If you have a local small business, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of online marketing. This is very smart thinking and millions of small companies are coming online daily.
But, you need a plan and you need to understand where you need to be spending the bulk of your time so you can get the biggest return on your investment. So, in this article we are going to cover some tips for you and what you need to be doing in order to take advantage of marketing on the internet.
Get A Website
Is it entirely possible to market you company online without a website? Yes, and this also all depends on what type of company you have. However, adding a website to the mix would be a smart move.
A website will allow you to capture a whole other audience from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Of course it will take work and content to allow you to take full advantage of this type of marketing. But, we all agree a website is a must for most small companies.
Along with your website, you will need to do content marketing. This is also known as inbound marketing. What you will be doing here is writing keyword focused articles and they will be found in search. However, don’t expect this strategy will work right away. It’s a long term strategy that will pay off well later on down the line.
But, you will need to keep at it and keep adding fresh new articles every week. And, you should not give up. It could take up to a year to 18 months to start seeing some ROI.
But, once you start adding a good amount of content, engines like Google will start to notice and will start rewarding you for a job well done.
Pay Per Click Marketing
We usually also recommend a small company take advantage of things like Google Adwords or Bing ads. Adwords will usually give you the biggest bang for your buck and ppc usually can work hand in hand with a seo campaign.
You don’t have to start big either, you can start with a couple of keywords just to get your ads going to take advantage of ppc.
Set a budget of what you can afford to spend. But do not take your last dollars to do this. If you have no money for ppc then wait until you can afford it. The reason is pay per click can waste money until you get to know what you are doing. It’s tricky, so you will need help in getting started.
Don’t Send People Directly To Your Website
It can work in many cases however, we usually do not recommend sending people right to your website when using pay per click. We instead guide people to use landing page software like Lead Pages.
This reason this is more effective is, you will not have all the menu options for people to explore your site. This is what people do, they start looking at other pages, the phone rings and they forget all about your site.
You don’t want to do this with your hard earned money. You want specific landing pages, tailored to the keywords you find with a strong CTA (call to action). A CTA is either your phone number or asking someone to join your email list.
Build a Email List
Having an email list is very important for a small business. But, many small companies do not take advantage of this effective form of marketing. We say it’s a must.
Having an in house list will allow you to market specials and coupons to current and new customers alike. Also, if you are spending your companies dollars on ppc, you will want to get as many people as you can on your list. With out a list, you are just doing what’s called hit and run marketing.
Be aware many people who come to your website once, will never return. This alone is reason to capture names in a list.
Once you have built a nice size email list, it becomes traffic on demand. So, if you have 5000 people on your list and you are running a special, you would send out your promotion and not all will end up on your site. But, its a good amount of people will if you have a strong offer.
Your Online Marketing Plan
These 3 steps are usually where we tell customers to start when first taking your company online. These are SEO, PPC and email list building. The seo part of this is a long term strategy that pays off later on down the line.
Also, list building will take some time but, once you have a nice size email list, you will have a marketing machine for years to come.
There are other things you can be doing to market you small company online, but starting with these 3 steps is where you want to focus much of your efforts in the start. As we said, it will take some time but, after a year or so, you will be very surprised at how handsomely they all pay off.
What Else You Can Do
Of course there are other things you can be doing. Things like craigslist, yelp, online yellow pages and more. These also should all be a part of your online marketing plan as they all play are part of getting you new customers.
But, be wary and on your guard. Once you sign up for some of these things, you will get emails and phone calls from sales people. This is not to say this is bad. But, realize where you marketing budget is best spend until you start making more money.
So, if you sign up for Yelp and you get a sales call and decide to spend $200 a month for Yelp ads, can you afford to take away from your PPC budget?
Just be mindful of where you marketing dollars are best spent.