Small businesses are maybe small, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of unleashing a big marketing campaign. The Internet world can become flat for both small and big companies. In this marketing arena, the ground can be even that small business owners and entrepreneurs may have the capability to beat their bigger competitors. Small businesses can create powerful online marketing campaigns even with a low financial budget. Thus, small business owners and entrepreneurs should not ignore the power of Internet marketing. They have to leverage its power to grow their business and achieve success. The following are 5 major online marketing strategies for your small business:
1. Search Engine Marketing
Small business owners have to leverage the search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, to attract more customers, build lasting relationships with them, and increase profitability in a stable manner. Search engine marketing (SEM) can either be paid search marketing (PPC marketing) or organic search marketing (search engine optimization or SEO).
Paid search engine marketing includes PPC (pay-per-click) programs like Google AdWords and Bing Ads that enable businesses to show their ads in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) based on agreed PPC rate. On the other hand, SEO or Search Engine Optimization involves improving the elements of a website like its title, description, content, keywords, images, structure, navigation, outbound links, and inbound links in an attempt to increase its search engine algorithm score and rank higher in the SERPs in order to drive web traffic from the search engines and convert this traffic in to profitable actions.
Small business owners, who want to save money, can learn SEO and do this form of online marketing by themselves. SEO may be difficult and time-consuming but the effect and reward could also be long-lasting. Small business owners should do on-page optimization and off-page optimization on their company website or blog.
On-page optimization involves processes that are usually done within a website, such as creating high-quality content and optimizing site’s structure (Meta tags, title, description, navigation, link structure, etc.) for the search engines, as well as for human searchers. On the other hand, off-page SEO are processes that are accomplished outside a website such as link-building tactics that include guest posting, submitting a website to web directories, linkbaiting and other tactics.
2. Social Media Marketing
People are usually using the search engines to find specific information that they need or want, but social media websites are the places where people are usually hanging out. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon are some of the top social media places where people hangout to interact with their friends and get updates from what’s happening in the world. That is why many businesses, small or large, are already utilizing social media for their marketing campaigns.
If you haven’t implemented social media marketing for your small business, then you have to start now. You can begin by creating a blog, Facebook Page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, Google+ page, LinkedIn profile, Pinterest profile page and other pages offered for free by top social networking sites on the Internet. Remember that creating profiles and pages are just the beginning of your social media marketing campaign. You still have to offer useful content, high-quality products, and interesting stuff to your social media followers to influence them and make them loyal customers.
3. Content Marketing
Search engine marketing and social media marketing wouldn’t be effective without the mix of content marketing. A website or a blog may top the search engine results pages, but without a relevant and useful page content (article, image, video, etc.) offered to visitors, it wouldn’t convert to long-term profit. A Facebook Page may also have a lot of subscribers, but without interesting content, these subscribers may not interact with your business and make profitable actions for your company.
Therefore, you have to mix content marketing with your search engine and social media marketing. Content marketing doesn’t only involves creating high-quality articles, images and videos that best describe your products and services, but it directly involves producing high-quality products and services. In other words, your products are your real content, and not only the content of your website or social media pages that describe those products.
4. Relationship Marketing.
Another very important strategy that you should integrate with your Internet marketing campaign is relationship marketing. You can top the search engines results pages, you can have a strong online presence on social media, you can offer high-quality products, but if you don’t know how to maintain good relationships with your customers, your online marketing campaign may falter.
Customer retention is vital to business success because it doesn’t only give your business profitability but also stability. Customers are not only looking for good products, but they also need good extra services or post-sale customer support. Hence, don’t just intensify your products and online promotion, but also make sure that you and your sales personnel are delivering those products with a smile to your customers. Moreover, always listen to your customers’ feedback to learn how you can serve them better online and offline.
5. Word-of-mouth Marketing
If you can combine all the four online marketing strategies above, it will create a powerful marketing campaign that will encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Thus, you have to take your marketing campaign in a holistic manner. You have to make sure that they are collaborating each other and working as one. Word-of-mouth marketing is actually a side-effect form of marketing that results to a good mix of promotion, product, price, place and people. It naturally happens when you create a good product, set a good price, make it conveniently accessible, promote it effectively, and put sales people who truly care for your customers.
With word-of-mouth marketing, your products and services sell itself to the right customers. Moreover, your customers become your own marketers as they are the ones spreading the good news about your products, services, brand and business.
There are still other online marketing strategies that you can implement for your business success. But the 5 strategies above are in my opinion are the most fundamental strategies that every business owner or marketer should not ignore. Other online marketing strategies may include affiliate marketing, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing and other more specific strategies or tactics that small businesses must also explore. Finally, remember that online marketing is not only about the Internet and other technical stuff. Online marketing carries all the fundamental elements of marketing, that is, product, price, place, promotion and people.