For your business to thrive, you need to constantly bring in new customers and clients. While cold-calling and traditional advertising both have their benefits, we now live in an online world – when people want something done, their first stop isn’t the Yellow Pages, it’s Google. If your small business marketing plan is going to succeed, you need to have a strong online marketing presence.
Naturally, you’re worried about both the expense and the time commitment. While 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-efficient way. In fact, you can take a lot of the following steps for free! Here are the online essentials your business needs to thrive in the 21st century:
1. A Great Website
You want your website to be elegant and responsive. It must contain all of the relevant information about your company, including who you are, what services you provide, your location, and your contact information. You don’t need to have a bunch of fancy graphics – just focus on presenting the key information in a simple and easy to navigate manner. You can use our new WordPress website builder BoldGrid to build out your new website fast.
Bonus Step: Set up a page on your website to advertise special deals to reward customers and clients who frequently visit. If you haven’t secured web hosting yet, please check out this informative 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 big two: Facebook and Twitter (though you should consider Instagram if your business is focused on anything related to aesthetics). You’ll need to set up a free profile that contains the basic information about your business, including contact information. Use your logo as a profile picture to increase brand recognition. You don’t need to post everyday, though it does help increase brand awareness.
Bonus Step: Assign someone to post brief updates to your Facebook and Twitter accounts on a regular basis.
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 put emphasis on establishing a profile on third party review sites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Double-check to ensure your contact information and website address is correct, then take a look at the reviews and see what people are saying.
Bonus Step: Monitor these sites for bad reviews. When you see a bad review, immediately take steps to correct whatever problem the customer had.
4. Schedule Regular Updates
Once you’ve set up your website and social media profiles, you should begin scheduling regular updates. You want to ensure that the information customers find online is always accurate – particularly your business’s contact information and your address. Once a month have someone browse through your website and all of your profiles, fact checking everything – even if you don’t think anything has changed. Something as simple as changing your closing time from 8:00PM to 7:00PM is easy to overlook – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find an angry review from a customer who expected your store to be open at 7:30PM.
Bonus Step: Schedule regular updates for your blog and social media profiles. These updates can include information on how your business is changing so your clients and customers can be the first to know.
5. Provide Easy Contact Options
The goal of a small business marketing plan is connection – you need to find the people that are interested in your product or service, and connect with them. Remember, many people will opt for the easiest solution presented. If they’re comparing your business to a rival business, and you need the customer to phone while the other business has an easily available contact form – your business is going to lose. This is true of social media as well – when someone tweets at your business, or comments on your Facebook page, you need to have someone ready to respond. Make things as easy as possible for your customers.
Bonus Step: Add a live chat feature to your website, providing your customers with instant access to your business.
While the above steps will take care of the bare minimum of online marketing requirements, you can take things further. If you want to push your small business marketing efforts to the limit and reap the maximum rewards, here are a few 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 a way of producing content and editing your website’s metadata to ensure you rank as highly as possible in various search engines. A well done SEO campaign can ensure your business is the first one people see when they search the Internet.
Release Unique Content
Content is king – and it’s what keeps people coming back to your website. By scheduling and releasing regular content, whether it’s Facebook page updates, tweets, or blog posts, you increase both brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Talk to people on Twitter and Facebook. Start discussions. Post interesting articles. Make your business’s social media profile a place that people want to check. The bigger your audience, the more reputable your business appears.
Escalate Your Marketing
The biggest advantage of an online marketing campaign is that it’s easy to escalate. For example, if you notice one of your Facebook ads is getting a lot of attention, you can increase the audience size overnight by adding more money to the marketing budget. Scale your online marketing efforts with the effectiveness of each campaign.
Your Business Online
Today, more people use the Internet than ever before. Your online presence is the equivalent of your physical storefront. Improve your business’s visibility by putting forth a strong online effort, and watch your business grow to new heights. Here at InMotion Hosting, it is our goal to get you looking your best online. Feel free to contact support via phone, chat or email 24/7 for any questions you may have.