The online landscape can be a lot to navigate as a small business. But it is essential to have a presence in this space. More people rely on online searching and social media to gauge credibility than ever before.
Nearly 90% of shoppers research products and services online before making a purchase. Your customers exist in the digital sphere.
We know that online marketing can be intimidating and time-consuming for a small business. But as experts in the realm of digital advertising, web design, social media, and more, we know a thing or two about how to succeed online. Here are our 7 essential tips and tricks for small business online marketing.
Rule #1: Check Your Google Listing
Before you start trying to use pay-per-click and other paid marketing, make sure that you have an accurate Google Business Profile listing. It’s not uncommon for local businesses to have inaccurate or missing information on their GBP listing. In fact, only 44% of local retailers have even claimed their GBP listing. This is a major disadvantage when your competitors are definitely taking advantage of this online marketing tool.
Make sure to claim and update all of your information in GBP. Also, be sure to confirm your location so people can actually find you on Google Maps. If you have incomplete information, it signals to Google that your business is not worth showing as a top result in their Local Pack. Research shows that small businesses can even outrank large national brands on Google maps so it’s a highly important place to appear for potential customers. Review your business page and update the information accordingly at Google Business Profile.
Rule #2: Keep An Eye On Reviews
When people search for your company, one of the first things they look at are your reviews. Roughly 87% of consumers reported that they read online reviews for local businesses before spending money with them. In today's society, an online review can be as influential as a personal recommendation when it comes to making buying decisions. Needless to say, online reviews carry a lot of weight.
Here are 3 steps to generate better online reviews:
- Be sure to frequently look at your online reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and any other online directory your business is associated with (like Trustpilot).
- Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to leave a review (TIP: Google allows you to create a direct link you can give to customers for easy review).
- It is vital to respond to all reviews both negative and positive whenever possible.
These three steps will help build trust with new clients who pay close attention to online reviews. Knowledge is power, so being aware of what clients have to say about your business is critical.
Rule #3:Develop a Quality Website
Your website is essentially a robust digital business card. This is your chance to create a great first impression online. Creating a practical website that is simple to use can be difficult, but it is a must in today's business world.
Another important factor is maintaining a mobile-friendly website. Each year, the statistics on how many “digital minutes” people spend on their phone grows. Creating a functional website for all mobile devices is imperative. Your website should also be optimized for search engines so that users can easily find the products and services you provide that best match their search (this is called search engine optimization, aka SEO). You should also be sure to include links to all your social media pages in case your potential customers want to connect further.
There are many services that help business owners create websites, but we recommend working with a professional web developer. If you’re not proficient in this arena, leave it to the pros. Working with a website design partner to create a stunning website is well worth the investment in the success of your business.
Sure, you can build out an okay-looking Wix or Squarespace website, but we recommend NOT shooting yourself in the foot. As far as these website builders go, they’re pretty much a waste if you intend to expand your online presence. Our SEO team defers to the larger, more well-known website builders and CMSs (content management systems) like WordPress and Shopify. If you plan on getting a digital marketing strategy in place within the near future, the better, more experienced marketing agencies will tell you to stay clear of these mediocre web builders.
There is a whole other conversation to be had about easy-to-use, no-code website builders that we’ll get into at another time.
Rule #4: Get Your Name Out There With Several Touchpoints
Now that we have created a cohesive image for you online, we are ready to start increasing your reach. Search engine marketing is the most efficient way to get more potential clients to see you. Basic pay-per-click campaigns can be created so that your business’s ads list at the top of Google.
This is a great starting point because you are only billed when qualified people click on your link. The more you identify as what Google deems relevant, the more you will be listed in a search that matches keywords used by your customers. Your customers need to know you exist in order for them to buy from you, so it is important to expand your reach and hit every touch point for your brand’s online recognition.
Rule #5: Turn Customers Into Friends
Your target market is currently adapted to social media. Surprise! Nearly everyone is using social networks nowadays. With so many people using social media, it is critical that your business provides the opportunity to connect via these platforms.
We recommend at a minimum, starting with the top 3 social networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sharing information and posts on relevant content will attract customers who are looking for your goods and services. The name of the game is to amass as big of a following as possible. Every “friend/follower” can potentially convert to revenue for your business!
If you are a B2B business, then look into LinkedIn as a networking platform.
Rule #6: Shine Brighter Than Your Competitors
The Internet is full of competition. It’s so important to stand out from the rest. You can do this by getting creative with remarketing ads to customers who have already had an interest in your business. Facebook and Google make this sort of ad easy. Although, there was recently a change to how much customer data you can use to do so on Facebook.
A little under 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. It might take some nudging before your potential customer makes their purchase with you. When re-engaging customers, you have a chance to offer discounts to give them further incentives to buy. It’s so critical to give potential customers who have seen or heard of your brand, as many paths to purchase as possible.
Rule #7: Play the Long Game
For our final tip, we want to encourage you to lean on search engine optimization. Although it doesn’t show the same instant results as targeted advertisements, SEO will pay off in the long run. When you create high-quality content and optimize your landing pages for relevant keywords, Google’s algorithm will reward you with a higher ranking on their search engine results pages.
It might not seem worth all the effort to land yourself on the first page of the SERPs, but ranking higher means more visitors to your website. Research shows that 53% of website traffic comes from organic search. A higher ranking on the SERP’s page 1 offers more credibility, more website traffic, and, eventually, more conversions. So even though you won’t see results overnight, SEO offers an abundance of benefits you don’t want to miss out on.
The Bottom Line
Online marketing offers a treasure trove of opportunities for you to connect with your customers and increase your revenue. It’s vital to have an active presence on the internet for the sake of credibility and ranking higher than your competitors. When you take the time to follow through with these 7 tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to online marketing success.
Here at Beyond Blue Media, we know what it takes to keep a small business running. You have to wear so many different hats all while providing the best experience possible for your customers. Online marketing might get lost in the shuffle. That’s where we come in. Beyond Blue Media specializes in online marketing for small to medium-sized businesses. We can assist you with everything from crafting a beautiful website to keeping up with social media. If you’re ready to supercharge your online presence, get in touch today!