Effective Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Digital Marketing has completely revolutionized the way businesses propose their products and services to potential customers.

Today, you don’t have to watch television and read the newspaper to know about what is the latest mobile your favorite company is launching. You are more likely to know about it while scrolling through Facebook newsfeed or surfing on Google.

Naturally, companies are investing a huge amount of money into digital marketing.

But, for small businesses, things are not so simple.

With limited funds and small target audience, they are often clueless about how to market their products in the digital space. Well, don’t worry anymore.

There are 5 effective digital marketing campaigns that you can use to boost your reach, no matter how small your business is:

  1. Search Engine Marketing

Almost everyone uses search engines to find various websites. Ever noticed the number of results?

Yeah, there is a heap of results spread over countless pages, but, you only care about the first page. In most cases, people prefer the top three listings on the search results page. All you need to do is be one of those top three.

This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) steps in.

SEO is a technique of getting higher ranking positions on the search results page by using specific keywords.

These keywords are both related to your niche and more probably to be used by a majority of users.

When you use SEO to market your product or service, it becomes Search Engine Marketing.

Here is how you could use SEO for planning an efficient marketing campaign:

  • Go for keywords that are related to the products or services you offer. However, you also need to ensure that the keywords would be commonly used by users.
  • You need to efficiently incorporate the keywords into your website. It might appear that “the more, the merrier” works in case of SEO as well, but that is untrue. The optimum keyword density ranges between 1-2% of the total content. Higher keyword density may compel search indexes to blacklist your website.
  • Just using keywords in the main content isn’t enough. You need to incorporate them in the meta tags, headline, URL and page title. This increases the chances of reaching top search results.
  • Inter-linking of your website pages to each other is a great strategy. If you used keywords in forming these links, it becomes even more effective.
  1. Local Search Marketing

If you have a differentiation of customers between global and local market, then local search marketing plays an important role.

While SEO works well for potential customers anywhere on the globe, you need to pay special attention to local customers.

In case you are a brick-and-mortar shop or offer offline services, this becomes more important.

Google, specifically, offers local listings of businesses according to location. As such, you must aim to capture your local audience, which comes under local search marketing.

The technique is rather vague because it combines methods from various other marketing techniques. However, it is a separate marketing campaign because its objective is unique: targeting the local audience.

Yet, you don’t have to restrict local marketing only to Google. For a more comprehensive campaign, you need to target every medium that your local customers might use to reach you.

Offline mediums, like newspapers, must also be leveraged. Becoming local sponsors of a sports team, cultural clubs etc. also works great in getting recognized in the local market. All these tactics contribute in getting recognized in the local market.

  1. Content Marketing

As the customers become more and more aware, simply telling them to buy your product won’t work anymore. You have to give them reasons, and explain those reasons.

This is where content marketing comes into the picture.

Content marketing, in simple terms, means marketing through your content. Now, how is it done?

To begin with, maintain a blog on your website. Fill it with informative content regarding your niche.

If you are selling kitchenware, then write articles about how to effectively clean frying pans or how to maintain your kitchen.

If you are selling bike spare parts, then upload videos about how to change fuel or check for faults.

The main idea is simple: Everyone is selling, but you are selling with knowledge. Your content could be what makes you different from the rest.

Content marketing is not a new idea; only that today, blogs have replaced booklets. Giving away free knowledge to your customers instills in them a confidence about your brand, and they find it easier to trust you.

Content marketing is not restricted to online content, actually.

You can provide them with a downloaded material, which they could access at will. Instead of blogs or videos, you could also hold webinars or provide them with free tools.

Customers have an innate desire to get the most out of a company. If you are giving them the product/service AND free information and utilities, they would clearly show an affinity towards you.

One thing you must be careful about is not going over-the-top with your product. You are aiming your content at an impartial audience, so it must be impartial too.

Throw in your product and brand here-and-there, but do not make the content solely about your brand.

  1. Social Media Marketing

Social media is perhaps the most hyped and talked-about marketing mode. But, it is not as magical as people make it out to be. It does not guarantee instant success, and it definitely cannot make you big alone.

However, as social media users multiply each year, one cannot ignore the medium. Social media serve as a great opportunity to market your product and services.

Let’s understand how it works?

The most basic end-goal of social media marketing, like any other marketing, is to make customers aware of your company.

Creating a Facebook page or Twitter profile may not be enough, but you cannot ignore these steps.

If users have a choice between visiting the official website of a company and its FB page, they often choose the latter.

Thus, it is important that your social media accounts are well-maintained, whether or not they are getting enough traffic.

