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Small Business Internet Marketing
Internet marketing for small businesses is the process of promoting your brand and its products (or services) to potential customers using the internet. This involves utilizing accurate data to devise a strategy that will engage the audience and meet set goals. Some of the more popular methods include search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media marketing, paid media, and content marketing.
This is a growing strategy adapted by many businesses and organizations in order to build the brand and spread a message about the company to a more targeted audience.
Small businesses in the U.S. make up more than 90 percent of businesses in the country reaching a number of 31.7 million that are active today with California topping the list of the country’s most dominant locations for startup activities. It’s followed by New York, Boston and Seattle.
While the U.S. continues to have the largest amount of small businesses, its share of global venture capital investment has been declining. There are many factors that contribute to this decline. One would be the impact of globalization driving more competition for U.S startups as cities around the world, mostly in Asia and in Europe, are experiencing rapid growth.
However, small businesses will remain vital to the U.S. economy. Not only does it create more job opportunities, it also generates about 50 percent of the country’s GDP.
In order to rise above the competition and tough economic times, you must be willing to adapt and look for new opportunities.
One of which is to learn how to expand your customer base and be where your customers are. This can be done through internet marketing.
Many small businesses have yet to take advantage of it. Whether you’re targeting local consumers or the global marketing, internet marketing is an important addition to your business model.
Here are some statistics showing you why small businesses need internet marketing now like never before:
- Google has nearly 4 billion users worldwide, that’s 93 percent of the total internet users
- Google receives more than 5.6 billion questions everyday.
- 35 percent of product searches begin on Google.
- 75 percent of “near me” searches done in the U.S alone
Most popular local shops in the past 12 months according to search interest:
1. Local card shops
2. Local smoke shops
3. Local crystal shops
4. Local cupcake shops
5. Local embroidery shops
6. Local tire shops
Top states that searched for ‘local shops’:
1. New Mexico
2. West Virginia
More small businesses are learning the importance of internet marketing and engaging online users. They’re revamping their websites to make it more attractive, user-friendly and engaging.
Some are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, while others go for paid ads instead. There are many ways, dozens of channels, hundreds of strategies, and countless services but all the resources and efforts won’t benefit you if there’s no concrete strategy to start with.
Best Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
You want as many people as possible to know about your business. You’ll have to consider many factors for that to happen.
Believing in your products (or the services) is a must, however, for lead generation and promotion, you can depend on the internet marketing strategies listed below.
Best Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
You want to be known as one of the best (if not the best) dentists in town so that more patients will visit you for your services. Many factors will come into play for that to happen. For the most part, being a great dentist will depend on you, however, for the visits, you can depend on internet marketing strategies listed below:
Search Engine Optimization For Small Businesses
About 97 percent of online experience begins with search engines. People tend to go to Google (or other search engines like Bing, Safari and Yahoo) to look for information.
There are at least 4 billion online queries entered daily. Each question a person types generates hundreds and thousands of pages containing links to sites that have the answers to that single query.
The question is, how do you get the user to click your website out of thousands of search results?
In order for a user to choose your site out of all the results, you have to land an important spot on the search engine results pages using SEO for small businesses. Note that the #1 result gets 31% of all clicks, meanwhile those results on the second page only got less than 1%.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of priming your website and fixing it so that search engines can crawl and index it the way you intend to. When search engines crawl and index your website, it’s also scoring it. It’s gauging how relevant and valuable the content is for the audience.
This is done through algorithms that are always updated and improved. Google bots will compare your web page with other pages that are in the same category then rank it according to its evaluation. The rating system is based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
How Search Engine Works for Small Business
An estimate of 97 percent of users go online to find local services. Local services are establishments around the user’s area like local shops, restaurants, law firms, doctors, and other services that are a few meters away or at least a 10-minute drive from where they live.
This is what makes SEO important. You’re most likely targeting customers around your area or are located inside the country. This means you want to be easy to find, easy to access and easy to get in touch with. You don’t want to miss any opportunities.
