Getting found in a crowded market is a challenge for many small businesses. If you can implement a few, focused online marketing activities that deliver results, you can increase online visibility and be found by your ideal customers. Remember that marketing is an investment, not an expense. Therefore you must invest wisely to achieve the greatest ROI.
Of all the possible marketing activities that you could choose to implement, these activities are effective in helping a small business get results.
Create your marketing plan
A marketing plan is critical to high performance
Developing a plan is more important for small businesses than they realize. A marketing plan focuses your efforts and helps you avoid wasting time and money doing things that aren’t moving your business towards your goals.
As you create your marketing plan, here are a few things to know:
- Create a vision and set realistic goals – Your vision helps you make decisions on what activities you need to get results. Having clear goals directing your efforts allows you to make better choices on what you need to work on. Without a vision and set of goals, you may make some decisions that lead you nowhere.
- Know what makes you different – Most of the time, it’s not something complicated. In fact, many of us overlook our key strength because it seems too simple. Once you identify what is your unique strength, clearly communicate why this is of value to your ideal client. Stay focused and develop your expert reputation around this unique skill.
- Understand what your ideal client truly needs – If you know your ideal client well, you will be able to provide the resources and services they need that will attract them to you. This knowledge also helps you avoid tactics that won’t work, wasting time and money with little to no return.
You also need to create a marketing action plan to help you select the right activities that will make a difference in your results. And now, with all the potentially distracting online opportunities available, you need an action plan that holds you accountable and keeps you focused on achieving your goals.
Crafting a Simple Marketing Plan for a Small Business
Marketing Action Plan – Action Steps to Achieve Your Goals
Marketing Goals – Your Pathway to Success
Make inbound marketing a major strategy
Inbound marketing dominates small business marketing strategies.
Today’s buyers are smarter and more savvy when it comes to purchasing products and services. Buyers are looking for trustworthy information that helps them easily and efficiently weigh their purchase options.
Consumer purchases have been made online for quite some time with the buyer controlling the purchase process. We don’t want to be sold. We do our research on possible solutions to our problems before we make a purchase decision. But now, business buyers are taking control.
According to Gartner:
- 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels
- 33% of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience – a preference that climbs to 44% for millennials
- only 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when they are considering a purchase
So whether you sell to businesses or consumers, you need to position your business as an expert resource using a solid inbound marketing strategy.
- Create expert content that speaks to your audience.
- Optimize that content for better search engine visibility.
- Promote that content on your social media profiles.
This will increase your visibility with your target audience and help them determine the best route to take when making a purchase decision.
Inbound Marketing – Your Lead Generation Engine
Create quality, educational content
Your website is the most important marketing tool you have.
A professionally designed, responsive WordPress website creates a powerful user experience. Plus it enables you to easily add new, relevant content that your audience needs.
Your blog is the hub of your inbound marketing strategy. It is where you can showcase your expertise and provide value to your target audience. The more content you provide that helps your target audience, the more visible your web presence will become.
Did you know that every blog post is a unique web page? Every new page that you add to your website increases your digital footprint. This gives you one more opportunity to rank for a particular keyword phrase. Your blog should be integral to your website.
Ideally you should strive to blog as often as you can. But even one blog post a month will increase online visibility and advance your website in the search engine results.
How to Write Blog Content Fast
Why Blogging is Essential for Small Business: 8 Key Benefits
Develop satisfied customers
Online reviews and customer stories are more important than ever.
To position your business as an expert resource, you need to create content that speaks to your audience to help them determine the best route to take. But we know it is hard to continually produce content that is relevant to your audience.
Most small businesses have plenty of satisfied customers. These happy customer experiences are a source of rich content that will help others understand how you solve a problem better than anyone else. Well written customer testimonials and case studies are one of the most powerful trust signals you can use in all of your marketing.
Just remember that your ideal clients are willing to pay you to do what you do best because it solves a problem or fulfills a need, regardless of how simple it may seem to you. Your existing clients and customers can often provide inspiration for your most powerful and engaging content spoken in the language your customer understands.
Now add powerful online reviews to your customer stories. Positive online reviews helps to increase trust and convert visitors into leads. Whether you are selling to the consumer or a business, your online reputation matters. Incorporate reputation management marketing into your plan and your business will stand out from your competition.
How To Leverage Customer Reviews In 2022
Ensure your website is mobile first design
A quality mobile experience is no longer an option
It’s hard to remember a time when mobile support wasn’t mission critical. It started with mobile responsive design taking hold of how websites were built and is now the most popular for small business website solutions.
Now, all marketing activities need to be mobile optimized.
And now with almost 60% of online traffic coming from mobile, if your marketing doesn’t support mobile devices, you lose access to a big market.
