Want to improve your online marketing efforts this year? Thanks to an explosion of tools and software small businesses can now implement the same online marketing strategies to rival the biggest of companies.
By carefully selecting the appropriate online marketing tool and implementing it into a well designed optimised website, the sky is the limit for the business owner willing to learn new things. This is the year for a small business to thrive in the world of digital marketing.
Online marketing is all about integrating a selection of tools aimed at mobile usage, collecting customer data and offering valuable and useful information to your client base.
Below are the 6 main online marketing strategies small businesses should focus on. Successfully implementing even one of these systems into your website will drive sales. However, the true power of online marketing is in its closed loop nature. When one online marketing system is working, it is easier to get the next working and the next and the next, until an automated loop is created.
I call this closed loop marketing and it begins with a highly ranked site – which directs potential customers to funneled landing pages – which are designed to capture email data – triggering automated email software – which encourages social shares – which returns to the beginning to increase the websites ranking.
With tweets and posts flying everywhere, you could be forgiven for thinking email is an outdated form of communication. However, the data doesn’t lie. Email marketing still destroys social media in terms of generating sales. Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to increase brand awareness, convert visitors to sales and convert those customers to loyal customers.
Social media is a new age platform of communication. Email is more an update to the letter. What this means is people are more open to being sold something via email. They are aware that emails are used to sell and offer and promote. Advertising via organic Social Media posting still annoys most users and conversions remain low.
Facebook and Twitter combined makeup just 0.2% of the number of emails sent each day, and that doesn’t include spam.
Simply put email marketing is about the capturing of a potential leads email address so your business can follow up and chase sales. Small business owners can no longer use services such as Gmail or Outlook. These are designed for email storage, not email marketing. Plus you must start how you want to go on and having @gmail.com or @hotmail.com at the end of your business email address shows a lack of ambition in your companies future.
Email marketing offers the best return with regards nurturing leads. Now is the time for your website to have an email capturing system.
Times are changing and most small businesses are now beginning to see the potential of social media. However, Facebook can change how it wants to present information at any moment at it does frequently.
In 2008 I started an Irish campaign to help promote the Irish language called ‘Caint’.
Working in my spare time over the course of a year I had built the Caint Facebook page to over 4000 active followers. The page was active daily with queries and had taken on a life of its own with members informing other members of helpful Irish related services and products.
That year Facebook updated its algorithm and my page was one of hundreds of thousands of pages that got deleted. There was nothing I could do. Over 18 monthes of work disappeared overnight.
Recently Facebook updated its algorithm again, giving more priority to paid posts. This means that under 10% of your followers ever get to see what you post.
Growing a solid base of Facebook fans does have great benefits and huge potential for future marketing, but it still is very much a long-term marketing strategy and should not be used by small businesses as their sole marketing strategy for growth.
Offering downloadable content in exchange for a customers email address is an extremely effective and underutilised marketing tactic. Offering your expertise in the form of short PDFs, eBooks, Youtube Videos, white papers or hidden web pages is an extremely effective method for capturing customer data.
This marketing strategy is even more powerful at a local level when few of your competitors are doing the same. Now is the time to get ahead.
It took me near 3 months to complete my 200 page eBook on how to maximise profits using print. However, it now accounts for over a quarter of my email sign ups.
Without webpages specifically designed to convert visitors to leads, your website is nothing more than an online brochure. This is one of the simplest online marketing strategies you should implement. Pick one of your best services, design a simple page on your website designed solely for the purpose of promoting said service and begin promoting, pushing, tweeting, posting and emailing links directing customers to that page.
a) You are managing to get people to the page and
b) If when on the page, people are converting to sales.
Once a) is working, you focus on improving b). You now have a new revenue stream for your business.
Another great advantage of the landing page is that it is an easier online marketing strategy to monitor. being able to clearly compare how many people visit the page to how many sales it generates allows you to easily gauge how much of your budget to use on promotion.
Marketing automation can mean many things, but in simple terms every business should be looking at how it can automate as much as it can, whatever that may be. Are you writing the same email response over and over again? Do you send out special offers on clients birthdays? Do customers who purchase items automatically receive friend referral emails, further discount emails or thank you packages? These are all simple examples of things which should be automated.
Marketing automation is more important for the small business owner as his/her time is more valuable. Anything which subtracts from a small business owners most valuable asset – time, that can be automated, should be.
The online marketing challenge is setting it up, but now is the time.
A simple, yet effective tool for driving traffic. If corresponding to a client via email, some form of a relationship has been established. This means the receiver is far more inclined to click through to an ‘About Us’ page, a specific landing page or your social media outlets.
Even on a small level office boredom will result in the odd click through to your Facebook feed or blog feed if always changing in your email signature. Clicks through happening daily will have a positive effect on your SEO. Email signatures are definitely a simple and effective tool every small business should be utilising to help increase SEO, generate leads and increase social media awareness.
Smartphone usage in Ireland went over 60% in 2015 with an average user spending an incredible 3 hours a day browsing.
Having a website which does not adapt to smartphone and tablet screens is not only losing your customers and sales but decreasing your ranking in Google, which will lead to an even sharper decline in sales and customer acquisition.
The point of this article is to outline the best forms of online marketing a small business should implement. However, if your website is not a responsive website this should be your main priority this year.
Every small business must now begin to see their websites as tools to generate leads and drive sales. The website itself should do this on its own and not merely house contact information.
Having an online brochure is no longer enough and wastes such huge potential.
The small businesses owner that see these marketing challenges as opportunities will indeed move out of the pack and start an upward spiralling system of growth to work upon.
Begin by redesigning your website to be responsive and mobile friendly. Once complete, focus on landing pages which offer customers valuable information and expertise in exchange for their email address. This customer data should be housed in an email marketing software such as Mailchimp and eShots should be sent out regularly to remind, reinforce and sell to those newly acquired leads. Each eShot and online promotional element should be shared via social media to help spread awareness and all should be monitored as best as you can in order to better your investment of time and money.
Do not overwhelmed by the complexity of the entire system. Take each online marketing strategy step by step until the entire closed loop marketing system links together.
Want to discuss online marketing?
Get in touch or call me on 021 2340063.
Paul Feeney is a Brand Manager, SEO Specialist, Marketer and Designer who helps businesses increase traffic, attract more visitors, convert leads and close sales.
I offer weekly Mastermind calls which help business owners gain clarity, confidence and clients through advice, support & accountability.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
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