There might be a person 2 km away who’s looking for a coffee shop, or there’s someone shopping for an appliance and you just have the model they’re looking for. If you have an active SEO campaign, the user can easily find you, even if they’re miles away.
In the example above, we mentioned that local searches are popular amongst users. More people are now using their devices (both mobile and desktop) to look for information about establishments nearby before going there or making a purchase.
Aside from ‘local shops’, users actively search for ‘near me’ queries. Here are the services topping the ‘near me’ search with their respective monthly search volume.
- restaurants near me (7.2 million)
- food near me (5.7 million)
- walmart near me (4.6 million)
- pizza near me (2.1 million)
- chinese food near me (1.4 million)
- starbucks near me (1.2 million)
- breakfast near me (996k)
Here are the location that had the most ‘near me’ searches:
- South Carolina
- New York
The opportunity is in search. There are specialized SEO services you can get that are specific to the industry you’re in. Likewise, you can also choose to get services that are specific to the location you’re targeting.
Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your website for Google:
- Determine Relevant Keywords
To attract the right visitors and drive quality traffic to your website you have to identify the right keywords first. Think of Google as the helper that matches you with the right customer. How do you help Google link you to the right user? It’s by pinpointing the right keywords that the users are typing into their Google search and strategically sprinkling it all over the contents of your website.
Keywords are useful in:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Converting traffic into customers
- Target the different stages of your buyer’s journey to lead them down the sales funnel
- Designing and optimizing content based on customer behavior
There’s a more technical process that SEO experts use, although the fundamentals remain the same.
- Create High Quality Content
Content is what drives customers to your website. Now that people have more time on their hands to read through various content online, you need to make sure that your content is engaging for people and optimized for search engines.
This includes creation and optimization of content for landing pages, blog posts, and other elements that require texts on your website.
- Prepare you website for Local Search
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website for local search. Local searches are searches that are conducted in relation to your local area. This plays a big part in marketing your business specially if you’re aiming for people who are located nearby (or anywhere in the country) and are looking for your products or services.
Simply put, if you don’t have local SEO in your strategy, you have to get it now because you will be missing these potential buyers who are already looking for your services.
Backlinks are links that are connected to your website and they have a huge impact on your search ranks. There are many ways you can earn backlinks. One of the most effective methods is through guest blogging.
This is the process of creating or writing blogs for other websites in exchange for inserting a link in that blog that links back to your website. If you’re consistent in guest blogging, it will compound and help to boost your rankings. Your brand will get more exposure, elevating your status as a thought leader in your industry.You can read about tips on how to make your small business rank higher on search to engines and try it out yourself. If you’re not too savvy with SEO there are SEO services available so that you don’t have to do it yourself. Make sure to talk to an SEO consultant for any questions and clarifications.
Paid Advertising For Small Businesses
Paid advertising or paid media is a digital marketing model where ads are placed anywhere the advertiser chooses to place their ads. Unlike SEO where you rank higher through producing high quality content that meets the criteria and guidelines of search engines, paid ads have a certain fee that’s charged every time a user clicks on the ad. In SEO, you rank organically which means you won’t have to pay every time someone clicks on your website.
One of the most popular forms of paid advertising or paid media is search engine advertising. These are ads which you see along the sides of search pages whether it’s Google, Bing or Yahoo. Advertisers are able to bid for ad placements on sponsored links. This is great for securing website visits as your page or website will appear whenever a user enters a relevant keyword.
Paid ads is a quicker way of getting traffic. If you’re new in the field or have recently moved, then this is a great addition because the results are instantaneous. However, you have to intelligently know who to target and how to target them.
There are many paid ads or paid media services available and you have to choose wisely. Avoid jumping into trends just because your competitors are doing it as you don’t want to waste resources on avoidable mistakes.
