In order for your business to grow, you constantly need to attract new customers and clients. While cold calling and traditional advertising both have their benefits, we now live in an online world – when people want to do something, their first stop isn’t the Yellow Pages, it’s Google. If your small business marketing plan is to succeed, you need to have a strong online marketing presence.
Naturally, you are concerned about both the cost and the time commitment. Although online marketing can be expensive if you’re not careful, meeting the minimum requirements is an absolute must if you hope to grow your business – and it can be done in a cost-effective way. In fact, you can take many of the next steps for free! Here’s what your business needs to thrive in the 21st century:
1. Great site
You want your website to be stylish and responsive. It should include all relevant information about your company, including who you are, what services you provide, your location and contact information. You don’t need a lot of fancy graphics – just focus on presenting key information in a simple and easy-to-navigate way. You can use our new WordPress website builder BoldGrid to quickly create your new website.
Bonus step: Create a page on your website to advertise special deals to reward customers and clients who visit frequently. If you do not yet have secured web hosting, please review this information InMotion Hosting Review to help you get started.
2. Social media accounts
While there are hundreds of social media platforms available, you only need to worry about the two big ones: Facebook and Twitter (although you should consider Instagram if your business is focused on all things aesthetic). You must create a free profile that contains basic information about your business, including contact information. Use your logo as a profile picture to increase brand recognition. You don’t have to post every day, but it helps build brand awareness.
Bonus step: Assign someone to regularly post short updates on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
3. Your name on third-party review sites
While your website and social media accounts will do a lot to build your reputation, many people are going to look for an unbiased source before approaching your business. That’s why every online marketing plan should emphasize building a profile on third-party review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Check to make sure your contact information and website address are correct, then check out the reviews and see what people are saying.
Bonus step: Watch these sites for bad reviews. When you see a bad review, take immediate action to correct any customer issues.
4. Schedule regular updates
Once you’ve set up your website and social media profiles, you should start scheduling regular updates. You want to ensure that the information that customers find online is always accurate – especially your business contact information and your address. Have someone look over your website and all your profiles once a month to check everything – even if you think nothing has changed. Something as simple as changing your closing time from 8pm to 7pm is easy to overlook – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find an angry review from a customer who expected your store to open at 7.30pm.
Bonus step: Schedule regular updates to your blog and social media profiles. These updates can include information about how your business is changing so that your clients and customers are the first to know.
5. Provide easy contact options
The goal of a small business marketing plan is to connect – you need to find people who are interested in your product or service and connect with them. Remember, many people will choose the simplest solution presented. If they are comparing your business to a competing business and you need the customer to call when the other business has an easily accessible contact form – your business will lose out. This also applies to social media – when someone in your business tweets or comments on your Facebook page, you need to have someone ready to respond. Make it as easy as possible for your customers.
Bonus step: Add a live chat feature to your website, giving your customers instant access to your business.
While the above steps take care of the bare minimum of online marketing requirements, you can go further. If you want to push your small business marketing efforts to the limit and reap the maximum rewards, here are some advanced things you can consider:
Search engine optimization
When someone needs a product or service and they don’t know where to find it, their first stop is usually the same: Google. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of producing content and editing your website’s metadata to ensure it ranks as high as possible on various search engines. A well-executed SEO campaign can ensure that your business is the first they see when they search the internet.
Produce unique content
Content is king – and it’s what keeps people coming back to your website. By scheduling and publishing regular content, whether it’s Facebook page updates, tweets, or blog posts, you’ll increase both brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Get involved socially
Talk to people on Twitter and Facebook. Start discussions. Publish interesting articles. Make your business social media profile a place people want to check out. The bigger your audience, the more popular your business will be.
Expand your marketing
The biggest advantage of an online marketing campaign is that it is easy to escalate. For example, if you notice that one of your Facebook ads is getting a lot of attention, you can increase the size of your audience by adding more money to your marketing budget overnight. Maximize your online marketing efforts by measuring the effectiveness of each campaign.
Your business online
More people are using the Internet today than ever before. Your online presence is the equivalent of your physical storefront. Improve your business visibility with strong online efforts and watch your business reach new heights. Here at InMotion Hosting, our goal is to make you look your best online. Feel free to contact support by phone, chat or email 24/7 with any questions.