Small business owners can easily get too involved in the day-to-day operations of their business to spend any time brainstorming marketing ideas to stay competitive and reach new customers. In a hyper-connected world where a strong online presence could mean better growth opportunities, 2013 looks to be a year of significantly increased online investment for small businesses. Here are some marketing ideas and business marketing tactics.
According to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, which surveyed 1,000 small businesses nationwide, 66 percent of small businesses plan to invest as much or more in digital marketing – websites, social media and online advertisements – as they did last year. The poll also revealed that a vast majority of small businesses will expand their online and digital presence through the company website and email blasts to customers.
Small businesses are not ignoring the shift that has taken place in consumer consumption habits thanks to mobile. Seventy-one percent are “somewhat” or “very likely” going to increase budgets for marketing via mobile devices. And nearly one-third use “mobile-friendly” websites – those easily viewable on smartphones – as a way to engage with customers.
As a small business owner you need to get – and stay – actively involved in your company’s marketing efforts. Take a lesson from big business and see how they utilize social media, online advertising, email marketing and their own website every day to stay ahead. Following the same practices will help you grow your online presence and your business.
Social Media: be sure your company is engaging on a daily basis with Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn and social viral sites like YouTube. Post about company-related topics and encourage interaction. It’s also important that you respond to questions, concerns and complaints. Amberly Dressler of websitemagazine.com suggests small businesses set social media guidelines to include ones that are in-line with company goals and ethos. Don’t type something on a social media page that you wouldn’t say directly to a consumer, in-store. A business’s customer service hat should never come off, even in the comfort of the digital space.
Advertising: Advertising online has become a popular strategy for small businesses. According to Local Consumer Review Survey (2012), 85 percent of consumers search online for local businesses. If you aren’t participating in SEO tactics or SEM programs, you are losing opportunity.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines like Google and Bing via “natural” (organic) search results for targeted keywords.
Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, promotes online businesses and websites by increasing visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) by the implementation of paid placement, contextual advertising and paid inclusion. Search Engine Marketing strategies provide organic results, where the consumer is consciously seeking out your services, without there being any direct or intruding marketing force from your business. Doing so yields a higher conversion rate, lower cost and most importantly, a higher ROI. The realm of SEM encompasses the range of all activities involved in performing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), managing paid listings within the search engines, submitting sites to directories and developing online marketing strategies for businesses, organizations and individuals.
Email: Email marketing is a highly effective method for customer acquisition and customer retention. Email campaigns produce granular, measurable results by providing a direct, personal message to customers. Email marketing is so much more than just sending your customers emails each week. It’s about building relationships. The email channel not only drives strong ROI in customer acquisition, but it increasingly powerful to engage consumers. Marketers looking to make an impact among subscribers are increasing their use of triggered messaging, also known as automated messages. As a small business, the benefit of triggered messaging is that you can build a program once, tie that offer or message to specific customer behavior and let the automation take over. Since the program is built once and used in a repeatable manner, it creates efficiency. Additionally, when combined with monitoring and optimization, these programs can advance the effectiveness of mailings by improving click and conversion rates. Examples of triggered campaigns include welcome messages, cart abandonment programs and inventory in-stock reminders.
Geofencing Advertising: A new marketing favorite, geofencing allows you to capture a target audience within a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Geofencing advertising allows you to set up “triggers” so when a device crosses a geofence and enters (or exits) the boundaries defined by the administrator, an SMS or email alert is sent. Setting up a geofence allows businesses to use not only the ability of reaching a consumer anywhere, but the ability to know in real time when a customer is in a prime area to be engaged.
Website: Take a good look at your website. Is it user-friendly? Is it attractive? Does it offer valuable and engaging content in the form of blogs, video, podcasts and infographics? Does it showcase your products or services and provide detailed information about the business, products and services? Content is the soul of your website and should be taken seriously. Be sure to add blogs, videos and images to the site, and make sure the content is search engine optimized.
Does your company have a effective internet marketing strategy? Let Blue Interactive Agency know in your comments below! We help your business establish an effective internet strategy to help market products and services online. For any questions, call us at 954-779-2801.