Did you know that there are over 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S.?
In such a competitive field, marketing is an asset for small business owners. This is especially the case for urban local businesses.
If you’re a small business owner, you may worry that you simply don’t have the time or money to develop comprehensive advertising campaigns!
It is possible, however, to market your business effectively within a budget. Digital marketing gives every company an opportunity to build its brand without breaking the bank.
Keep reading for tips to boost your online presence and expand your client base.
1. Build a Website That Converts
Your business website is your digital business card. It gives potential customers a snapshot of what you have to offer.
But it’s even more powerful than that! Visitors are starting to judge companies based on their websites alone.
So, if you don’t have a website in place–and about 30% of small businesses do not–you could be losing scores of customers. If you do have a website, it should act as your 24/7 sales representative, converting leads for you.
Step up your website game before you implement any other digital marketing efforts!
If you don’t have a website, build one now. You can set one up yourself through a platform like WordPress or Squarespace or hire professional designers. Read more here.
For those business owners who do have a website in place, check out your current design. Is it simple? Does it clearly convey your brand?
High-converting websites have simple designs and navigation. They stay away from stock images and copy, too. Do your best to use authentic photos and to write your own, fresh copy.
You can always hire a professional photographer and/or copywriter to tackle both of these things.
Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Use responsive design so that your content can adapt to fit all screen sizes, for example, and make sure your site loads quickly. If it takes longer than three seconds to load your content, you’re losing customers!
At the end of the day, your website should be user-driven, in both design and copy. Learn more about this here.
2. Optimize Your Content
Your website can do a lot of marketing work on its own if you do it right. There are other steps you should be taking, however, to make it more visible on the world wide web.
One of these is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Most people turn to search engines like Google or Bing to search for small businesses–don’t miss out on this opportunity for securing great traffic!
SEO involves optimizing your web content for search terms your customers type into Google. These terms could be anything, such as “local bakery in Santa Fe” or “auto parts store.”
When you optimize your site, you make it more likely to appear at the top of search results. This is where most searchers will be spending most of their time.
There’s a lot that goes into SEO, and more than mere keywords. Check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide to begin.
Then visit our post on optimizing your website for maximum return.
3. Claim Your Google Listing
All local businesses should be on Google Maps. Are you?
Claim your Google listing today if you haven’t done so already. Registering your business through Google literally puts it on the map.
It also gives you a chance to share more relevant details about your business with online searchers. Registered businesses can display Google Reviews, hours of operation, pictures, and select services in search results!
Plus, profiles are entirely free.
4. Nurture a Social Media Channel
Small business owners should be harnessing the power of social media channels when building their online presence. If used wisely, social media can support all of your other digital marketing efforts.
Social media channels can also drive traffic to your website, where the magic ultimately happens!
Choose one social media platform for digital marketing. This platform should align with your brand image and niche market.
Photographers will likely make use of Instagram, for example, given its focus on images. A local legal practice, however, may opt for Facebook or Twitter.
Post relevant content regularly on your social media business profile. Always incorporate a link or call to action in each post. This will encourage website traffic, gather subscribers, and even boost sales!
5. Be Active on Forums
What do customers respond best to? Authority. With all of your advertising efforts, it’s important to show that you know your stuff in your industry.
You can do this by browsing online public forums such as Quora or Reddit. Find questions related to your business or industry and respond to them here!
This gives you a chance to showcase your expertise and incorporate a link to a blog post, article, or website. Link building can build your domain authority, which can play a role in SEO.
6. Start a Blog
Blogs can help you further build authority, giving small business owners a chance to address relevant topics on their own websites. Plus, blog posts give you more material for SEO!
If you’ve spent time on public forums, you likely have a sense of the questions your customers are asking. Build a list of blog topics related to these questions. (Your topics should also include SEO keywords.)
Ideally, you should be posting concise, helpful blog posts once a week. Make sure you optimize them for SEO and promote each post on social media.
7. Manage Online Reviews
Did you know that 90% of consumers pay attention to online reviews before they even go to a business?
Reviews and ratings should be a huge component of your digital marketing for this reason! Make sure you have listings on relevant review platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Google.
Don’t just let customers do the work here, however. Gather reviews by providing customers with incentives, including discounts and sample products.
Once you get some reviews, manage these. Respond to each review, positive or negative. In your response, incorporate some SEO keywords to further optimize your online presence.
Final Thoughts: Digital Marketing for Small Business
These are just a handful of effective digital marketing strategies every small business should bring on board. If you’re worried about budget, breathe easy–almost all of these strategies are cost-effective or entirely free!
What happens now?
As a local company, you depend on community-based customers. Visit this post for even more tips about getting local (and global!) business.