What Every Local Business Owner Should Know About Online Marketing
Marketing has always been an exciting part of being in business. There’s something thrilling about getting the word out about your business, product, or service. There’s no business out there quite like yours. No one else offers exactly what you offer. That means something to you and to your customers.
However, for many businesses, there is something about online marketing that’s extremely intimidating. How in the world do you fully capture exactly what your business or product is and does? How, exactly should you market your business in a way that will really resonate with your audience and show just how different your business is from everything else out there?
These days, so much of marketing is done on the web. That’s exciting news for you as a small business if you are using the Internet to promote your business. It means that marketing is finally and fully in your hands. It levels the playing field against the big guys and your competitors.
Using the web, you can successfully market your business so that potential customers from all round the world can discover your business, even if you are have small budget. In fact there are many great, free ways to market online.
There are also many incredible paid advertising opportunities that allow you to target your exact audience like never before. There’s a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to marketing your business on the web.
It Starts With Your Website
It might seem obvious, but it’s shocking how many business owners want to successfully market their business on the web but they don’t even have a website (or don’t have a well optimized or mobile friendly website). That’s a big mistake and they will be left behind if they don’t act soon.
There are tons of different ways to market your business online, but you need a central hub where your customers can find you and learn more about you and what you have to offer. That hub will be your blog or website, and from the beginning it should be branding who you are and what you stand for.
Your website is where you’ll write about your company and products. You’ll post helpful articles, videos, and/or audio.
You’ll interact with your customers and readers via a blog. They’ll get excited about your projects and get to know you on a more personal level.
You’ll have opt-in forms on your website so people can join your list. This is the heart of online marketing—owning a list you can write to, promote to, and build relationships through. We’ll talk more about that soon. For now, know that it’s important for your business.
Building Relationships as Part of Marketing
It might not seem like it on the surface, but building relationships is a very important part of marketing. Why? Because the relationships you have among your target audience and other heavy hitters in your niche partially determines how successful your marketing is.
Those who have solid relationships and good reputations have an easier time making sales, gaining joint venture partners and affiliates, and so on.
How do you build relationships?
A big part of your marketing and relationship building will come from your activities and presence online. That means forum marketing, interacting on social sites, commenting on your blog and blogs of others, and so much more. Be present and helpful online. Get to know people.
People buy from, and pay attention to the marketing of, people they know, like, and trust. If you want your marketing to be much more effective, it just makes sense to make relationship building a big part of your marketing strategy.
Getting the Word Out About Your Brand as Part of Marketing
- What is your company and what does it stand for?
- How is your business different from similar businesses?
- When you want people to think of your brand, what do you want them to think of?
These are all important questions to ask yourself. You should have a solid idea of what your brand is and how you’re going to present yourself to others. You’ll spread word of your brand all over the web as part of your marketing.
Come up with a tagline for your business, if you don’t have one already. Come up with a consistent graphic and logo and/or color scheme that you use on your products and web properties. People should easily be able to identify you and your brand as part of your marketing efforts.
What’s your purpose? How do you want to be remembered and thought about?
List Building and Online Marketing
We’ve mentioned already that list building is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It’s one thing to have a presence on social media or something like that. That’s all very well… but you need to build a list.
A list is something you have control and ownership over. It’s where you can really get to know your customers and they can get to know you.
When you have a list, you can email your promotions and offers and free information of value and recommendations, whether there’s any financial gain in it for you or not. You can get people excited about the new things you’re working on.
Everything you do in your marketing—from paid ads, to social media, to SEO efforts, should all lead to building your list and improving your relationship with the people on your list. It’s the most important part of online business success and it always will be.
Social Media and Online Marketing
Social media is a very important part of marketing on the web. In fact, it’s all but expected that your business be on social media these days. That’s a big part of what this is all about—being where your customers are.
You should create a Facebook page and/or a Facebook group. Take a look at how other successful people in your niche are handling social media and consider emulating and brainstorming strategies based on what they’re doing successfully.
You can use social media for so many things. It’s a great way to drive traffic to your list and web properties, it’s an awesome way to build relationships, and it’s ideal for showcasing that you’re an authority in your niche—someone to watch and follow.
Sales Copy and the Power of Persuasion
Part of marketing on the web is understanding how to write web copy and the power of persuasion. The web runs on content. Since you’re in business and you’re marketing yourself online, it’s important to understand the language of marketing.
Study copywriting and persuasion. It can be as simple as grabbing a few books on Amazon, reading some of my content on how to write copy, studying and emulating (not copying) copywriters and marketers you admire. And, most importantly of all, by practicing.
Your power to write effective copy will shine through in everything you do online. Grab hold of that power to market on the web. Understand your audience and write directly to the needs, passions, and desires of your audience and you’ll do well.
There will be plenty of episodes inside this site about copywriting, so be sure to take advantage of them.
Paid Ads and Online Marketing
We’ve mentioned free ways of marketing online at this point. What about running paid ads? They can be extremely effective. You can use paid ads to see how effective a squeeze page or sales page is, for example. It’s quick and easy data you can gather in hours instead of weeks or months like you’d have to wait with many free methods.
Facebook ads are particularly effective because they allow you to target your audience very narrowly. Part of this is knowing exactly who your audience is. You set your budget, figure out a way to get those who click your ad to stick around, and then have a plan about what to do with that traffic.
That’s not the only option, of course. Google Adwords ads can also be very effective. There are certainly other players in town.
Running paid ads can pay off many times over. Many web business owners shy away from paying for ads because there are so many ways to market that are easy and free.
At the same, time, there are drawbacks to those methods. Paid ads can help you save time and help you earn more money with less effort. If nothing else, paid ads are perfect to use alongside free methods like social media.
Bringing It All Together To Successfully Market Your Business
We could go on and on about marketing your business on the web. This article was designed to give you a solid overview so you can move forward to effectively market your business on the web.
It is our job to keep you informed and to be prepared. If you are starting to take your business online, keep in mind that your marketing message is important. You need to be branding yourself from the very beginning, with consistency.
We live in exciting times. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new or experienced, it doesn’t matter how much time you have or how much money you have… you can market your business on the web. The playing field is as even as it ever has been—seize this opportunity to market online and achieve your goals.
We can help your business to become an online success.
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