Running a business can be very challenging not only because of the current economic climate but also because of the way your customers are changing their habits when it comes to searching for the products and services that you offer.
As a Small Business Owner, you have to understand these changes in buying behaviour and use the Small Business Marketing strategies out there to ensure that your product and service is in front of your customers. And guess what, if you are not preparing your business for these changes, your competitors are.
So What Internet Marketing Strategies Should You Use to Drive Visitors To Your Business?
1)Your Website Position on the Web
Firstly more and more people are using the internet to find products and services. Ask any young person when is the last time they picked up a copy of the Yellow Pages. With this in mind, your small business marketing strategy must include your business having a web presence.
However statistics overwhelmingly show that 90% of searchers do not go past the first page of Google and that 40% click on the link at the top. Therefore it is no use just having a website; your website must come up in at least the top 3 position for the keyword relevant to your business.
This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which in simple terms is about showing the search engines that your website is the most relevant for the given search term and is done through the way your website is set up, the website content and through the links from other places on the internet to your website which proves to the search engines the credibility of your website.
2)Getting Your Business in Front of Your Local Customers
More and more people are turning to the internet and mobile phones to search for local products and services. The search engines like Google are recognising this trend and have created products to cater for this shift in searching behaviour.
Imagine this: you are out and about and are feeling hungry. You want to find a local Chinese restaurant. You take out your mobile, put into the search bar, Chinese restaurant and very cleverly, it will ascertain your geographic location and bring up Chinese restaurants nearest to you showing distance from your location, reviews, directions, phone numbers etc. The same for when you are searching for a local plumber, dentist, accountant, florist etc.
And so your Local Small Business Marketing Strategy must take advantage of platforms like Google Places, Bing and Yahoo Local, Facebook Places, Local Review Directories like Yelp and ensure that your business is found when a local search is made.
3)Pay per Click- The Fastest Way to Get onto the First Page of the Search Engines and generate Targeted leads
With Pay Per Click Marketing, your business can be on the first page of search engines generating targeted leads within minutes.
Since Google makes up 70% of the Pay Per Click (PPC) market, we will concentrate here on Google. PPC marketing with Google is called Google Adwords and it is the sponsored ads that come up on the top and the right hand side of the Google Pages. It is free for the ads to appear here and you only pay when someone clicks on your add and goes to your landing page. Therefore PPC marketing can be highly targeted and you can easily calculate the profitability of your PPC marketing.
Many small business owners make a big mistake of not using PPC Marketing to generate leads. This is because either they do not know enough about PPC or they have been led to believe that it is expensive and will not give them a return on their investment.
If done correctly, PPC can be a very powerful lead generation small business marketing strategy. In the PPC arena, Facebook PPC is showing a rising trend due to the number of Facebook users and with detailed user profile information available on Facebook, the PPC add can be even more targeted than Google Adwords.
4)Build Relationships with Customers and Generate Leads through Email Marketing
It is a common misconception that email marketing does not work and that most emails land up in the spam box or are deleted without having been read.
However, e-mail marketing, if done correctly, can be an inexpensive and quick way to reach a large audience. The key is in the way you collect emails. You have to get people to want to receive your mailings. To do this, you need to do permission mailing, which means having people either sign up on your Web site for such mailings or provide their e-mail addresses when they purchase something from your company. You need to have a rigorous system of collecting emails making sure that in all cases you have permission to email them.
Once you have an email system in place and your target audience is receiving valuable information, you have a ready market to make offers or advise them of new products etc.
5)Using the Power of Social Media to Gain Credibility and Generate Leads.
Why is Social Media important? For the simple reason that the way people are communicating online is changing and small business owners need to keep up with this changing trend!
Social Networking websites in the UK now account for 11% of all time spent online! In the past year the average time spent on social networking sites grew from 3 hours per month to 5.5 hours.
It is now one of the essential strategies of Small Business Marketing and for building a business online and driving a large amount of traffic to your website.
When we use the term social media we are referring more commonly to websites such as Twitter and Facebook and for businesses more specifically LinkedIn.
People join these networks and create profiles about themselves and share information, photos and videos with their friends or contacts. You can therefore have access to your friend's friends and spread your marketing message virally.
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