Although the length of the ad visibility depends on the amount of budget allocated, Google charges less per click if it evaluates that your ads and landing pages are valuable to searchers.
For optimum results, you can also choose to combine both SEO and paid ads. However if you’re still thinking about the better option for you and you’re looking to outsource the tasks, then consulting with a provider that offers both paid ads services and SEO services might be the best option for you.
Social Media For Small Businesses
Social media marketing (SMM) is another internet marketing strategy that’s about creating content on social media platforms (ex. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to achieve your marketing goals. This will lean more towards branding and showcasing your products and services in a way that’s more creative. It’s also a great way to engage both new and existing clients.
Define your goals before jumping into this type of marketing. Social media is huge now because people like engaging with the content that creators produce or content that their acquaintances have posted. Users who post these content have specific intentions so you have to plan your approach beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll just end up floating around the platform and wasting resources.
Some questions you can ask when defining the purpose and goals of your social media campaign:
- What’s the goal that you want to reach using social media marketing?
- Are your buyers or potential buyers in social media?
- What do your buyers usually do on social media and how would they use social media?
- What message do you want to create and post in your social media accounts? Are they informational or commercial? Will these messages resonate with your audience? Will these messages produce the results you want to achieve your goal?
Pick the social media platform that best suits your business type. This will take a bunch of split tests however it will be all worth it in the end since you will save more money and will have a more effective campaign.
Content Marketing For Small Business
Content marketing is a strategy that involves creation and distribution of relevant and high quality content materials. Content marketing revolves around research, data accuracy and strategic planning. All these come on top of creating quality content that resonates well with your audience.
Some examples of content you can produce are blog posts, ebooks, newsletters, whitepapers and case studies.
An effective marketing strategy all follows a meticulous planning process. From the types of content you will produce, the voice that you’re going to use, and the messaging or the way it should be delivered.
Planning how every piece of content will connect and how your potential patients will land on each content is important before you start with the creation process. Avoid being random or shooting blindly hoping for the best.
Always start with defining why you want to use content marketing. Whether it’s for brand awareness or to drive buyers to your website or boost conversions. This will make it easier for you to identify what kind of content you need for your brand and how to incorporate them into your digital marketing initiative.
Publishing random content or content you think your target audience are interested in is not advisable. You have to form a technical process and learn how to pinpoint those topics that will bring in the readers. When planning content, make sure that you know how to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. This way, you’ll have concrete data telling you if it’s working or not, and why.
There are many types of content that you can produce. Some of which are blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, newsletters.
You can also learn how to boost content marketing with guest posts. Since guest posts can provide your website with valuable backlinks, this strategy will help boost your rankings as well.
Content and storytelling have the power to persuade. Instead of pitching products or services, produce content that tells potential leads how to solve their issues. Make sure to focus on relevant and powerful content that delivers value to the reader.
Great Dentist Web Design
Looks are everything in this industry. First impressions are valuable and a great small business website is an asset. Whether you own an ecommerce store or a hardware store, and whether you have an active social media presence or a paid media campaign, potential customers will want to visit your website. When they do, they expect the best.
It takes just a 20th of a second for people to make up their minds about the quality of a website, if they like it, they will stay, if they don’t then, they’ll click away and go to the next one in their list.
A great visual design is essential in creating a great first impression. You want your professionalism and the quality of your services to be translated on your site.
There will be barriers that your website will encounter in the beginning stages of growth. Making a name for yourself online will take a lot of effort. However knowing what these barriers are for small businesses and overcoming them will make it easier for you to maintain and upgrade your website in the future.
What makes a great small business website?
Different industries require different functions and designs. For example a website for a hardware store will look and feel different compared to a website for videographers. You will need different sections, different pages and different elements that will showcase your services and work.
For small businesses, it’s important that users who visit your website can navigate through it easily and find what they need quickly. Give your visitors what they need in the most user-friendly manner while having the best design. Working with an agency that offers web design services for small businesses will be very advantageous as they will recommend the best options that will attract and engage the users that you want.
