Learn the basics of small business marketing online
To get your online presence off to a good start we have put together our small business marketing guide to show a few ideas which you can action straight away to give your startup the best chance at online success.
When it comes to small business marketing we would always suggest you speak to a professional online marketing company. However, we know that when your a small business starting out your budget can be limited. That’s why we have put together a few ideas which you could use straight away to advertise your small business.
Some will be completely free of charge and others may cost a little but are well worth the money. This is a very basic overview of popular marketing strategies and for further guidance on each may require its own research, not covered in this post.
Google My Business – local business listing
Google has an excellent feature to advertise your website or services online called My Business (previously google places). This is a free of charge service and can really help your online marketing campaign. You will have seen these types of adverts at the top of google. They can sometimes have a map which points to the business location. Using google like this can be a huge source of new customers, and its COMPLETELY FREE.
You will need to sign up with google and create a google plus account, google will then send you a letter with a verification code within 2-3 weeks. You will need to verify the ownership of the account before your listing will go live so the sooner you can send off for the account the better.
If your serious about starting your business, set up the account now so that when you start you can just verify online rather than wait 2-3 weeks. You can setup you account here.
Google Adwords Pay-Per-Click
This is another great service from google. Adwords is a pay per click service which means it will advertise your business in google search results straight away and you will only be charged when a potential customer clicks on your advert.
Google adwords in an amazing online marketing tool because you can do it yourself with a little practice.
You can be up and running in minutes and you can pause your online marketing campaign whenever you like! If you find that one week you have so much work on that you cant physically do anymore, you can pause your marketing campaign until the work starts to ease off. try do that with a newspaper advert!
You tell google how much you want to pay per click, this can be anything from 1p to a few pounds depending on how much return your going to generate from your investment. You can also put a cap on how much you spend per day and google will adhere to your budget.
You can also map out an area which you would like to serve e.g 15miles radius of your home. If your a small business which will be taking on small jobs then you really don’t want to be travelling too far to reach customers.
Google provides a whole host of great tools which you may find when opening your adwords account, I would advise seeking out adwords tutorials on google to become a little more up to speed with how things work.
To create your adwords account goto the adwords homepage
On page optimisation
No small business marketing guide would be complete without mentioning SEO. SEO is something you can do yourself if you know the basics or at least are willing to learn from the thousands of guides and tutorials online.
To optimise your website for search engines there are a few things which you can do. This may be a little technical for most people so I would advise using a marketing company or freelance SEO to optimise your website as a one off cost. So the basics which you can do will depend on the type of website you have.
If you have a wordpress website you should install Yoast, Yoast is a search engine optimisation plugin which allows you to optimise your website yourself! follow their online guides to the best of your ability by visiting Yoast.com and your onpage optimisation will be complete.
If your website isn’t built on WordPress but you have access to be able to change content on your website, Google has a tool called the keyword planner. The keyword planner is such a great tool for small business marketing because it allows you to find keywords which people use to type into google when searching for something. This can be very handy because not only can you see which keywords people use but you can see how many times people have searched for that keyword. You can find hwo competitive the keyword is and figure out if their is even people that are searching for your service.
So your next step would be to create a list of keywords which people may type into google to search for your product/service e.g an office cleaning business would use; office cleaning services, cheap office cleaning etc.
If you signed up for adwords as mentioned above you can access this from the tools link at the top of the adwords homepage, then just type in the keyword you would like information on. Once you have decided which keywords are best you can start to use them the most frequent throughout your site. Not too frequent tho because this can be seen as spam, if it starts to sound unnatural, your using it too much.
It comes as no surprise that nowadays most businesses have a website. If yours does not, you may run the risk of customers thinking your business isn’t very credible. You want to know that your pride and joy is going to be left in capable professional hands.
A combination of a good website, Facebook page and google business page would be the minimum I would suggest to get the more profitable private customers.
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Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can sometimes be confusing but at its most basic level it really is just communicating with people. You can choose to use paid options similar to the pay per click option above Or choose to market your business through word of mouth.
This can be as simple as speaking to as many people on facebook and twitter about your service.
Do you have a cleaning product which you could make a video review about to post on youtube? do you have many facebook friends who would be interested in your service? try to encourage your friends to like/share your posts.
This is one of the easiest things a small business can do to help their marketing strategy but not many businesses are doing it. If you have a website which has a CMS so you can edit your own content. You should write as much high quality content as you can about your business. If you have any tips or advice for your visitors or general indepth descriptions and reviews about your product or service, then write about it on a separate page.
This works hand in hand with the keyword planner because your content should Include your chosen keywords and should give you ideas of secondary keywords which maybe arent as popular but are still worth including in your content. You can then use any articles you write to to post as new content on facebook, twitter etc.
Use business directories
Using small business marketing directories can be a little spammy if done too much, but if you choose a couple of the biggest directories to place a free listing on, your website can utilise their years of being established and start to generate traffic to your website.
Be helpful – answer questions on forums and articles
if you can provide advice about a particular subject or answer questions related to your field you may find that posting on forums specefic to your sector can bring in alot of work. You find that questions are asked all the time via google, and google seems to love forum answers.
Try typing a question in to google. The chances are high that a forum Q&A website will appear in search results on page one. So this seems to be abit of a no brainer to me, post on popular forums that are specific to your niche and your Q&A post could be on page one.
People will see you profile and post so you can put links to your website and start generating traffic to your website. Dont be afraid to write back to a comment you have seen on a post which you know you can reply to. Its all about networking with people.
Follow these steps below and you will have a good starting point for your onlime marketing campaign, Now you can either learn how to professionally optimise your website yourself, or leave it to the experts. It may not be the best option to save money when it comes to online marketing and you could find yourself losing out on more sales/money/time by trying to do this yourself.
If you have any other great ideas, let me know in the contact form below and I may add to this post.