If the first impression a buyer has of your brand on their smartphone or tablet is not the experience they expect, you can potentially lose a customer before you even know they are interested.
Review your marketing tools and determine if mobile access provides a user experience that doesn’t detract from the message you are trying to convey:
- Can your email newsletters display correctly on a smartphone?
- Does your website provide a quality user experience regardless of device?
- Can the visitor fill in your contact forms or make a purchase from their mobile device?
Going forward, design your marketing mobile first to be sure you can reach the widest possible audience.
Importance of Mobile First Design
Analyze your online presence
If I can’t find your business online, do you really exist?
Online visibility is a must if you want your business to succeed. When people search, they prefer to click on organic results rather than paid ads. Although being on the first page of the search engine results is important, being visible in the top three Google search results get 54.4% of all clicks. And getting to those positions is difficult. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying.
Remember that your web presence is more than just your website. Web presence optimization helps you consistently increase the digital footprint for your business. It:
- Creates more visibility for your brand
- Enables you to network with people online in addition to offline
- Attracts your ideal client through useful information and tools that help them solve a specific problem
Start with a web presence analysis to find out how visible your business is today. Once you have your baseline visibility, then add content marketing activities to build the content that will help increase your presence in the search results.
Web Presence Analysis: How Visible is Your Business?
Implement search engine optimization
Critical to your online visibility is to understanding how people search for what you have to offer. Develop your list of keywords and use them strategically. Optimize the content you produce in your blog using basic on-page search engine optimization techniques. This helps your content rise in the search engine results.
On-page SEO include the following:
- Select a topic and write quality content. Each page or post should focus on one specific topic. Use variation of your keyword phrase throughout the content.
- Use descriptive page and post titles. WordPress creates the URL for your pages and posts based on the title of the page. Write compelling titles that contain your focus keyword phrase to get the most benefits.
- Use keywords in the anchor text when linking internally. Use keyword-rich anchor text in your internal links to help the search engines understand what those pages are about.
- Optimize your images. Write a descriptive alt tag for images using and include your keyword phrase. Name your image using the keyword phrase as well.
- Create unique page titles using relevant keywords. Create different titles for each page or post of your site using a specific keyword phrase for which you want the page to rank. Put the most relevant keyword first in the title.
- Control the content that shows up in the search engine results. Write quality descriptions with a call to action for each page and post. This gives searchers a reason to visit your site. It also increases click-through rates from the search engine results pages to your website.
On-Page SEO: Boost Your Visibility in Search Engines
How to do Keyword Research for SEO
Make sure your website works for you
Your website should be a 24 hour sales person
A static website that talks only about how great you are will fail. Visitors that can’t figure out what you can do for them will move on. Transform your website into a guide that helps your prospects understand:
- Who you are
- What services you offer and
- How you can help them achieve their goals.
Create quality, relevant content to attract your target market and position you as the expert in your industry.
- Educate your prospects
- Capture their attention
- Earn their respect
- Gain their trust
Whether you like to produce content or not, you must find a way to create information that helps visitors decide to choose you over your competition. How you provide this information, whether it is via your blog, white papers or cornerstone content will depend on your target audience. Just make it easy for them to find the information they are looking for.
Website Lead Generation – Your 24 Hour Sales Person
Stay in touch via email marketing
Email is the only marketing channel you own and control
79% of B2B marketers credit email as the most effective distribution channel for demand generation efforts. So if you thought email marketing was fading away, think again.
Email marketing gives visitors a way to stay in touch and enables you to reach people who have proven they are interested in you.
Build your list by creating a valuable lead magnet that your audience gets for free when they sign up for your list. It could be an eBook, whitepaper, template or tool depending on what is useful to your customer. Then execute a lead nurturing strategy to strengthen their relationship with you.
Email List Building: Tips to Convert Visitors to Subscribers
Email Marketing: Getting Permission is Just the Beginning
Builds visibility in your local community
Reach your local target market with local marketing strategies
You can increase your online visibility in local search results in several ways. For example you can:
- Claim and optimize your local business listings
- Implement local SEO
- Get customer reviews on various review sites
- Join a local networking group
To optimize your local business listings, add images, a keyword rich profile and point it back to your website or blog. Get happy clients to write reviews as these can be incorporated into the listing. All businesses should create free listings in these local business directories to help increase traffic to your website. There are many others that can be beneficial but start here and add new ones as appropriate.
- Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
- Bing Places for Business
Optimize Google Business Profile for Local Visibility
Local Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business
Local SEO Strategies – How to be Found in a Crowded Market
What will you implement?
These small business marketing activities are now essential marketing activities. Implementing these basic strategies can make a difference between having a good year and a great year. Review your marketing and add those that will have the greatest impact on your visibility.