Nowadays, proficiency with online marketing is often what sets thriving SMBs apart from those that struggle. Simply put, the marketing landscape has changed and small businesses need to change with it. Here are 10 simple steps you can take to help market your small business online.
Establish a Web Presence
For even the smallest of businesses; a dedicated website is a must. Start out with a basic WordPress installation that you can build in a modular fashion. If necessary, hire an experienced web developer to make it look as professional as possible.
Use SEO to Improve Search Rankings
Ensuring that Google and Bing know that your site is relevant to the keywords you would like to be found for is critical if you want to attract new customers via organic search. Search Engine Optimization techniques like niche keyword targeting will help to make this happen.
Use Content to Promote Yourself
High-quality content in the form of blog posts, tutorials and how-to guides serve two key functions. First, it establishes your business as an authority in your field. Second, it raises the profile of your brand online. Over time, your content marketing efforts will inevitably result in greater sales.
Invest In Social Media
Even though a healthy amount of organic content marketing is one of the keys to success, you can give those efforts a lift using social media. Sign up for accounts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn and promote your content.
Network with Consumers & Businesses
While you’re using social media to promote content, you can simultaneously use it to attract customers in a variety of ways. Whether you’re pursuing run-of-the-mill consumers or other businesses, social media networking is a good way to get your foot in the door. Make friends, follow influential personalities and interact with them.
Use a Bit of Paid Promotion
Though the steady grassroots approach is one that you’ll want to embrace, you can kick things up a notch with paid promotion. Pay Per Click programs like Google’s AdWords as well as Twitter’s Promoted Tweets are good places to start.
Tie It All Together
By the time your online promotional strategy has reached full maturity, it should include e-mail marketing, PPC, blogging, social media and more. As you’re building out your overall marketing network, be sure to link all of your promotional methods together. For instance, you can promote your social media accounts within your e-mail newsletters and vice versa.
Gather Intelligence as You Go
No marketing effort on the web exists in a bubble. To avoid wasting time and money on methods that aren’t fruitful, it’s necessary to track campaigns and accumulate feedback. Using free tools like Google Analytics, you can quickly identify what’s working and what is not.
Analytics & Review-Based Optimization
The feedback you get from analytics as well as consumer and peer reviews via Google+, Yelp, and other review sites, can help you to shape your future marketing tactics. Use this valuable data to modify or completely remodel your strategy as needed.
Be Willing to Experiment
Every few years, it seems like a brand new marketing fad takes the web by storm. While you should focus on your core competencies like content and networking via social media, it never hurts to try a new technology from time to time. After all, you never know what will turn out to be a worthwhile marketing pursuit in the end.
A Comprehensive Strategy
Regardless of the commercial niche within which your small business operates, you’ll find the path to success far easier with a well-planned online marketing strategy. From consumer discovery to product promotion to B2B networking, an integrated web marketing game plan can improve your business at every level.
Steve Peron is the co-founder of ElevatedSearch.com, a boutique SEO company located in San Diego, California. Steve has over 7 years of experience in the SEO industry and loves sharing his knowledge with others! Stay connected with Steve at LinkedIn.
Image courtesy Les Chatfield