Starting an online business but don’t have the capital to invest in heavy-duty marketing? Have an established e-store but don’t see any positive traction? Want to be seen by, heard by, and reach out to, your target audience in an effective way? Maybe you just don’t know how to market your business online at all. Fret not! The World Wide Web is teeming with marketing opportunities that can get you out there . . . and that don’t tug at your purse strings.
When it comes to marketing today, the internet has leveled the playing field. The reach and visibility that was once only possible for huge conglomerates with huge revenues, are now equally plausible for both small- and medium-sized enterprises as well.
Online businesses and e-commerce have fast picked up over the years and are now multi-billion dollar industries today. From top-notch brands to small-scale businesses across an eclectic range of industries and markets, everyone is turning towards e-commerce, and then learning the tricks of the trade to help them adapt to this internet-gripped world.
Our top 5 tips on how to market your business online
To begin with (even before we teach you how to market your business online) you need a fully-functional, attractive website that stands as a direct representation of your business. It needs to speak about you. A complete website establishes your online presence and endorses your products and services to a global audience.
Next is getting the word out, and there are plenty of cost-effective ways to do that! Here are the 5 most efficient answers to how to market your business online.
1. Leverage local listing services
Online directories and local listing services offer your business the opportunity to be seen, heard and known. These very affordable directory services can expand your market reach and garner prospective business leads. The three most prominent (and significant) local listing services include Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Places. When your business is listed in popular directories such as these, potential customers are more likely to find you.
Further, registering with them is an absolutely free and simple process. There are also several others that you can consider, such as:
- superpages.com, etc.
Get listed in as many local listing services as you can!
2. Optimize with SEO tools
One of the greatest advantages your business can possess in this competitive market, is having your website show up in the first few results of Google searches. Wondering how to make that happen? You need to ensure that your website is optimized to its fullest potential by taking advantage of varied Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools.
Google’s algorithm promotes websites that are particularly SEO-friendly. The better-optimized your website is, the higher the ranking it receives from Google.
Both ‘Google Webmaster Tools’ and ‘Google Analytics’ are great for your digital marketing strategy as they gather insights on how Google perceives your website.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free diagnostic service offered by Google that—incredibly—reveals how Google comprehends and perceives your website online. It provides an array of features that can be leveraged to improve the search-engine visibility of your domain and spot issues for resolution later.
Google Analytics on the other hand, shows visitor information, web traffic reports, details of keywords and page content, and so forth. It analyses, measures and tracks your web visitors and provides rich data that allows you to understand who they are, how often they visit, and what they want from your site.
Keywords are vital in any SEO campaign, and Google Analytics shows you the keywords that bring in the most traffic to your website. While the two serve different and distinct functions, they work even better when they are linked together.
3. Social media
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn allow you to create a standalone page for your business (separate from your existing one), which is a great step to making your business more well-known.
Create a buzz with fresh, unique and valuable content that people would love to share across these social mediums. Once in a while add images, infographics or videos to make your content more exciting. This enhances its value and shareable quotient. Create your content to stir interest, awe, surprise or curiosity in the reader’s mind, or let it revolve around positive human emotions that people can connect and relate to.
Social media platforms provide countless opportunities for advertising your brand and business. Further, help your content be shared easily by installing social sharing plugins and make the share buttons easily noticeable and accessible to the users.
4. Let’s blog
In today’s information-driven world, a large part of your website’s success is dependent on the ability to provide information to the users creatively, clearly and quickly. A blog not only helps your business share information and get recognized, but is also a remarkable way to connect with your customers.
Marketers can reach out to their customers in a more creative way by providing them regular blog updates, interesting and relevant information, the latest news, exciting offers, etc.
Blogs can be added to your website to seamlessly blend with your existing theme. Blogger.com and WordPress are two of the leading blogging platforms available online and are both free. While it is important to include a blog, it is equally important to ensure the blog feeds are fresh, current and rich with quality content.
A dormant blog might have a negative impact on your brand and business, so keep it updated on a regular basis.
It is a flexible marketing tool that can be manipulated in more ways than one to offer unmatched benefits to your business cost-effectively. It takes time to establish your blog but the results are well worth the effort.
5. Email lists and industry forums
The smart move here is to build an email list or newsletter subscription list from the start, to stay connected with your growing customer base. A simple email sign-up form placed on your website can produce great results in the long run. Giving incentives or freebies to your website visitors to urge them to sign-up to your list can work in your favor. The freebie could be anything from a free e-book to a whitepaper of interest to your audience.
If you look for it, you will find many online communities and thriving forums that cater to your business area. Facebook and LinkedIn, too, host industry groups across a wide range of business areas. Join a popular forum and contribute to their discussions.
Instead of just posting ads once in a while about your business, you have better possibilities to reap more long-term benefits if you make the effort to take part in a discussion, contribute effective suggestions and build strong rapport with the community.
The efforts won’t be wasted. They help other visitors take note of you and your knowledge. Becoming a member of two or three groups in your business’ industry, helps to establish you as an expert in the field, and ultimately builds your credibility. Getting noticed without tooting your own horn is a priceless marketing move.
These cost-free avenues are booming with promise to generate organic leads and traffic. These are not merely a platform to increase exposure, but have increasingly become a crucial and necessary component in designing marketing blueprints. Hope these simple tips have helped you learn how to market your business online.
Bill Gates wasn’t kidding when he said “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” So get on it!