Online marketing can be a powerful tool for small business owners, when it’s used well. The tools are essentially free, costing you only your time and effort. However it’s important to be sure that you are strategic in your use of online marketing, so that the time and energy you invest isn’t wasted effort. Here are some tips to ensure that your online marketing brings results:
- Start with a Plan: Too many business owners set up social networking profiles for their businesses without a plan. Then they simply post each day or week without a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve beyond followers. But your social networking presence can be so much more than that if you put a little thought into it. So spend some time first thinking about what results you would like to see as a result of your online presence. Would you like to have more people become regular customers? Then focus on posts like specials that may attract first-time customers, and then following up with great information and excellent customer service related to what you have to offer. Would you like to be seen as a valuable part of the community? Then focus on highlighting local community service efforts which can lead to loyal customers. The point is to think about how you want to be perceived and who you want to attract, and then share content that’s related to your goal.
- Less is More: Most small businesses do better with just one or two online presences, rather than trying to be on every social network that exists. So pick the social network(s) where most of your target market and customers spend their time, and put some solid effort into engaging there, rather than spreading yourself too thin. You’ll be more likely to develop quality relationships that lead to additional business.
- Think Beyond the Promotion: Too often local businesses simply talk about their products and what they have to offer. To set yourself apart, focus on your community. Highlight a “fan of the week” and promote that individual and THEIR business or cause (they may send people to you that you wouldn’t reach otherwise.) Share content that will make your community think or laugh. Highlight community issues that are of interest to your followers. Become a source of useful information that people want to read and share, instead of just being a constant commercial. You’ll find your presence grows more quickly.
- Plan Ahead: It’s harder to produce good content if you have to think of it while you’re trying to do twelve other things. So create an editorial calendar each month, and set aside a solid block of time to write your content for the upcoming month. Then you’ll be more likely to build up excitement around promotions in a logical way, and have a chance to do the research to find content your community will appreciate. By taking the time to plan, you’ll be more likely to engage your community and grow your online presence.
Online marketing can be a great way to find more customers and prospects for your business. By following these tips, you’ll have a more strategic presence that leads to growth.
Do you market your business online? What’s your best tip for growing your online presence? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!