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Online Marketing for Small Businesses: The Basics 

Business strategy focuses on taking the moving parts of your business, and making them run permanently, and most importantly – profitably. Marketing strategy focuses on the identification of your ideal customer, and finding the best ways to win, and keep their attention. 

To get an even better idea of what marketing strategy is all about, let’s start with a set of simple questions to ask yourself before selecting the right digital marketing tools:

  • How am I offering my customers great value?
  • What makes us stand out from the competition?
  • What is my growth strategy?
  • How will I scale my business?

The answer to these questions will make up the first paragraphs in your marketing strategy. Trust us, it needn’t be the length of a best-selling book! It’s worth taking a little time to think about your response to these questions, as this will determine our starting point.

With over 3.2 billion Internet users, it’s impossible to deny the growing importance of online marketing. Let’s see which online marketing tools can help you to achieve your best outcomes.

Business Website

A professional website is a tool that tells people about your company and services, plus helps people find your business among millions of other choices. How easy or difficult it is for people to navigate your website impacts your bottom line, as well as the likelihood that visitors will become customers. No matter what type of business you’re running it stands to benefit from an optimized website – whether it’s a single page or highly customized.

Website Optimization

If you think that simply building a website will instantly bring you new clients, please stop and read this first. There is only one way for that to happen: you have a highly unique product or service, backed by a solid PR campaign to get people searching for it. If this doesn’t sound like your small business, how many other companies sell the same thing you do? Naturally, they all want to have online customers just as much as you do. Website optimization or SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”) is one of the elements in your marketing mix that focuses on bringing, and increasing Internet traffic to your site. How? This topic deserves a separate article, but in short: optimizing all site pages to be in compliance with search engines rules, using best practices and technical optimization of the site’s code, referring to other websites, testing various ways to mention your company name on different websites, and using referral links.

Social Media Management

Who doesn’t have a social media account right now? 80% of US citizens have at least one of social media account. So, the good news is, you have a lot of chances to meet with your target audience on at least one of the major social media platforms! Facebook has the largest share of social media users, followed by Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media management for business includes setting up a business page, creating engaging, valuable content, and engaging with fans to grow a following. Finally, we convert and retain these followers as loyal customers.

Online Advertising

One of the fastest ways to get your business in front of potential customers is to grab their attention with advertising. Some of the most effective forms of digital marketing are search engine ads (Google and Bing) and social media ads.

Content Marketing

Curating and distributing valuable content like videos, blogs, infographics, podcasts, and social media posts attract, and acquire a well-defined audience – a demographic who need what you offer. Content marketing is relevant to other marketing strategies as well, like SEO, social media management, and brand loyalty.

Email Marketing

E-marketing is the digital evolution of traditional direct mail marketing. Both campaign forms include pre-defined goals, targeting, and set intervals. According to Harris interactive 81% of US online shoppers were hooked by emails prior to making additional purchases either online or in a store. Though other means of communication continue to grow, email is still the industry leader.

Affiliate Marketing

This form of marketing is one of the oldest, not to mention flourishing. Affiliate marketing is also the foundation of newer tactics, such as influencer and referral marketing. This type of marketing leverages your sales network, and builds brand awareness through your affiliates – people who want to promote your product or service in exchange for an
incentive (usually commission based).

What is your best digital marketing mix?
It can often be identified based on the specifics of your industry. If you are a design studio, you should be focused on the platforms where you can show the results of your work, visually. Or, if you happen to provide financial services, this warrants a different approach. In this type of industry, you can demonstrate thought-leadership, and expertise by offering
practical tips that speak to your target audiences’ needs.

The options for your digital marketing toolkit are almost endless – there are so many that can work for you, but only once you’ve clearly identified the value you provide your customers, and a consistent way of staying in touch with them.

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