I bet you aren’t aware of the statistic that almost two-thirds of small business owners are responsible for at least three of the following areas in their business: finance, operations, marketing, sales, customer service, human resources, IT, and product development. When business owners are spread too thinly, even if they are really experienced, they can find that their efforts in all areas suffer to some extent. Maybe this is the reason why many businesses make mistakes with their marketing strategy. This is a common reason why many small businesses do not succeed.
Why promote your business online?
These days, everything is online. Promoting a business online is part and parcel of being a business owner in 2019. It’s also an important part of marketing a business, especially a start-up. Many ways of promoting business online are low-cost or even free. There are others, of course, that do have larger costs. Online promotion is crucial for marketing because it is there no matter the time of the day or day of the week.
Your Business Website
Firstly, in 2019 your business website should be a starting point for all of your marketing. This will allow customers to locate information about your business and buy your services or products 24/7. Creating a website doesn’t need to be complex or costly. Some providers are free, although there are often limited options.
The content is probably the thing that matters most on your business website. Creating a website with good content can make site visitors into clients, do wonders for your business image, as well as increase how visible your page is on search engines. This, in turn, will enhance supplier, customer and public relations. Want to find out more about how you can work your website to your marketing advantage? Later I will tell you all about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). First, though, you can’t create a website until some basics about your business have been established.
I mentioned above about your business’s objective. It is impossible to proceed with marketing unless you are clear about your business’s goals and how you will define and measure its success. Take some time to work these out. Your marketing strategy will then naturally evolve from there. Know what it is that you want to achieve? Let’s (re)consider your brand.
Building A Smart Brand for your Business
You need to build your brand in a strong way. Being a strong contender for business allows customers to identify you and your business, helping you to stand out from your competitors. As I suggested above, to get into the spotlight, you need to focus on your digital marketing first and foremost. It’s no good creating a website if you don’t have a business brand identity. Today, business isn’t reliant on word-of-mouth, at least not in the traditional sense. Customers will pore over every inch of your online presence and every single interaction they have will shape their experience of your brand.
This is why it is essential to provide consistent branding across all platforms that you use, including your website as well as any social media outlets (we’ll get to that a little later). Let’s have a look at some simple branding techniques to give your marketing a boost.
- Work out how you are different from the competition
- Once you have worked this out, summarize it in a couple of sentences. This will become the basis of your unique branding.
- Be consistent in your messaging.
- Ensure that your brand has ‘a voice.’ This will help you to form relationships with customers.
- Have a visual identity that is strong
- Brands that are consistent are the strongest. Every touch point of your brand whether on your website or social media accounts should be clearly tied together. This includes your logo, any tagline, the colors and images you use as well as the overall feel of your pages.
- Know your audience
- You need to work out your unique path into your audience. Try to understand your customers and what they are looking for and how your brand can fit their needs. Once you have worked this out, you will have a clearer understanding of how to reach your customers. Social media pages such as Twitter have targeting features that let you target customers based on your audience knowledge such as their online activity and interests.
- Find the right channels
- It is no good just having a Twitter account for marketing if most of your target audience doesn’t use it. You need to be creative. Ask your audience questions or run competitions to keep customers engaged. Sharing content that is good quality and taking the time to discuss it with your customers shows that you care. If you engage, you become more memorable as a brand.
Standing out from the crowd and pleasing potential customers turn prospective customers into actual ones. The strong brand identity is the key that underpins all of this. Be strong in your brand and this will help you to reach your business goals.
Search Engine Optimization and SEO Hacks
Have you heard of SEO? A good website for any brand needs optimal Search Engine Optimization. This will improve your website’s rankings on search engines such as Google when keywords are searched. These keywords should be related to your products and services, making what you offer easy to find. There are many different SEO techniques, but it is impossible to progress further unless your website is well-designed and structured. Once you think you’re ready, there are many SEO tools online that can assess how well you’ve met your objective and allow you to tweak your content to ensure it is optimized to its full potential. This is the prime way that many businesses strategize their marketing in the first instance. Let’s have a look at some SEO Hacks for 2019.
- Analyze the Competition
Does it seem a little bold to check out the competition? Successful businesses are bold businesses! Finding out what is working for others can help you to succeed to the top of the Google rankings. Focus on a business’s homepage and its product pages. See if they use any meta-descriptions (those descriptions that pop up under the web page name on Google) and any heading structures (H1-H6). Are there any images, buttons or internal links?
By looking at a competitor site, you can see how your site differs in terms of its SEO. You will be able to create a list of things that you could use to boost your own site’s potential. You will also be able to see what your competitors are not doing.