Social media also allows you to showcase your products and services in various mediums. Customers have a desire to know everything about a company before they invest their time and money into it.

In case of restaurants, customers prefer viewing photos and menu before visiting it. You can do all this via social media.

The most effective use of social media marketing is establishing communication with the customers. Most customers would prefer sending an FB message or a tweet, instead of calling or emailing you for queries.

Having a strong presence on social media ensures that you are always available for customers, which helps to create a trust factor.

Last, but not the least, is the traffic you could gather.

Creating interesting and viral content on social media could build you a significant following. You would need to invest in content creation, but it is definitely worth it.

  1. Email marketing

One of the reasons why email marketing is so popular is because it is value for money. With hardly any associated cost, the ROI is excellent.

Despite its effectiveness, email marketing is extremely simple and straightforward method. No wonder most companies invest in it.

Email marketing is all about creating a list of existing and potential customers and then emailing them about offers and catalog.

It is effective because you form a mailing list with the consent of the users. People are more likely to show interest in your offers if they took the decision to be part of your marketing campaign.

Newsletters are an essential part of email marketing. There are many reasons why newsletters are both effective and necessary.

Some of the reasons are:

  • The newsletter helps to be in constant touch with your customers. Even if they don’t read it, just seeing the name of your company regularly in their emails help to build brand recognition.
  • Newsletters are a concise way to tell people everything you want them to know. If you are opening a new branch, planning a sale or launching a new product, you can always inform them via newsletters.
  • Newsletters are fast yet cheap. It costs almost nothing to send a newsletter but can show results within a day. If you consider other marketing methods, this is definitely very fast.

However, few things must be kept in mind while planning an email marketing campaign.

To begin with, the emails must be catchy yet professional.

Baiting headlines might catch user attention initially but would definitely put them off later. Your emails must convey information that could be potentially useful for the user.

Excessive use of rich media would only serve as a distraction.

Other options

Apart from the full-fledged marketing campaigns that we mentioned above, there are many other things you could try out in order to improve the reach of your products and services:

Surveys and Rewards

One important part of any marketing campaign is to understand what your customers need, and how to improvise in that arena.

Surveys are a useful tool to do that.

Asking your customers to fill a survey helps you to get valuable feedback. Even though there is always an option to give feedback through email, most users don’t opt for it unless they have some urgent grievances.

Surveys, on the other hand, prompt them to answer what you want to know. More importantly, surveys give you insights into the minds of the users without any cost.

Rewards are another great way of enhancing customer experience.

Rewards provide incentives to users to be more involved in your business. For instance, you can provide free content to users who subscribe to your mailing lists that would otherwise cost them.

If some users are more interested in your company, you can offer them discounts or exclusive coupon codes.

Rewards have been proven to enhance customer involvement, even though they might marginally affect your profits.

However, since almost every form of marketing cost you something, rewards are not a bad way to get more users.

Web Analytics and Web Intelligence

Despite using the best marketing strategies, the conversion rate is never 100%. Multiple factors could hinder you from reaching the user base you are targeting.

The problem arises when you are unable to do anything about it. This could be solved with Web Analytics.

As the name signifies, web analytics is concerned with what you do on the internet and analyzing the data thus generated. It is a great method to understand:

  • what percentage of users you are actually reaching,
  • where the money is getting lost in dead marketing, and
  • what you could do to change it.

There are many tools you could use to monitor your marketing campaign and see how effective it is. Google Analytics and Google Adwords Conversion Tracker are two such tools.

Not only it saves you money you spent on dead marketing, but also saves you a lot of time.

Maintain Public Relations

Most companies ignore the importance of PR, thinking it to be something meant only for big firms.

This is a mistake.

Public relations are an important part of any brand that wants to deal with customers. PR is all about maintaining good relations with the general public and creating a good face for the company.

While most of the time PR department works in the shadows, sometimes they emerge as a lifesaver.

In cases where a company is caught in a scandal, the mantle falls on the PR department. PR is responsible to sort out the situation without causing any damage to the image of the company.

Public Relations also play a key role in managing the social media account of a company and interacting with existing and potential users.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is the need for any company for surviving the competition today.

Fortunately, with more than one digital marketing campaign to choose from, there is always a scope to emerge as a winner.

While it is the quality of your product/services that matters in the end, marketing is what brings you the customers in the first place.

Author: nishagarg

An affiliate marketer cum blogger. I love writing IM product reviews as Internet Marketing is my PASSION. Have many things on my plate to accomplish, but I strongly believe in the phrase "Slow and Steady WINS The RACE".

2 thoughts on “Effective Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business”

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