Here are some of the elements to consider:
1. Create a Memorable Domain Name
Your website address or your domain name should be memorable and should indicate the nature of your business. It’s one way to make a good impression and to tell search engines what your business is about. It will benefit your SEO in the long run too.
Here are some tips:
- Keep it short and easy to remember
- Make it easy for people to spell
- Use an appropriate domain extension (choose a “.com” extension instead of “.net”, “.biz”, etc.)
- Research your domain name beforehand to see if a similar website exists.
- Determine if the price is reasonable
2. A Responsive Web Design.
Make sure that your website is accessible to both desktop and mobile users. Since more people are using their phones to conduct searches, it’s important to seize this opportunity to reach people on mobile and tablets. Who knows, some of them may be on the go or just a walking distance from your place.
3. Theme and Color Blocking
You want to have a design that reflects your profession and the quality of your services. It’s important to have a color coordinated website with pages that complement each other. This will allow users to sort through information quicker and to see buttons that will lead them to the next action.
4. Have a clear description of your business
It’s important to let users know what your business is all about right away. When they visit your website, you don’t want to confuse them so make sure your hero image (this is the main banner for your homepage) represents your services.
Also, users will want to know more about you and your brand so make sire that your main navigation menu as well as your footer will have the ‘About Us’ links for people to click on and read.
5. Optimized for Local SEO
Local SEO is a search engine optimization method that businesses can use to be more visible and achieve a higher ranking in their location through local search results. This is especially helpful if your business is targeting leads in the local area.
An example would be if a person who lives in New York types in ‘flower shop’ in the search bar. The main results that will appear will contain information about flower shops located in New York. This is because Google’s algorithm is designed to show that user all the small businesses detected nearby.
So whether the query is ‘flower shop’ or ‘hardware store’, Google will automatically understand that those are related to services and people who are looking for them, most likely prefer the ones nearby. Based on the other aspects of search engine algorithms like GPS location, keyword match and content quality, Google will present the results according to its ranking system.
It’s important to optimize your site for local SEO to make it clearer and easier for Google to understand how to rank it.
How do Small Businesses Use Internet Marketing?
Small businesses help bring growth to the economy by providing employment opportunities and innovation to the area where they’re established. In hindsight, they’re the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.
However, as the current disruption continues to change the financial landscape business owners are finding it difficult to continue their usual operations.
Small businesses are now looking for the best opportunities to stay afloat and they’ve found a way to adapt through the digital landscape.
Internet marketing, or more commonly known as digital marketing, gives small businesses new opportunities and a chance to thrive despite the unfavorable circumstances.
Benefits of Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
Marketing is used to connect your business with customers and engage them into buying your products or services. Now that users and buyers are online, you have to go where they are in order to promote your business effectively.
It’s an effective way of reaching more leads and users who are ready to purchase. Likewise, it will be easy for ready buyers to find information such as phone numbers, address, opening hours and more.
Here are some benefits of digital marketing that will impact business growth.
1. Lead Generation
2. Better Conversion Rates
3. Cost Effectiveness
4. Increased Revenue
5. Higher ROI
6. Compete with Large Corporations
Digital marketing for small businesses is an effective way to build your online presence, enhance branding and promote your products or services. There are a lot more benefits and listed below are some of them:
- You can showcase your services to a wider audience.
With digital marketing, you have a platform that allows you to present and showcase your products (or services) in a neat and professional way. You ready buyers can easily find, access and learn more about you with just a few clicks.
- It allows you to accurately manage your online reputation.
The internet is a notorious platform to access information. There will be information and reviews about your brand that will be circulating and popping up on searches. Whether it’s about you, connected to you or even a similar name. What you want is for the right information to pop up and spread since this can affect your reputation and influence decisions of your potential customers.
- You’re able to build loyalty and a solid referral base.
