We won’t bore you by saying that your small business should be on the Internet by now, because chances are you are already worn out of hearing it. But we will certainly tell you that going online isn’t just having a website and setting up a Facebook page. Of course, both of those are important steps towards an online marketing strategy by won’t take you anywhere if you don’t do other stuff.
What should you do, then? You can start with these 5 things and build upon that.
1 – Have a GREAT site
In today’s oh-so-crowded Internet, having a site isn’t enough. Everybody has a site! How will your small business stand out if you’re doing the same as the others? Try this instead – go for greatness. Don’t just settle with a normal site that checks all the ticks in the to-do list of essential elements of a site. Go the extra mile with images, copy and user experience, but always keeping in mind your site’s main goal – to be useful.
To do that, remember to be clear about who you are and what you offer, be sure you put all the necessary elements out there to get leads and develop a strategy that has content as a main ingredient. If you balance all of those properly, you’ll be closer to a great site. Of course, you might want to get help from professional web designers or digital agencies like Lis7o. By doing that, you’ll be able to focus on telling what you want while the experts will show you how to get it.
2 – Trust SEO
SEO is one of the building blocks of any digital marketing strategy. Don’t even know what SEO means? Time to do some learning – your business won’t go anywhere without it. Basically, SEO (as in search engine optimization) is the practice used to tweak and adjust sites to rank higher in search results of search engines (or, you know, Google). Have you ever gone beyond page 2 when googling something? Of course not. That’s why SEO is so important – because when it’s done properly, it’ll take your site to the first results page.
Among the many things SEO-related, there’s something called keywords: the search terms used by people to look for things on the Internet. Oversimplifying the whole thing, you have to do a keyword research (AKA check what’s people searching for when googling for services or products like yours) and adjust your site and content to meet those terms.
A good keyword research (done through tools like the Google suggest feature and the Keyword Planner) will provide you with a list of topics and interest you can use to better target your audience and reach out to them. Do so and your site will be more visible for people looking for businesses just like yours. It’s the power of SEO – trust it!
3 – Don’t stop blogging
Blogging isn’t a matter of whether you’re good with words or not – blogging is a must for any business. Perhaps you don’t want to write on a weekly basis, perhaps you don’t even consider it as a possibility. That’s fine. But this isn’t about you and it’s not about a personal blog – it’s about the blog for your business, which basically can become the beacon for people interested in services and products like the ones you offer.
For that to happen, you have to blog non-stop about things that might interest your targeted audience. How do you do that? Well, your keywords research should provide you with a list of things where you can start. Once you get the ball going, people will start engaging and providing you valuable feedback. You just have to learn how to turn that feedback into something valuable you can offer.
You can make articles and videos, lists with tips and DIY guides, you can even show studies and news related to the products you offer. One thing’s for sure – you should never use your blog to make sales pitches. They’ll just scare people away and make them believe you are only writing to make a sale. Instead, make your audience feel they are reading things from someone that wants to help and you’ll quickly see how a community starts to sprout.
4 – Go social
We mentioned it above – you’ll need to go social. Don’t like Facebook or don’t even understand Twitter? Tough luck. No self-respectable business today goes by without at least one of them. Social networks are great channels to promote your business and contents and to get valuable feedback about them. Besides, most people lives in there, so you’ll probably want to hang out where everybody else is doing it.
Of course, you might feel tempted to set up accounts in all of the social networks you know. Don’t do that. You’ll end up using just a couple and neglecting the rest and people might come across your empty or abandoned profiles and feel like you aren’t professional enough. Instead, try to decide which is the best platform for your type of business. Facebook seems like the one that works for most but don’t ignore Twitter (especially if you’re a SaaS company) or even Pinterest (if your services or products involve something you can actually show with good photos).
5 – Don’t you ever think “this is it”
After going online with your site, setting up your social profiles, advertising throughout the Web and writing about almost everything related to your business, you might feel tempted to think that you’ve done it all. That’s never true. Your business won’t ever be done with its online presence. As you might have noticed, the Internet has the tendency to evolve and change – and you’ll have to do the same or go extinct.
Sounds harsh? It is! Your online presence won’t keep growing just because you did things right in the first months. It’ll keep growing as long as you do your homework, measure your metrics, adjust whatever’s needed and stay ahead on the competition when it comes to new trends. Online marketing needs you to be constantly moving and adapting, otherwise you’ll be put aside and quickly forgotten.
Taking a business online is a lot of work. It requires you to do tons of stuff and learn about another ton. But if you do it right from the get-go, you’ll reap bigger and better benefits later on. The first steps for your online presence are the foundations of house – you better build them right unless you want your home to fall over your head once you move in.