How to promote your business onlineSmall Business Advice 5 January 2018
Web marketing isn’t a maybe, it’s a must. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local business or a worldwide conglomerate, keeping people interested is key to success – and there are billions of potential customers waiting for you online. So how can you get the proverbial word out there?
- Create a website
The internet is a big place, so it’s important to stand out if you want to take payments online or simply be found. A busy and cluttered website can be overwhelming for customers and lead to a high bounce rate. However, a clean, simple design makes browsing easy – perfect for customer retention. And, of course, you’ll also pay less for a smaller website with fewer pages.
- Write blogs
You don’t need to be Hemingway, but you’ll need persistence. While cranking out articles consistently is no simple task, the rewards are worthwhile. Displaying in-depth knowledge of your subject or industry can be the hook you need to engage with your audience. The best topics to write about are customers pain points and potential questions they have about your products or services. Once your content is ready and uploaded on your website, don’t forget to share it on social media. You can even try collaborating with more popular bloggers who have a big following.
- Use email marketing
We don’t mean spam your customers – that’s how you lose trust. Develop a relationship by creating well-thought-out email content that truly benefits your customers and prospects (like newsletters, blogs, offers and updates). Not only does this build brand loyalty, it drives valuable traffic to your website. Try signing up customers if you come face-to-face with them with a small incentive like an offer. Liaise with nearby business owners and see if you can create joined offers across your mailing lists.
- Work on SEO
In case you don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This involves getting people to visit your website from the results displayed on search engines (like Google and Yahoo!). By creating excellent content that includes locally searched keywords, you can climb those rankings and display in a prominent position. Perhaps you can ask similar businesses or websites to link to you.
- Build a social media presence
Where do your customers hang out the most on social media? Find out and create profiles on the relevant networks – this might be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. You should share useful personalised content that speaks directly to your customer. Experiment and refine your strategic approach, the most effective way to attract customers through social media is paid promotion (which doesn’t cost much).
- Use paid advertising
Most customers rely on the internet to find, compare and buy products so it’s important that your business is easy to find. Place ads on search engines, websites and social media to increase your discoverability. And with pay-per-click and paid search, you only pay a fee when your ad is clicked. Why not try utilising the big social following of local magazines?
- Run an online survey
Surveys help you better understand your customers’ needs. Think about what you want to find out. Do you have burning questions around your business, product or service? An online survey can reveal your customer’s true opinions, so while some answers may seem harsh they can prove invaluable in time.
- Offer free stuff
This might sound obvious, but studies suggest customers are more likely accept something for free rather than pay a nominal price for it. By securing the customer’s contact details (perhaps through a short online form) during this giveaway, you have a chance to upsell those customers to your paid products or services. Think about how much you’ll truly gain.
- Create a branded email signature
Give your emails that professional look. Insert a branded email signature with social media links, company blogs and articles, as well as potential accolades the business may have received. This is a passive yet effective way to promote your business as well as providing validation to people you’re in contact with every day.
- Use other channels to sell products
Boost the visibility of your products by selling on platforms like Amazon or eBay. These sites already have huge audiences, so by positioning your product correctly, you could tap into a whole new pool of customers. Basically, you can increase sales from a high traffic channel. According to an Amazon executive, sellers report an average 50% increase in sales when they join Amazon Marketplace.
- Keep an eye on the competition
This might seem somewhat sneaky, but monitoring competitors online is crucial to building a strong online presence. Subscribe to their newsletters, follow their social media activity, and use Google Alerts – what kind of campaigns and offers are they running? Also, take note of how they communicate with their customers.
If you want to learn more about promoting your business online, read our beginner’s guide to digital marketing for small businesses.