One of the biggest challenges and most vital factors for small businesses to survive is to reach their potential customers. Traditional media channels like newspaper ads, radio advertising etc. are used but internet marketing is often left unnoticed. It’s associated with complex and time consuming activities that are also way over small businesses financial capabilities. As small businesses resources are limited they cannot afford outsourcing all services, including internet marketing.
But this doesn’t mean that internet marketing must be a buried concept for you. Vice versa, internet offers excellent opportunities for small businesses to reach the target audience with small costs. When you know tips and tricks how to run your online business, it’s easy to stay ahead of your competitors. Those who are proficient in this art take the lion’s share of the golden pot. Other providers keep wondering, where are their clients if there is enough demand.
There are a lot that you can do by yourself without professional help. All you need is a time resource and enough enthusiasm. In this post we’ll cover 5 activities that you can do with minimal resources to be visible online.
1. Website on Open Source Platform
The probability that every small business owner can build a professional website on their own is almost non-existence. It requires technical knowledge with more than the ability to write few pieces of code. A website is not something that you should be saving money on if you wish to be successful online.
But what you can do is to choose a website company that builds the website on a free resource platform that is easier to manage and you have no binding contract with one service provider.
Click Here to Get Started with your website
2. Free Local Listings
Now, when you have a website all you need to do is sit and wait when visitors start to flow on your website and start buying. Just joking.
Cruel jokes, but the fact is that a website alone doesn’t work. Only when website is live and few visitors stray on your website that results in non-existent sales, you get hit by a reality – you need to market your website.
The easiest way to start is to sing up your website on local listings that will improve your local visibility. Even more important is to list your company on Foursquare and Google+, formerly known as Google Places to leave your mark on the map.
3. Website optimization i.e. SEO
Small business marketing cannot get over with SEO. Google rules the web and if you’re not in Google, you don’t exist. If you want more traffic on your website and make more sales, you need to be on top of Google search results.
Website optimization may seem like a rocket science for newbies. What keywords, what anchors, what meta data? It’s true, that there are lot of website optimization tactics that non-specialized person cannot do. But it doesn’t mean that you have to wipe Google out of your mind.
There are several activities that you can manage yourself without professional help:
Keywords – Keyword search starts with thinking about your business. Who are your clients and how do they search your products/services online? Start with your gut feeling and type the words that come to your mind to Google Keyword Tool. This tool shows you search volumes related to the keywords and you can get additional suggestions. Now go to Google Search and look for the results that appear with the keywords. If you find your competitors from the listing you are on the right track. Learn more about choosing keywords from our previous post SEO lesson: how to choose keywords?
Website content – Optimize your website content according to chosen keywords. It means that you link each product/service page with relevant keywords and use them in body text, headings, links etc. In addition, when optimizing content it’s easy to overoptimize which makes the text unnatural. So remember to write for humans first, search engines second. Read more, how to write website copy that sells.
Internal linking – Internal linking means referring from one content page to another using relevant keywords (anchors). Internal linking improves both user experience and SEO. As you already know how to manage your CMS, making small changes and adding some internal links shouldn’t be a problem.
More complicated tasks leave to specialist. Like changing URL address into more user friendly form. When making this change without background knowledge you can break the link and the SEO value that the link had goes lost. Know your competence and do nothing more.
4. Online Reputation
Small businesses rely a lot on trust. To increase the trust factor an effective approach is educating prospects:
Blog – Blogging is no fad but a working internet marketing tool. Every small business owner can handle blogging. Write on topics that are relevant and important in your field. Running a blog shows your dedication to your business and your expertise. In addition, educating prospects about your product/service helps to convince the importance of what you do and prepare customers for sale. More info about content marketing.
Social media – Use social media to spread the word about the content you created and share interesting news about your business field. Avoid self-advertising and use your social media account to create a must follow channel for industry enthusiasts. Have an active communication with fans and solve customers’ problems. As you are already very busy with managing all the internet marketing you need to make your social presence as effective as possible. So instead on hanging all day on Facebook use marketing automatization – like HootSuite free software.
Articles – It’s said that article marketing is dead, but not in every way. Of course, posting articles on random article submission sites is a waste of resources. Instead, think about writing quality content for sources related to your business, like most popular news sites. This helps to generate quality links for SEO and create online reputation i.e. you show your expert knowledge.
5. Monitoring Results
How to make conclusions whether the countless hours you’ve spent on internet marketing are worth the effort? Use analytics. Free analytics program Google Anaytics is a helping hand for every small business owner. The program is difficult to use for new users and making objective conclusions can be time consuming and complicated task. But don’t worry, we have a basic Google Analytics course available on our blog: How to measure the effectiveness of your website with Google Analytics? and 7 tips to use Google Analytics more effectively.
After getting the results right you need to deal with the data. You need to make changes on your website and marketing plan to improve where you are running short. This means another round of data analysis. This is an inevitable phenomenon in online environment as the Internet is constantly developing and to keep up the web you need to improve your website as well. So a website is a project that is never finished – there is always something to improve.
Online marketing is no rocket science that is out of reach for small businesses with small budgets. There are various activities that can be done without professional help. But that requires time and dedication to learn the tricks and tips and to manage your online presence, Don’t Worry we Got You Cover, Click Here to Request a Quote and shoot you business above your competition