Marketing your online business.
Marketing Your Small Business
You’ve taken the leap and started your own small business. You’ve built a website, set up pages on social media, ordered snazzy business cards, and of course – chosen an accountant and now you are waiting for the leads to start rolling in.
However, it’s not always quite that simple! Depending on your product or service, it’s likely that you have competitors vying for your potential audience’s attention. So how do you stand out from the crowd and make sure that you can let as many people as possible know that you are ‘out there’?
Here are some top ways to help to market your new business online.
Online Marketing for Small Business
For most businesses, one of the fundamental ways to attract new customers, or service existing ones is via your website. However, with billions of site online, how can you ensure that your potential audience will find you?
It’s not quite as easy as you might think. When a person searches online – there are potentially millions of results that will answer the ‘search query’ that a person has typed into say, Google.
Google then needs to choose which website page will answer that persons query to the best possible extent. Google will use a wide range of factors to decide which web pages to show, and in which order to best answer that query. To come out on top – you need to ensure that your website is in the best position to be ‘chosen’ to rank near the top. This is known as Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short.
There are some great resources online to help you to understand SEO in more detail, and we would suggest reading this excellent guide from MOZ to get you started.
If your budget allows, it can be worth employing an SEO agency which specialises in small business to help you to get started.
Social Media Marketing Ideas
Social media can be a great way to tell your audience all about the products or services that you provide. The key to getting this right is to properly define your target audience before setting out your social media strategy.
By defining your audience, you can then work out which social media channels you wish to have a presence on. For example, if you provide B2B services for the corporate world, LinkedIn may be a strong contender for you to source new opportunities. If your audience is mainly in the 18 – 25 demographic, Snapchat may be for you!
The key to a social media page, just like your website is to provide content that your audience is interested in. This means not just continually posting ‘sales’ type posts, but providing useful information and items that are of interest to your target audience.
If you are new to the world of online marketing, a quick way to bring in new customers can be to undertake paid advertising online. This differs from the above methods, as, unlike SEO and social media, which can be undertaken with little or no costs, you will need to pay for advertising.
For many, Google AdWords can be an excellent way of showcasing your business online. Google advertising generally works by paying a ‘cost per click’ – so every time someone clicks on your advert, you will pay a certain amount. Amounts for clicks vary widely – with some keywords in industries such as plumbing, marketing or web development costing over £8 per click, so really think about what value a lead bring to your business and consider working with an expert to set up your ads.
A potentially cheaper option can be social media advertising. For platforms such as Facebook, you may be able to run a successful advertising campaign for a few pounds each day. Unlike AdWords, Facebook generally charges you for ‘impressions’, so you pay based on how many people saw your ad. This means you need to ensure that you are targeting the right audience to avoid waste and to get the best return on your investment.
Remember that you can claim your tax back against any advertising, including design costs, so be sure to track accordingly.
Like any form of drumming up new business, online marketing can mean testing and refining what you do as you can go along. Something that may work for one product, may not work for another, so try to ensure that you are measuring everything you do on a regular basis. And don’t forget the ‘real world’ either. Word of mouth, networking and directly calling potential customers all bring value and a personal touch that you cannot always replicate online – so make sure not to neglect these areas.