3 Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses to Yield Big Results
May 4, 2016
Running a small business is among one of the most rewarding things a person can do. At times, however, it can also be the most challenging. While search engines have made it possible for small mom and pop shops to have a global presence, they also thrust businesses into direct competition with the big box stores and powerhouse brands. But luckily, there are always tactics that small businesses can employ to continue to see growth. So, in honor of National Small Business Week, we’ve highlighted three tasks that small businesses can easily accomplish, to yield big results.
Even When You’re Thinking Big, Don’t Forget to Think Local
One of the best things that a small business can do to improve their online presence is to create and optimize their Google My Business page. While this may seem like a no-brainer for some, you’d be surprised how many small business don’t take advantage of this free tool from Google. According to Google, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.” Small businesses can begin to capitalize on these motivated users, simply by setting up their local page. The Google My Business page allows you to share pertinent information about your business, including your address, operating hours, photos of your business, and more. In addition, local search continues to evolve, it’s opening the door for integrations with other CRMs and marketing tools, such as DemandForce and Intuit, allowing customers to take action, such as booking an appointment, directly from search results.
Get Into Your Customer Inbox
With 61% of online adults using email on a daily basis, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers and is among the most powerful marketing tools available. In fact, it’s estimated that email marketing has a 3800% ROI. Email marketing is valuable because it allows small businesses to build a relationship with their customers, even when face-to-face communication isn’t possible. It’s also a great way to keep current and prospective customers up to date on the latest products and services that you offer. This all creates a familiarity which can mean more for your bottom line. In fact,
89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. If you’re not using email marketing in your arsenal, you could be missing out on an abundance of leads and sales.
Getting started with email marketing doesn’t have to be expensive for small businesses, either. Tools like MailChimp offer free plans for marketers with 3,000 subscribers or less, and their monthly plans for those with larger marketing lists are affordable, as well. With pre-stocked templates and a user-friendly interface, MailChimp makes it easy to put together a mailer. Not sure what to include in your emails? The key is to keep it simple. Sharing a once-per-month update on your latest product additions, ongoing sales, or other business news can help you make sure that your business stays fresh in your consumer’s mind. You can also use email as a channel to survey customers on their wants and needs, or incentivize them to leave reviews for your business.
It is estimated that more than 76% of all Internet users are on social media, with 1.4 billion users on Facebook alone each month. And people aren’t just passively signing on, either. In fact, the average person spends 1 hour and 40 minutes per day on social media. It’s important for small businesses to have a presence on the top social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and (depending on the business type) Pinterest. Making sure that you have profiles on each of these channels allows you to be in control of your brand conversation, and make sure that your customers can find you – regardless of their platform of choice.
For some small business owners, social media can seem like a time-consuming task. And while having a dedicated social media person can go a long way toward improving engagement and reach on social media, it doesn’t mean businesses who don’t have that in their budget should completely ignore the medium. There are a variety of tools, including Social Oomph, HootSuite and PostPlanner, which allow for post automation, so you can schedule out posts in advance and trigger engagement with users rather than spend hours a day monitoring each channel.
Not sure what to share on social media? Keep it authentic. Social media users are looking for genuine interactions, so feel free to share behind-the-scenes photos of your office and staff. Essentially, “let users in” so that they can relate to your brand and feel compelled to interact. You can also post the latest news from your business, repurpose your email campaigns, or share posts from other partner brands and fellow local businesses.
Try It Out!
Small business owners have a lot to juggle, and with the ever changing online landscape, it can seem difficult to keep up and understand where to invest your efforts. These three tips are tried-and-true practices that can help you improve your online presence and grow your customer base. So give them a shot, and give us a shout out on Facebook to let us know how it goes.