Online marketing strategies for small business
Most small business do not know what to do beyond building a website. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming though, below are the steps you can take to build your brand.
1. Define a brand
- Think about your origin story
Ask yourself: “Why did I start this company? What am I proud of?” Oftentimes what drove you to start your own company and how it’s reflected in your business practices is what makes you unique.
- Talk to your customers
Ask your customers: “What do you like about our company? What don’t you like? Why did you choose us over our competitors? What are your pain points?” When you listen to customers talk about your business, you’ll have a better understanding of the aspects of your company that resonate with people and what should be reflected in your brand messaging.
- Do competitor research
Take a look at your competitors’ websites. Ask yourself: “What are they doing well? What aren’t they doing well? How do they talk about their company?” You’re looking for holes in your industry, a way to make your company different than your competitors.
- Compile all the information and develop a brand
Once you’ve researched your origin story, competitors’ tactics, and customer sentiment, it’s time to start building a brand. What from your origin story and customer conversations stood out and got you excited? How can you talk about those things in a way your competitors haven’t? Once you have that figured out, you have a brand position.
2.Review the website content and language
- Does the website have the information my target audience needs?
A company website is useless if it doesn’t have the information your target audience needs. On the most basic level, this should include what your company does, in-depth product or service information, prices associated with your services, and contact information. It’s actually astonishing how often companies, both large and small, don’t do this.
- Am I using the language my target audience would use?
Oftentimes, we get so wrapped up in our industry that we forget that others, especially customers, don’t necessarily use the same terms as us. By using terms that are different from those of your target audience, your organic traffic will suffer and your website won’t be nearly as effective. When you talk to your customers during the branding exercise, see what terms they use. Use keyword research to validate your findings and use this language on the website.
3.Develop overarching marketing strategy
- Content strategy
In the online marketing world, content is king. Google wants you to deliver value to your site visitors and unique content is one way of going about this. Building a content strategy isn’t easy though. You don’t want to write the same thing that everyone else in your industry is writing about.
Doing paid, whether search, display, or social, can be really effective if done correctly. The downside? It can take a lot of time and money to monitor and improve on your campaigns. Highly competitive terms can have extremely high cost-per-click (CPC) rates, and the cost-per-action (CPA) is usually even higher.
Social can be a really effective way of engaging consumers and building brand loyalty, but I normally only suggest starting a social strategy once a company has built out their brand and website. You’re going to need unique content, images, or deals in order to have a social marketing strategy. It’s often easier to start in other areas and build a catalog of resources before you launch into social.
Email marketing isn’t an effective method of gaining new customers, but is a great avenue for businesses trying to increase retention or brand loyalty. If this is your goal, make sure your emails contain value.
If you’re a small business using the Internet to drive traffic to your store, I absolutely believe you should be invested in local. While there’s the initial time investment to get it set up, there’s a minimal time investment needed to keep it up-to-date.
At Distilled, we have a whole team responsible for reaching out to bloggers and publications in order to get our clients and their content featured in the right places. Their work not only helps build brand awareness but, when our clients’ work is covered and linked to, also has the added SEO benefit of natural links and, in turn, a stronger site.Most small businesses don’t have the resources for this kind of promotion, but if you want your brand and organic traffic to grow, it’s vital that you partake in a variation of this.
- Content strategy