Marketing is essential for any business. You need to put your message in front of the desired audience in order to grow the business substantially.
Marketing has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Online or digital marketing in particular has revolutionized the way businesses reach out to prospects, nurture leads, and close sales.
At its core, online marketing is no different than placing an ad in a local newspaper or putting up a billboard. However, both of those options may either be too expensive for most small businesses or not targeted enough to generate a decent return on their investment.
That’s one of the benefits of digital marketing. It provides small businesses the opportunity to maximize their ROI while also leveraging the incredible targeting tools to precisely focus their campaigns on the right audiences.
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to feel overwhelmed by digital marketing, particularly if they don’t have any experience with it. After all, there are just too many digital platforms with different ad products. Don’t let that become a hurdle. Utilize these top 5 online marketing strategies to nail your messaging and increase brand awareness.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO might seem like a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot but it’s a tried and tested strategy of increasing your presence online. It’s actually one of the most powerful ways that you can use to put your content in front of countless people online.
Whether they need to solve a problem, have a question or want to buy something, Google is the first website that billions of people visit. Over 99,000 searches are done by users on Google every single second. That’s over 8.5 billion searches every day.
Whatever your business offers to help make customers’ lives easier, leverage that to create content that answers the questions that they have. While many have claimed that SEO is dead in this day and age, that couldn’t be further from the truth. SEO remains one of the best marketing strategies online with boundless potential.
It’s also a great option for those small businesses that don’t want to invest heavily in online marketing activities. Content marketing-based SEO requires you to create articles, blogs, and other content that meets the intent of what searchers are looking for on Google. The results tend to come gradually, especially for new websites, but it’s still not impossible to rank at the top of Google’s search results in your industry.
2. Affiliate Marketing
As a small business owner you probably can’t have a full time sales team with a significant budget dedicated to selling your products online. However, with affiliate marketing, you can effectively outsource this job to people who are willing to take on all of the risk in return for a commission of every sale that they generate.
That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing and why it’s a must for small business owners who can deploy it. Experienced affiliate marketers are great at creating content, running highly targeted ads, and leveraging every tool available on the leading social media networks to generate the most amount of leads for the lowest cost possible.
Offer them a generous commission and you’ll quickly have affiliates lining up to sell your product. This strategy suits small businesses because they take on none of the risk when setting up campaigns. It’s not their ad dollars on the line if the campaign fails to perform. Since affiliates only get paid when they make a sale, they try their hardest to bring the most qualified leads, and that will most likely result in a bump in sales.
3. Provide Customer Support Through Social Media
Word travels fast on the internet and if you become known as the brand that provides quick and efficient customer support through its social media channels, you’ll not only see an increase in brand awareness but also in customer retention. Customers like to keep doing business with brands that they feel provide them with a good service. Social media is great for quick customer support.
After all, social media is where most customers turn to whenever they have a question or concern about a product. They’ll look up that company’s social media channels and reach out with a query. This is also easier for them, since they’re already actively using social media and don’t need to go out of their way to either fill out a form or visit another website just to seek redressal of their grievance.
For the most part, this proactive support offer to customers provides them with confidence in the brand. They’ll be more likely to recommend it to people in their circles, thus leading to increased awareness for your brand through word of mouth.
4. Local Search
If your business has physical locations, local search is an online marketing strategy that you can utilize to significantly increase the footfall for it. Consider the fact that since 2011, “near me” searches on Google have increased 34 times. If you provide a service that people nearby will benefit from, deploy the local search strategy to win new customers.
This will require the use of Google my Business. Add information about your business on Google my Business, such as the website, contact information, opening times as well as information about products and services.
Ensure that you timely respond to reviews on your local business listing. People appreciate when brands are active on their listing, this gives them confidence and makes it more likely for them to convert into customers.
5. Social Media Marketing
No online marketing strategy can be complete without social media marketing. Your brand needs to have a presence on leading social media platforms. That’s where customers are now discovering businesses and new products.
Be where your customers are to increase brand uplift. These platforms also provide exceptional ad products and targeting tools that can be utilized to create highly focused campaigns. While it might seem daunting to most small business owners, launching paid campaigns on social media networks isn’t that difficult. Most people get the hang of it with some trial and error.
With full control over ad budgets and how you’d like it to be spent, social media marketing campaigns give you incredible flexibility and control over ad campaigns.
Going online first is inevitable for small businesses now
You can choose to explore other marketing avenues for your small business, but remember, in this day and age any business that’s not focusing on online marketing is effectively leaving a lot of money on the table.
If other marketing avenues are working well for you, add digital marketing to the mix as well to further elevate the status of your brand, expand your message far and wide to bring in more customers.
Blamah is the founder of Web Collaborative, a full-service creative agency. He is an established marketing strategist and consultant. He is also a graduate of Bucknell University and native of Chester County, PA with extensive experience in business development and brand management.
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We are a digital marketing company with a focus on helping our customers achieve great results across several key areas.