Online marketing can serve as a powerful tool for a small business owner. While all businesses are different, expanding and amplifying awareness about your company through online marketing can be a great way to promote your products and services, acquire leads, and ultimately grow your business.
Compared to traditional marketing, online marketing may be an easier and more efficient way to share your key message with customers, reach a wider audience, and track and analyze business results.
Overall, online marketing is an essential component of your small business strategy because it helps you stand out from the completion while delivering your value proposition to prospective customers.
Getting started with online marketing as a small business owner
Whether you are a new small business owner or an entrepreneur seeking to further build your company, taking the time to refresh or reevaluate your online marketing initiatives can help bring clarity, direction, and focus to your business.
Here are three key steps to help your small business get started:
- Create a plan – When creating your online marketing plan, your first priority should be to determine goals, followed by the channels you will use to achieve them. Is your small business working to increase sales, build awareness, or both? What communication channels will you use to spread your message? By identifying the purpose and platforms of your marketing strategy, you can concentrate on what matters most while creating a playbook that you can refer back to.
- Understand your audience – After deciding on the marketing methods that you will use to achieve the goals of your small business, you should make sure that your online marketing will capture the attention of your customers. How will your message appeal to the needs of your target audience? One way to accomplish this can be creating “personas,” or hypothetical profiles of different types of customers that your product or service is directed toward.
- Track and analyze results – To better determine the return on investment (ROI) of your online marketing, you need a way to observe the impact of your efforts. Keep track of your data (such as new leads, sales, website visits, or social shares resulting from an online marketing campaign) through digital analytics tools. Being able to easily access and analyze results in real time can help your small business decide which strategies are successful and which need refining.
Once you have identified your objectives, be sure to have a sound budget as well as a content calendar that outlines the implementation schedule of your online marketing initiatives. At this point, you can now decide which types of online marketing will best serve the needs of your small business.
What are the major types of online marketing?
Online marketing comes in many forms, each with their own advantages for a small business.
- Content Marketing – Content marketing is a method of creating relevant, valuable, and engaging information related to your product or service for the benefit of your customers. The most common form of content marketing is publishing articles on a blog, website, or through a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. These short-form or long-form content pieces provide opportunities for your small business to demonstrate credibility and expertise.
- Email Marketing – With email marketing, your small business can reach out directly to your customers. Your company can share exciting updates, promote sales and offers, or highlight new features for your product or service. A typical way to set up email marketing is to create email newsletters that you can send to current and previous clients, or encourage visitors to your website to subscribe to them. Many email services also include useful built-in analytics tools.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – One major goal of SEO is make your website more accessible and visible to your customers by working to make your webpage more likely to appear in search engine results. SEO best practices include using targeted keywords on your website and acquiring backlinks from other websites. SEO can be especially valuable since it may help your small business find customers without having to pay for additional advertisements.
- Social Media Marketing – Having a strong social media presence can allow your small business to build an online community of followers, fans, and supporters that contributes to long-term loyalty for your company. Social media pages enable small businesses to receive feedback in the form of comments and reviews while engaging with their customers on a more personal level. Cultivating an online following can help you stay on the pulse of trends and audience interests.
Ultimately, by developing greater familiarity with online marketing, your small business can better communicate the strengths, advantages, and benefits of your product or service in a way that may help drive sales and contribute to greater brand recognition for your company.