When it come to marketing, sometimes it's difficult as a small business to know where your time and effort--and money--should go to produce good results. The advantage of being a small business is that you can be agile and implement marketing strategies rather quickly. The disadvantage of being small is that sometimes the marketing budget is not very deep. But there are several effective ways that every small business can use to market their business, and with the exception of a little time and effort, most are free. We share several effective ways of marketing your small business below.
More than 90% of consumers are looking for local businesses. Is it any wonder that Google modified their layout to give higher ranking to results based on your location? This is where local SEO strategies are crucial. Take the time to optimize your site for local business, or create separate landing pages and content for the local segment of your online traffic. This is an easy way to increase business, especially if you have a physical storefront.
Blogging is a simple way to build brand awareness and contribute to the global business community, which includes your consumers. Here are some ways to use your blog for the forces of good:
- • Comment on relevant blogs and leave your URL. This doesn’t mean spamming with a link. It means adding to the conversation. Your back link becomes a way that people can see where your comment came from.
- • Respond to comments on your own blog. If you have a comment field (and you should), be willing to respond. Show that you listen and take action.
- • Guest write for high profile blogs and ezines. Find out who the major players are in your niche and see if you can write for them. Establish yourself as an expert in your own right.
- • Accept guest writers for your blog. It results in free content for you and good faith networking for both you and your guest writer.
- • Share good ideas that you’ve found online. This is related to networking. Show that you are active in the niche community and willing to share the good ideas of others along with your own, and you will find others who are more than willing to share yours.
Utilize Social Media
You should already be working in social media to expand your online presence. But just having a Facebook fan page is not enough. Be sure to stay active on Google+ and Twitter, among other popular social media sites. Keep your content fresh and unique and try not to simply copy the same content across all outlets all of the time (i.e. Facebook post = Tweet).
- • Run contests, hold events, write posts on your Facebook page.
- • Use Twitter daily.
- • Add social sharing buttons to your own content and products.
- • Start using Pinterest for your business.
- • Use StumbleUpon to get your own articles recognized as well as to find ways to interact with other good media in your niche.
- • Post videos on YouTube and Vimeo and respond to others’ material (with a link).
- • Network within your niche on sites such as LinkedIn.
Do Search Engine Optimization
SEO is not a switch you flip. It's a process that takes continual attention and effort to keep your business at the top of search engine results. Be willing to invest resources, namely time and effort (possibly dedicated personnel) to search engine optimization. You may not be able to afford spending the necessary amount of time and effort involved, and you may not have the know-how, so this is one important task that you might want to outsource to a reputable SEO company.
Share Your Knowledge
You will be amazed at what sharing a little knowledge and advice does for your website and business. Have a Q&A section on your business’ website and answer visitors' questions. Answer industry-related questions elsewhere such as on Yahoo Answers or Quora. Join niche forums and interact with others. Or create your own forum on your website and interact with the members. Sharing your knowledge positions you as an expert in your field, and customers will turn to you when they're ready to buy.
Find ways to network within your niche market and those related markets that touch your space. A few simple suggestions would include:
- • Chamber of Commerce meetings
- • Hosting online events
- • Attending online trade shows
Solicit Customer Reviews
It's a little-known fact that customer reviews can in fact help your website's rankings. They can also turn potential customers into paying customers if you proudly display some on your site. Additionally, you can turn customer reviews and inquiries into articles and interviews. Or use the data collected from interactions with customers and turn them into PR media. Of course, always ask permission before using a customer's real name.
Create Online Press Releases
Online pressers can be uploaded at any number of press release services for little or no cost. Create a good press release once and release it to the various outlets. Better yet, tweak it each time to avoid any potential spam flagging.
Now none of these suggestions are quick fixes. Each requires an investment of time and effort, but they can yield great dividends in the coming year. The worst thing that you can do is hunker down and do nothing and hope for the best. Almost every one of the above action items can be accomplished for little to no additional expense, but all do require some time and effort. If you wisely choose to make the necessary investment, you will position your business to see growth both in revenue and market share during the coming year.
About the author: Written by Andrew Scherer. To learn more information on 2013 business marketing and strategies, visit SEOM Company.
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