Small Business Smarts: Level the Playing Field Using Online Marketing
Online marketing is almost essential for many businesses these days, and especially small businesses. It is popular because it is relatively inexpensive compared to other traditional marketing techniques, and there is a good chance of a strong return on investment. With just a small investment needed, and with the potential for excellent results, online marketing can really help to level the playing field.
But where should you start? There are a number of techniques you could experiment with, and here are some of the most popular.
Search engine optimisation is all about improving your visibility in the search engines. When people search for a product or service, many of them will start in the search engines, and you want to ensure you can be found.
It involves building links from authority websites and social media platforms, creating content that gets shared and increases your authority, and working on local SEO to target local searchers (for example, by creating a platform on Google My Business).
You can do a lot of SEO yourself, but you could also hire an experienced SEO and design service like Seven Reasons Media to get faster results and avoid making beginner mistakes.
Pay-per-click advertising is the way that Google makes a lot of its money. This is where you launch ads that appear when people search for keywords in the search engines. The sponsored ads then appear in search engines, and you pay when search users click on your ads.
The advantage is that you can get your website onto the first page of the search engines immediately, and you can then send targeted traffic to an optimised landing page where you can either gather leads or sell your product or service.
Social Media Marketing
Everyone is talking about social media, and there is every reason to have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. No matter how small your business, you will be able to connect with people on social.
Find out where your audience is present and then join in with the conversations, share valuable content, and answer questions. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, and remember that it is not about selling directly, but rather about building trust and authority.
Guest blogging comes under both content marketing and SEO, but it is an effective strategy in its own right. Create content for a leading website or blog in your industry, and when they publish your content, you get exposure and visibility, and it can also help boost your reputation. You also get to build links, and over time you can send more traffic back to your website directly from your guest posts.
Build an Email List
An email list is one of your most essential assets for online marketing, but you have to build your list yourself. Create a landing page and offer your visitors something useful in return for their email address, such as a new ebook you have published, a special offer, or an invitation to a webinar. Once you have got them onto your list, send them valuable content that they want to read.
You could send them details of special offers, and you can direct them back to new landing pages for other products and services. The people who open and read your emails are highly engaged, and you can take advantage of this to increase your revenue.
Other Techniques You Could Try
The above techniques are just scratching the surface, but there are many more you could try. You may want to experiment with retargeting, for example. This is still relatively new, but it can prove to be very effective.
This works by loading cookies onto the web browsers of visitors to your site, and when they visit another website in the same ad network, your ads will show up. You could use this to tempt them back with a special offer, and your ads are more likely to catch their eye because they have already been to your site. You can also retarget them on social media sites.
Or you could try native advertising. These are the ads that you see on news websites that often come under a title like ‘Sponsored Content’, and they are essentially ads disguised as content. Use an interesting headline to capture the interest of the web user, and you then pay when they click on your link and read your content, which they will hopefully engage with.
Experiment with Online Marketing
Online marketing is the way forward for many smaller businesses that can see the benefits it has. You don’t need to pay lots of money for expensive ads in print publications or on TV (although of course you can still use such techniques). These days, you can experiment with various forms of online marketing either on your own or with the help of an established marketing agency.
As long as you put in the time and effort to create compelling content that resonates with your audience, you really can level the playing field and see results come in fast.
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