Online Marketing Primer

As a business owner, researching the seemingly endless online marketing options may be overwhelming at first. The internet is full of web development companies and online marketing firms that try to convince business owners to invest in all kinds of products and services. If you are uncertain about the best way to start promoting your brand online, the following provides simple ways to start an online brand for a small business.

Social Media Strategy

Online Marketing for Small BusinessesSocial media sites are great tools for businesses to connect to customers, capture new leads and improve its website’s rank on major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. However, as important as it is for a business to have social media accounts, it is even more important to use them appropriately.

  • Do a few things well: Rather than try to be on every social media site, pick only a few that are most likely to have your target audience and actively participate on them.
  • Understand the platform: Different social settings can call for very different behavior, which is also true for social media. Try to look at the ways other users already interact on the social media site to get a better understanding of the ways to participate.
  • Monitor social media sites: Customers use social media to communicate with businesses and expect responses to be made promptly. Failing to check social media sites can result in customer dissatisfaction.

Developing a Professional Website

A professional website does not mean complex or expensive per se. In fact, a small business should create a website that is well laid out, easy to navigate and engages the target audience.
Small businesses drive website traffic with the following:

  • Demonstrate Value: Keep the language clear and easy to read. Avoid industry jargon and focus on the benefits of your products and services.
  • Mobile Design: Allow customers to visit your website from any location with mobile and tablet version.
  • Frequent Updates: Websites that are active with frequent updates are heavily favored by search engines. Consider adding a blog to your website and publishing content on a regular basis.

Local Business Search Optimization

Local business search sites are a powerful tool for allowing customers to find your business online. These are websites that provide reviews and other information about businesses, such as Superpages, Yelp, Citysearch etc. In addition to submitting a website to major search engines, find business directories that will help potential customers find you online.

  • Provide details: Add as much relevant content in your listing as possible, including contact information, link to your website, photos, videos and the products or services the business offers.
  • Update information: Remove any out dated content, such as old contact information.
  • Niche directories: Local directories that are relevant to your business can provide better results. These directories also appeal to an audience that is interested in your industry and will likely drive more traffic to a website.
  • Build over time: Avoid submitting to as many directories as possible all at once. Search engines look unfavorably on businesses that just spam directories.