The Internet is the great equalizer, allowing a small business to effectively compete with the 800-pound gorilla in their space. But, there are some fundamental ways to go about setting yourself up for success. Here are five affordable tips to promoting your small business using digital marketing:
1. Build a Quality Website, Use WordPress
The best place to start is to launch a website for your business, but not just any website. Create one that is clean, easy to navigate, has good content, and is optimized for search engines to crawl and rank – WordPress is a great place to start. Use SEO best practices like continually writing fresh content that incorporates your most relevant keywords. Use the power of blogging to help in your SEO strategy. Google likes social media content.
2. Drive Unpaid Traffic to Your Website
Drive organic traffic to your website by blogging regularly about information related to your services, but that is helpful in nature from your audience’s perspective. Don’t use this medium to directly sell. If visitors to your site like what they are reading, they are very likely to share it with others through email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They may even re-blog your post with links back to your website. Another way to drive traffic is to write content for other websites as a guest or regular writer. These engagements typically allow for a link back to your website in your byline. Also, contribute to conversations within forums like Yahoo! Answer or LinkedIn Groups.
3. Get Social With Social Media
One of the best way to reach targeted audiences for your narrow range of services is through social media. Many people use the Internet to search for services, many long before they actually plan to render them. Social media can act as an influencer, used in the awareness and consideration stages of the typical decision making process.
Create a company page on Facebook and LinkedIn, and promote it to your customers and to any permission-based email lists you have in place. Regularly update the content on these pages and directly interact with your prospective customers. Listen to their queries and satisfy them with your expert answers.
4. Focus on High Impact Keywords
Use Google Insights for Search to identify high impact keywords related to your business, then develop content incorporating these words on your website and blog. Tweet information, trends and tips related to these keywords and also test Google Adwords to drive paid search traffic.
5. Become a Thought Leader
Operating a small business with a limited marketing budget means focusing more of your energy on developing your reputation as an industry expert and thought leader. Offer advise online through articles and webinars. Offer a feedback loop for website visitors to give you an opportunity to answer their questions. And consider sometimes getting out of the digital world and into the real one by speaking on expert panels.
Rajan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BIG Marketing for Small Business. He's an award-winning marketing strategist who is passionate about branding, digital marketing and social media. He spent nearly a decade as the marketing executive at global IT firm Peer 1 Hosting and was instrumental in their explosive growth.