The art of marketing is not a big deal as most people see it, it is actually being smart with it that gets the job done in the end. With smart ways, you can set the pace.
With smart ways, you can get customers and also keep them with quality content. The impact of small businesses to the economy can not be over looked because it is most of these businesses that grew into the famous big organizations of today.
Finding a product or service to sell is only half the story. Now you have to get out there and tell people about it.
How do you tell people about your product or services?
There are ways you can promote your small businesses without breaking your bank or back.
Here are some ways to market your business online
1. Create a brand & logo
You need to create your own brand that you can build on from the start. Brand recognition is your ultimate goal, and your business needs to inspire credibility and persuade others to spread the word about your work.
Your brand can be represented by your logo.
You can create a logo by hiring a graphics designer to do it for you or use graphics tools to do it yourself. Tools like Photoshop, Coreldraw are the best.
You may also use apps, there are many free logo and image creator tools on the web that can match your need.
2. You need to have a business website
This may sound weird but this is obvious truth for many people or businesses, more than 55% of the businesses in Nigeria do not have a website or if they have, it is outdated. There is need to own a site which is up-to-date and if possible possess a blog that is updated regularly with quality and impressive contents.
You may read: Reasons why you need to redesign your website
Here are some steps to own a website:
The first step to get your business online is
- Get your own domain name – register a .com or .net domain name for your company
- Host your website on a reliable hosting provider – don’t always go for the cheapest solution but choose a hosting provider that is reliable and trustworthy.
- Make sure that your website loads as fast as possible – The hosting provider has to play a very important role about this but also the company that will develop your website.Fast websites have many benefits to offer to businesses and this should not be forgotten.
- Mobile friendly – In today’s business and affairs, more and more people use their mobiles to search the web on the go rather than laptops. Hence, having a mobile friendly website is a must.
- Provide information about your business, products or services – Last but not least, do not forget the primary mission of your website i.e. to provide information about your business, products and services in a professional manner.Better do something really simple and functional rather than something stylish but slow and non-user friendly.
3. Start a blog
A blog does not only help you get your brand out easily but also a way to connect with your audience more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.
4. Engage with Google My Business
This has to be included as update to this post. Do you know you can have your business online with the Google my business app?
Nowadays, people search for businesses online than anywhere else, and adding your website and company information to Google’s business directory can be very helpful. The amazing thing about this is that it’s free and simple.
I recommend you create a listing information including business description, product/service details, pictures, videos and offers in local directories. This can also increase the number of trusted inbound links to your website.
5. Optimize your business website for search engines
Creating a website/blog is the first step, a major step is to make sure that your website/blog is search engine friendly.
Search engine optimization or SEO as it is widely known is a set of changes you need to do on a website so that it can be understood by search engines and gain you top ranking on search engine result pages.
Read about : Is SEO Dead?
The more information you give to search engines about your website, the greater are your chances of receiving traffic from them. SEO is important factor in any digital marketing approach you decide to use because without search engines finding your content or information to show to people, you will just be an island that has not been discovered.
6. Involve the use of social media
The use of social media in the selling of information has been highly prolific and as such has to be taken serious in this digital age.Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. The use of ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn—both at the personal and company level—can be another way to help your startup.
In recent times now, info can be delivered fast through social media platforms as almost everyone of different age and class is on them. Tap into this and you will be making waves in success story about your business.
Read also our article on the mistakes you need to avoid when using social media
7. Build your online reputation
It is key to note that as a business owner you know how important the reputation of your company is and that this is something you build with careful moves and patience over time.
With good reputation, people will trust you and later become loyal customers which will translate to sales eventually.
Well, the Internet is no exception to this rule. You have to work hard to build your online reputation as a trusted service provider or retailer.
8. Building your email list
It has been observed that some small businesses aren’t aware of the benefits of email marketing and fail to leverage their website or blog to build their email list. You need to have a simple email signup form on your website.
This can yield great results and should be done from the very beginning. there are E-mail marketing tools to help you with email marketing and building your list.
9. Press releases
The use of press to propaganda your services/ news can not be over looked as this is another strong means of publicity. It’s a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus.
10. The need for quality content
Search engines and social media networks is all about content delivery. Whether its news, product information, text, images, video, reviews, user’s opinions, forums, questions; you need content in order to be able to promote your business online.
When one is using content for promotional purposes, it is known as content marketing and those businesses that managed to do this correctly have seen great success.
If you are still not sure how content marketing can help in promoting your business, consider the example of what I am doing now in the article you are reading. I am using content to help you understand a process i.e. Ways small business can be promoted online and simultaneously am indirectly advertising my expertise and services.
In a situation you do not know how or where to start from, just discover your niche and your area of interest, then blog about it like i am writing more on my areas of expertise and strength. AS it is to be noted, content marketing is the life blood of any online marketing even offline marketing because you must convey a message to your targeted audience.
Sending out press releases about your business or advertising in local or national newspapers, magazines and radio stations gets you the best reach. If you’re just starting out, your local newspaper may have a section in the paper just for that. Also, try printing out the URL of your website on your business cards or letterhead as they play a major role in business advertisement.
12. Business directories
Involve the use of listing your business on Business directories. You can get free advertisement on various directories to help promote your business.
There are also plenty of free and paid-for local directories. Some directories you can list your business on whether local or international are Yellow pages directories, Nigeria business listing, Vconnect, Facebook Business page, Finelib and so on to mention but a few.
13. Join online community and contribute
It is not about you signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn’t beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people.
It is good practice to actively participate and contribute to the topic of discuss and at the end of such post, put down your link in your signature so that you can be contacted if needed.
14. Word of mouth
The impact of recommendation from friends, family or a person is great. A survey recently conducted showed that people trust the recommendation of friends and family. From here I see that it can work to your advantage, particularly in a local community-based setting.
Getting your first customers is probably the hardest work you’ll ever do. When you’re working with your first customers, don’t forget that you’re already marketing to the people they will talk to. Go the extra mile for your customers, and they’re more likely to tell other people about it.
15. Post videos to YouTube.
You need to take advantage of this medium for promoting your business online. YouTube is a free online video service that provides incredible opportunity for sharing videos related to your products, services, and/or industry expertise.
Each time you upload a video, you can use your social media accounts and email marketing to alert your followers. When you have a video uploaded, you can share it on your website as a Resource or as a blog post. Also, you can share such videos on social media.
Conclusion: The above strategies are some of the many ways to market your small business online. Start with one and build from there. You can create a marketing plan with a few and check your results.
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