6 web marketing ideas for small businesses
Whether just starting out or hitting a plateau, every business needs to work at brand awareness and reaching new customers. Web marketing is one of the most efficient tools at your disposal, since so many people use the web to look for information and services.
There are a number of ingredients that — when combined — create a recipe for digital marketing success. The best part? You can easily track your marketing efforts online and revise your strategies as you go to to yield a higher ROI.
Attract a crowd with these web marketing ideas
Sure, you have a great product or service, but no one knows about it. Here’s how to get customers’ attention.
Claim your Google My Business listing.
Build a website.
Take advantage of social media.
Invest in pay-per-click ads.
Let’s take a look at how you can best leverage the web to market your small business.
1. Claim your Google My Business listing
Did you know you can control the information Google displays about your business when people search for you using Google search or Maps?
When you claim your account on Google My Business, you can update your physical address, contact information, opening hours and description, as well as respond directly to customer reviews.
You can even learn how customers are interacting with your business listing, such as which photos are getting the most attention (and post more like that). Thanks to Google Maps’ driving directions requests, you can even learn where people are traveling from to find you.
For example, the Google listing for Vertue Coffee Roasters in Victoria includes their website address (URL), description, address, opening hours, menu link and details for ordering online.
2. Start blogging
One of the best web marketing tactics for small businesses is blogging. This is the practice of publishing regular articles on topics of interest to customers. It not only provides potential customers and existing clients with educational and non-salesy information, but positions you as an expert in your field.
Blogging gives search engines another opportunity to find your business — and introduce new customers to it.
For example, Melbourne-based Pure Physio blogs weekly about physical fitness, recovering from injury and sport.
Notice the phone number and the big purple “Book an appointment now” button next to the post? This makes it easy for a reader in pain to connect with Pure Physio.
Blogging regularly (and consistently — Google likes that!), even if it’s only a couple of times a month, can significantly increase the likelihood that potential customers will find you via search engines.
3. Build a website
According to the GoDaddy Small Business Survey 2015, 60 percent of Australian small businesses don’t have a website. This is alarming, since 62 percent of Australian customers stop considering a small business if they can’t find information about it online.
If you don’t have a website, you’re making it harder for people to find you and the perfect product or service.
The same report found 83 percent of customers believe using search engines like Google is “important” or “very important” when finding a business. Without a digital presence, Google and these customers don’t know you exist.
You wouldn’t have a physical store without signage and a phone number, would you? A website is the digital equivalent of a big sign that says “Yes, we’re open.” With so many people searching business information online — especially on their phones — having a mobile-friendly website is essential. GoDaddy’s Website Builder automatically optimises your website for all screens, including mobile and tablet.
Not sure where to start? Get step-by-step instructions on building your website here.
4. Take advantage of social media
Social media is a great tool for raising brand awareness and helping to drive new visitors and potential customers to your website.
Choose the one social media platform that your potential customers and existing clients engage with the most — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram — and start there.
Once you’ve set up an account, you can start sharing content from your blog, promoting products, listening to your customers, joining in discussions and engaging with other people.
Don’t forget to post regularly and frequently, but most importantly, be relevant and helpful to your audience. The rule of thumb is to provide useful or entertaining information in four out of every five posts, with only one a direct promotion of your business.
Even if you post regularly on only one platform, it’s still a good idea to sign up for all the major platforms so you can secure usernames that are most similar to your business name. For example, if you choose to focus on Twitter, it’s helpful to also have a Facebook account where users can get information about your business, including your web address, phone and opening hours.
5. Email customers
Collecting email addresses and sending periodic emails to customers is an effective way to draw them back to your site for repeat sales. Offering the customer a discount on their first purchase in exchange for their email address is common practice and a good incentive for visitors to share their emails.
According to McKinsey research, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
Whether you’re running a holiday sale or launching a new service, sending out an email takes just a few minutes. And it puts your business in front of customers who’ve already shown an interest in what you offer.
An easy way to get started is with GoDaddy Email Marketing. It makes it easy to add a signup form to your website to gather email addresses from visitors and provides templates that can easily be customized. Anyone who signs up automatically receives your next email. Use these to share sales offers, coupon codes, changed store hours, new product announcements, your latest blog post or any helpful advice that adds value to your customer’s life.
You can even dig into the details of how your email campaigns are working. Check how many were opened and which ones got the most clicks so you can learn what works and do more of that. It’s super easy-to-use, especially if you’re new to email marketing (GoDaddy Email Marketing comes built into Website Builder Business Plus).
6. Invest in pay-per-click ads
Pay-per-click advertising, usually referred to simply as PPC, is a marketing model where businesses create ads and pay a pre-arranged fee each time their ad is clicked on. The most popular types of PPC advertising are through search engines like Google and social media like Facebook.
With PPC, you can put your business in front of people who want what you offer at the moment that they’re trying to find it. PPC can also help you develop brand recognition and a steady flow of new traffic to your website.
Any business can benefit from a PPC marketing strategy. You will need a budget and the willingness to wait a few months for it to start working. The trick is to identify keywords that are targeted and relevant to your business, understand your target audience, and develop a strategy that will attract hot leads (i.e. the kind most likely to buy).
For example, when you search “melbourne physio,” Pure Physio is the first listing. The small “Ad” icon next to the listing indicates that it’s a paid advertisement.
Before you invest in PPC, do your research. Facebook is an easy way to get started, with options that allow you to specify everything from your target audience’s age to their location and interests.
Web marketing works
Web marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers, control your online reputation and nurture loyal shoppers so they keep coming back (online and in store).
Once you’ve mastered the basics above, don’t stop there!
Check out these posts on how to define your client persona and create marketing funnels so you can better target your marketing messages and create a competitive advantage.
Image by: Michail Sapiton on Unsplash