Sarah Saker, Negosentro | A solid digital marketing strategy is crucial to entrepreneurial success in today’s internet-centric world. Whether your business is online or offline, you want your website to be seen, for people to engage with your brand and for those people to convert to paying customers.
We’re going to go over five areas of online marketing that apply to small businesses in this article. Some of these methods are effective for online businesses, while others are more important for local, offline businesses.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is extremely important for local businesses. You want your website to be listed on the first page of results, preferable in the top three. Local search marketing includes optimizing websites for search engine results and also incorporates a search engine’s map function. For example, if a reader searches for, “Personal Trainers Near Me,” your website will come up first if you’ve handled your SEO. Google even lists business addresses, phone numbers and hours for prospective customers.
Effective SEO is a technical process, and it involves analysis and understanding how to most appropriately use search engine algorithms to your advantage. You must understand what to do, and also what not to do so Google doesn’t penalize you and bury your website on the third page of results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC) also involves algorithms and analysis to get eyes on your website. The difference here is that when a person clicks on your website, you pay for it. Using Google as an example, those pages at the very top of the first results page that say “ad” beside them are examples of SEM. Every time a potential customer clicks on the ad, the company pays a dollar amount.
PPC is important for both online and offline businesses that compete with other companies because it gives everyone a chance to win. A solid SEM campaign will increase your visibility by a huge margin.
You’ve got a product or service you’re selling, and you’re an expert in your field. Naturally, you’ve got a ton of information to disseminate. Use that info to your advantage. Everyone has something to sell, but the ones who can inform and engage get conversions. If you can show that you’ve got a certain level of expertise, you’ll instill confidence in the consumer. In the past, businesses created printed brochures or guidebooks for content marketing purposes but in today’s digital world, your business’ website can publish blog articles and other information.
Marketing via Email
This form of marketing is an integral part of any comprehensive digital strategy. In a nutshell, email marketing means building a list of current and prospective customers. The names and email addresses you gather are all people who are interested in your business and what it has to offer because they opted into the list on their own accord.
Maybe you promised future updates on your products and offered a nice coupon or discount to sign up. The bigger your list gets, the more valuable it becomes. Some marketing professionals think of email marketing as the most important strategy for small businesses long-term.
Social Media Marketing
We’ve saved the trickiest one for last. While every business can benefit from SEM and SEO, some companies may have trouble integrating social media with their businesses. Social marketing is only rewarding if people interact and engage with your brand. Some companies find success by providing their customers with breaking news and otherwise keeping in touch. Others such as food trucks have found success by letting their customers know where they’ll be on a given day and what specials or new additions to their menus they have.
While not exactly a social media marketing tip, the name of your business, as well as, your domain are important. If you have a catchy name or url, it will help you stand out more on social media.
The five areas of digital marketing we’ve covered today must be considered. To get started, first formulate a plan and use it in tandem with your other marketing efforts. (Some areas will be more effective and important than others, depending on your business and its needs.)
If these digital marketing ideas seem overwhelming and you want to outsource, you’re in luck. There are many companies that provide all of those services. The good ones will work with you to determine your needs, develop the most effective strategies within your budget and execute them ensuring a great return on investment and sales.
Sarah Saker is a business coach and freelance writer that specializes in helping SMBs setup processes for customer support and predictable growth. When not writing or coaching, Sarah can be found on her (small but growing!) family farm. Connect with Sarah on about.me for coaching or writing help.