Small businesses often struggle online. They no longer have only one or two market competitors; they are now in competition against every single similar business in the world, or so it seems. Even worse, they are no longer just competing for business, but struggling for higher visibility amongst the potential customers. The main focus is awareness of their presence and their brand in the minds of the global audience.
Here are nine marketing tips that will help your company stand out online and get recognized.
The Alpha and Omega
Your website is your alpha and omega, your beginning and end and everything in between. When you walk into a company/ shop in the real world, you subconsciously judge it on everything. Are there a lot of cigarette butts outside the front door? Is the décor new and fresh? Does the staff look clean, presentable and happy? These judgments aren’t arbitrary. A company with old décor, and paint peeling off the walls, clearly hasn’t had any money to make it look neat. So obviously this business isn’t doing well. There’s probably a reason they aren’t doing well. Maybe it would be better if you could find another company to do the service you need.
Your website is your front door, and your reception. It’s your décor and your staff, and even your rest rooms. It is the only part of your business that your customers will see. All of their snap judgments are based on your website design.
Having a professional design for your website will be some of the best dollars you have spent on your business, and this shouldn’t be a one–off cost. Things age quickly online, and you certainly don’t want to go years without having your website updated.
Have a Blog
Blogging is one of the least understood and most atrociously used marketing tools for small businesses. Meta keywords are banded around without being fully understood. Search engine algorithms are updated several times a dayand Search engine’s crawlers don’t just look for the most related word, but they look for the most recently updated words, too. Yet you could conceivably have your website up for several months without changing anything on it. However, if you blog two or three times a week, you can include search engine optimization terms in your blog posts to ensure your website is always updated..
Watch Your Language
Not to say you shouldn’t swear… if swearing fits your company image, then go for it. The website for the BrewDog Brewery has quite a bit of swearing in it, but it suits the apocalyptic punk image of the company. In short, make sure your language fits your company. There are far too many sites online where the company has a modern, catchy title, the logo is fresh and new, and the copy reads like something out of a Victorian novel; which doesn’t fit at all. Decide on a style for your business and stick to it through all your materials.
Social media marketing is pretty big, and again pretty badly used. Social media is not about how many followers you have or how quickly you can build that number up. Social media is simply about building relationships. But before you build your relationships, you have to build your social media. People aren’t going to like your page if there is nothing on your page to like. So put up content before people start checking your social media page.
Once people do start liking your site, engage with them. Don’t just use your page to blurt out your news, and don’t just constantly tweet links to your products. That will only annoy people and cause them to unlike, un-friend and stop following you.
Company websites without contact details arouse suspicions. Have a contact page on your site, and a call to action on the footer of every page. Be easy for your clients to reach, and they will see you as being more open and honest.
If your company has an online community, you should be an active member of the forums of that community. This really depends on what your company is, but most entrepreneurs start a business because they already loved whatever their business is about. If you can, you should surely find other people online who also love it, and geek out with them. Again, this is not about promoting your products. But, on one hand, you could spend a lot of money targeting 10,000 people with ads and get one customer, or you could spend a few hours chatting with 250 people who love everything about whatever you do, and ultimately get 150 customers.
There’s an App for That
Mobile internet is growing steadily. There is a whole generation of people who use mobile internet far more often than laptops or PCs. You need to have a site that works as well on mobile phones as it does on PCs. If it suits your company, you should even have someone design an app for you.
There could be a dozen companies similar to yours competing for business, but how many of those companies have an indispensable App permanently on the screen of his smart phone? If done right, this could be the most successful marketing strategy you have.
Be Careful with Your Reputation
Yes, you want your business well known. Yes, you want people to talk about you online. But, you don’t want them saying how annoying your attempt at marketing is. You can set up a Google alert to email you when your company is mentioned online. This lets you keep an eye on what people are saying about your business. If you consistently keep reading about how heavy handed your marketing approach is, then it certainly is time to use something softer.
Where There is One, There are More
If you don’t already have Google analytics on your site, get it set up now. Google analytics lets you see not only how much traffic your page has, but what your bounce rate is (people who hit your website then leave within ten seconds). A high bounce rate means something is wrong, either with the search terms people use to find you, or on the page they land on. Even better, analytics tells you how the people who found your website did so. Did they put the address straight into a search engine, or click on a link, or did a general search lead them to you? It even lets you know what phrases people search for when they come across your site. This is a fantastic way to work out your SEO terms if you don’t already know them.
Follow these nine tips and your small business will stand as a giant amongst its contemporaries. In today’s market, you shouldn’t aim for being good at what you do; you should aim for being the best at what you do. It’s what everyone else is aiming for.