Let’s say your customers love your products and services. It’s a good practice to have satisfied clients rave about their experience with you by providing a space where they can write reviews. You can subtly ask them to leave testimonials on your website, listings or social media profile. You can tap into reputation management services to help you manage those positive reviews and use them to attract more leads.
- Accurate monitoring of digital marketing investments and satisfaction of users.
Internet marketing is more transparent and data friendly than traditional markets. We can now use online tools and software to monitor activities, track expenses, and extract data for a more accurate campaign.
- User engagement
The value of internet marketing soared with the whole concept of user engagement. You can now learn about a user or a potential client based on the activities they did on your website. They can leave comments, interact with chatbots, message you directly, share your website or your post, and more.
- Improve conversion rates.
Conversion rates are an advantage in digital marketing. You are closer to your audience now and you have the ability to track their behavior. This is very helpful in modifying and tweaking your strategies (after a thorough data analysis). Split testing can scientifically test the effectiveness of your website, for example,heat maps allow you to see what section of your website interests your visitors the most. You can learn if there are more users interested in one product over the other. With this you can find out why they didn’t click or push through with a purchase.
- Better targeting (SEO and Paid Ads)
One of the greatest benefits of SEO and paid advertising is that you can place your message or ad in front of users who matter. These people are potential customers who are actively searching for your services.
Internet Marketing Lead Generation for Small Businesses
So how do you get more customers? The answer can be seen in lead generation online. People are populating the internet and you want to be seen where people are highly active. Online lead generation although effective, will also be highly competitive. Your company needs a customized strategy to stand out. A customized strategy works by combining methods that will connect with potential clients or leads, driving them down into the conversion stage of the journey. Ultimately converting them into buyers.
In lead generation for small businesses, a lead is a person who shows an interest in your products or services. You know they’re interested when they click your website, interact with an ad, follow you on social media, join your newsletters, leave you a message and have executed other forms of engagement. In order to capture a lead, there must be a smart digital marketing strategy behind your online efforts.
Reach Buyers Effectively
Make it easy for people to find you and hard for competitors to beat you. It’s quite easy to understand the value of internet marketing, however, implementation is a bit different. As an entrepreneur, you want to focus on your clients and scaling your business instead of spending hours and days developing a digital marketing strategy or implementing marketing tasks everyday. Small business marketing consultants exist to help you reach the goals you have in mind at the same time letting you focus on your trade. They will also guide you in choosing the best digital marketing services you can apply to your business.
Just make sure to do your research to ensure that you get to work with an online marketing company that understands your brand and goals.
Digital marketing is for the long haul. As long as search engines exist and you’re working with an experienced and reliable digital marketing agency, it will continue to be relevant and your business will benefit from it more.
Small Business Marketing FAQs
Why is internet marketing important for small businesses?
More people today use the internet for information and to do research before they place an order or choose a service. Moreso for people who are looking for specific products and services. They start by opening their web browser on their mobile devices or desktops, and do their research. They’ll enter their location or the word ‘nearby’ when looking for a service that they need instantly. They’ll scroll through the results and review them one by one until they find one that they think is suitable for them. Online marketing strategies for small businesses will make sure that you get found by buyers and be the one they reach out to.
Can digital marketing help find customers?
Yes. Getting more clients for your practice is one of the main goals of your digital marketing campaign. You can use paid media or paid ads to quickly enhance brand awareness, you can optimize your website for SEO to make sure the ready buyers who are looking for your services can easily find you online. You can also use local SEO if your business is targeting a specific area.
Make sure that your website is designed to be customer ready. By getting great web design made for your business type, it will be easier for people to navigate through it and find what they’re looking for.
How much does digital marketing for small businesses cost?
Many factors will determine the cost of your campaign. SEO, paid ads, web design, social media marketing, content marketing and other initiatives all differ in prices and they all offer different packages. It can cost $150 to more than $15000 per initiative depending on factors like business size, marketing objectives and timeline.