- Do some Keyword Research
Keywords are an extremely important part of any company’s SEO strategy. If you Google it, you will be able to find many free tools to help you compile a list of keywords that are similar to your brand. The tools can provide you with metrics like the search volume of a word, the price-per-click (PPC) and many more. Once you have your data, you can implement your knowledge to make your website much more SEO-friendly in terms of its keywords.
- Test your site’s speed
The algorithms on Google use a website’s speed as a factor in how it ranks them. As a result, if your site speed is slow, it won’t rank it as highly. Do an audit on how long your page takes to load. If your customers find they’re waiting too long, they might just jump to a competitor page.
- Your Website’s SEO
You’ve done your research, now it’s time to implement what you have found:
- Include your keywords in your meta description, title and H1 heading
- Include keywords in the content several times
- Include internal hyperlinks
- Include good-quality images that are titled with keywords in the file name
- Include buttons
With all these hacks, you should be able to boost your website’s ranking on search engines, which will also be a great marketing boost.
Using Price-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Using PPC ads is an economical way of driving more traffic to your website. As its title suggests, the business only pays the ad published when it is clicked. The prices of these types of ad are by bidding, which allows you to be flexible on how much you want to spend. PPC lets you reach and target your audiences. Your website will appear on a search engine or other website when a keyword has been searched. They usually appear alongside, above or below the web page’s content. PPC ads can be used to reach more people, develop awareness of the brand as well as converting people into buyers.
The Power of Social Media
Anyone who’s anyone today has heard social media. Love it or loathe it, if you leave it to one side then you are certainly not going to reach your business marketing goals in 2019.
Social media can help you to distribute and promote your business content as well as get your brand well-known. Social media generates traffic to your websites and can help you to create a brand community. Your business can then reach and even engage with even more people. What is more, social networks are free to use!
I remember when someone used the word “blog” to me for the first time. Indeed, it was only around 15 years ago! These days, blogging has become somewhat of a phenomenon. But what has blogging got to do with marketing your business more effectively?
Blogs have been used by many companies recently due to the SEO benefits. Blogs can work as an equalizer between smaller and larger businesses that are in competition. They can help businesses show up higher in the search engine rankings on a huge range of topics that they would not have otherwise been able to.
A blog that is updated frequently is the most effective in bringing in traffic. Each post should have a purpose, whether that is to inform, educate or entertain whilst letting readers become aware of the products and services that your business offers in a subtle way. Blog posts should not be an overt advert. They need to be valuable for your target audience too.
Get More Local Customers
As everything is online these days and little is passed on from actual word-of-mouth, your online presence needs to be targeted to your local customers too. To go about this, you need to be active in your local online community. You could blog about your business in your area, post on social media groups for your local community or run locally-based competitions. Getting more local customers will attract those from further afield too as your customers may share their experiences of your company online. In addition, using carefully thought-out hashtags can help you get more local custom. Do some research on what other local businesses use as hashtags and jump on the bandwagon!
Google My Business (GMB)
Wait, did you know that I got an actual phone book pushed through my door the other day? I didn’t think they still existed! Suffice to say it was a lot smaller than the chunky yellow tomes that used to be too big to fit and had to be placed next to the door. This used to be the go-to place to find all business information. These days, everyone uses Google. So, you need to make sure that what appears on Google is what you want to appear!
What do your customers currently see if they Google your business? Can they quickly find your website or phone number? What about parking or other facilities nearby? This information needs to be out there for customers to see long before they click the link to your website.
But, how is this possible? By using GMB! This lists all your business’s information: your opening hours, websites, reviews, posts, address, phone number… and much more besides. All this information might be found on your website, GMB indexes it all to provide consistency across its platforms such as Google Maps and Google+.
Set and Meet your Customers’ Expectations
We are almost at the end of our post. But before I go, I need to stress how important it is that you meet the expectations of your customers. You need to decide what these will be long before you start out. Online marketing works in two directions. A failure to meet your customer expectations could mean bad reviews, sharing on social media and ultimately a reduction in your business. Most people tend to share the negative, unfortunately. So, it would only take one negative review to really tarnish your reputation.
Wrapping it up
What does this all mean for you? I realize that there is a lot of information there on marketing your business online more effectively, but by following my tips a step a time, you will soon see an improvement in your website traffic and, as a result, your business success. I’ll leave you with a few clear take-aways:
- Know your business
- Know your audience
- Know their expectations
With those three little pointers, you’re sure to succeed!
About the Author
Ashwani Kumar Sharma is an experienced internet marketing and SEO expert. Founder and Director of the internet marketing & SEO company eSign Web Services, he offers the right combination of online marketing services to deliver the very best results with the most unparalleled customers experience possible. He specializes in a broad spectrum of internet marketing services including SEO, PPC, SMO, Web Design & Development. Visit at https://www.esignwebservices.in