inexpensive, with it typically costing $200 to $300 for a release that is picked up by thousands of websites and all of the major search engines. Small business owners have several different wire services for them to choose from, including PR Web and PR Newswire.