As a business person, you probably already know that the internet is drastically changing the way that consumers interact but also the way businesses are adapting to meet this demand. Many people see this as a dangerous time for small business however others may see this as an opportunity for improvement and growth and are taking the time to invest in online marketing strategies for small business success. Have you?
To succeed on the internet you need to be flexible, and be prepared to change your strategy. The methods that you chose will depend on your unique situation however here are some online marketing strategies for small business that will guide you in the right direction.
6 Online Marketing Strategies for Small Business
Establish Your Brand
Establish a brand that your customers can easily recognise both on and off the internet. Having a domain name, a website, social media profiles and a logo will give your company greater credibility in the eyes of existing business partners as well as new clients.
The most profitable online businesses have an online presence that help their clients understand the services they offer. You should too! It also provides the basis for selling or building other services online if that is deemed suitable in time to come.
Interact with your customers
The one set of people who know more about what it is they want and how best to satisfy that need are your customers. So listen to them and try to take their needs and recommendations into account. If you do this you will have a greater chance of getting repeat business, from existing clients or referal business.
The internet gives more and more power to the client. If the client cannot find the answer they need from you then it takes no more than 30 seconds to fire up Google and gets the answer from someone else. Don’t allow this to happen. Make sure that the questions most commonly asked are answered and are visible.
If your customer has questions about your product or service you need to answer them correctly. Think about using social media to interact with your client in real time. If you can answer the questions in a succinct and compelling manner in the public eye then you may find this acts as valuable marketing for your small business.
If you can build rapport with customers this way then you may find that there is less chance that they will search for alternatives. So use all the online tools at your reach; blogs, email, social media, video are cost effective ways to keep in touch with clients and keep them engaged with your brand, your experience your mission. Give your business the internet marketing advantage!
Just because the interaction is online it doesn’t mean it is any different to the real world. Relationships are key and this should be the foundation for any of the online marketing for small business strategies that you adopt.
Find Your Competitive Advantage.
What is it that your business does better than anybody else? Why do your customers keep coming back time and again? What is that one distinguishing factor?
Go through your customer database and pick 5 people at random, get in touch with them email, phone, put together a survey using a tool such as Survey Monkey and ask them a few questions about your product or service to find out exactly why they bought from you in the first place, why they continue to do so? What stops them going to somebody else, would they recommend your service to a friend and what would they say?
You may be surprised at the answers provided but more importantly from the results you may be able to nail down exactly what it is that separates you from the rest. You will then be in a position to develop it and exploit it to create further business.
Get Better Information
It has been said that we are now living in the information age and business nowadays is all about information. In order to succeed you need to have access to the right information and more importantly know how to use it for business advantage. Information that’s important to have;
- Information about the products you supply and the suppliers; Many businesses on the internet act as third parties or agents that means that when a client asks a question you need to know the answer otherwise you may lose credibility.
- Information about your customers; It is critical to entice your clients to provide you with their information, name and email address but also to keep abreast of the products or services that they buy. If someone buys a lawnmower from you then you may be able to offer them grass seed or a strimmer in the future. If you don’t know what they have bought then you are not in a position to offer complementary products.
- Information about your market; Market place is changing rapidly, new businesses are stepping up, other businesses are falling away while new products and customer demands shift rapidly. The more you know the easier it is for you to adapt you online marketing strategies to take advantage.
Just like your clients are searching the internet for the most cost effective option then so can you. Yes you may have had a relationship with your local supplier for 15 years and that is important in business. But is that relationship costing you? Is it costing your customers?
Conduct a search periodically to check that you are not leaving anything on the table and your customers are getting the best possible deal.
Take advantage of your size
Long term sustainable advantage on the internet is about how well you can react to change; legislative, search engine changes, competition. Have a focussed strategy this will allow to take advantage of changes far more effectively than larger players in the market.
The business world can be a cruel beast and internet marketing for small business is no different. One day you can be riding high and the next day you may experience savage lows however online marketing strategies for small business do work when implemented correctly. Use them to make your journey smoother and give your clients and excellent experience.