Marketing for small businesses is difficult. Knowing what to do or where to start can be overwhelming and confusing. What works for one business may not work for another. What you as a business owner have to do is find out what works for your business. There are different types of marketing strategies when it comes to internet marketing, but these five tips should help you to see success no matter which tool or platform you use.
- Begin with the End in Mind. Establish Goals
As with most things in life you should begin with the end in mind. When it comes to internet marketing you should set a goal for what you want to get out of it. Is it more customers? Is it more traffic to your website? Is it more awareness about your product? Is it all of the above?
The key to successful internet marketing is to establish smaller goals to help get to that big goal you ultimately want to get to. At first you should set reasonable and attainable goals like “gain another lead per week” or something along those lines. Whatever your main reason is for doing internet marketing, make sure you add structure to it with goals
- Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
With so much content for people to read out there and so many options to choose from it is important to establish yourself as authority on what your business provides. You want people to come to your site because they believe you have the best information or the best knowledge of whatever their problems are, you want your customers to think of you as a thought leader or an expert. You can achieve this by constantly posting content on your business blog that is helpful and informative for your customers.
- Make Sure Your Website is Optimized
Just having a website that you haven’t touched for awhile isn’t good enough nowadays. You can’t neglect your website. You have to treat your website kind of like your car, and constantly check on it if you want it to drive smoothly. Therefore, you need to optimize your site. You want to make sure that your site can be found easily online with good SEO.
- Aim to Drive Traffic to Your Website
Now that you have an SEO optimized website, you have to figure out all the other different ways to bring people to it. There are tons of different options and platforms you can use to drive traffic to your website.
- Pace Yourself
Between email marketing, social media, video marketing and all of the other digital channels out there its easy to get lost. When it comes to internet marketing, it’s important not to drink through a fire hose. Start off with a few strategies so that you don’t get overwhelmed. As you get the hang of things, you can add on new strategies.
To get the most out of internet marketing, make sure that you’re not just using multiple channels, but also that you’re integrating these channels into one coherent system. Promote your content across multiple channels, spread the word about your email list on social media, and put your social media handles into your marketing emails. You can also integrate some of your offline marketing techniques with internet marketing strategies.
- Stay Up on Internet Marketing Best Practices
You’ve heard about best practices, but what does it mean exactly? It refers to the good (“white hat”) tactics you should be using to get your business found online. Using “black hat” practices can result in penalties from Google, Facebook, and spam filters. Here are some important best practices for the main channels of internet marketing:
SEO: Use keywords (but do not keyword stuff!) and write descriptive, unique content on your website and blog posts.
Website: make it easy to navigate and mobile friendly, and include clear calls-to-action (CTAs)
Facebook: use the 80/20 rule when posting (80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional content).
Email: avoid “spammy” words like “FREE” in your subject line and include an “unsubscribe” option for your recipients.
There are many angles and opinions to take into consideration when working on your digital marketing campaigns, but best practices serve as a crucial guideline and professional barometer by which to measure your standards.
- Give Your Audience Content They Want
A big part of your internet marketing strategy should be providing your audience with helpful content. It’s important for your potential customers to think of you as a resource to them. Providing potential buyers with content they can use is a great way to become their trusted advisor. Here are four genres of content to publish for your audience:
Educational – Want to become that trusted advisor to your customer? Educate them! A great way to do this is to post tips about your industry. If you’re a catering business maybe you could post a “Best Foods to Serve at a Graduation Party,” or a Crossfit Center can post “15 Minute Workouts for Professionals”.
Inspirational – Inspire your customers with a story or a great article you found. Or maybe a quote that you live by. Whatever it is, make sure it’s inspiring!
Interesting – People can consume articles, news, and blogs at a rate never before seen today. They are constantly being bombarded with advertisements and therefore its become imperative to make your content easy for customers to consume. Break up blog posts with pictures or other types of useful content. Include visuals in your social media posts. People don’t really want to read something that is just a wall of text. So remember a picture is worth a thousand words.
Promotional– Every once in awhile you want to mix in something about your own business and how it can help them. After all, you’re providing them with all this great content, so why not let them know what else they can get from you? Posting about a promotion you are doing or if you have a new class coming up gives your audience opportunities to deepen their engagement with you, and perhaps move down their path to becoming a customer.
Marketing yourself effectively can seem like a daunting task for today’s small business owner. There are so many tools and platforms to choose from that it is hard to know where to begin. The most important things to remember are to set reachable realistic goals with your strategy, provide people with helpful content, and to make sure you stick to best practices.
Written by: Kristen McCormick