Prioritising your online marketing
When chatting with fellow small business owners, the most common complaint I hear in relation to marketing is:
“Sometimes I’m so busy trying to run my business, I don’t have time to even think about the marketing.”
Often swiftly followed by:
“When I do have the time, I don’t know where I should be focussing my efforts, particularly when it comes to online marketing.”
So here’s how I usually respond:
It’s probably the first port of call for customers and prospective customers, so this is absolutely the best platform you have to promote your business. It needs to look good, be easy to navigate and, of course, be mobile friendly, so it displays just as well on the reader’s tablet or phone as it does on their desktop.
You need to be able to update all of the content on your website yourself, so you can do it quickly and easily without additional investment. It’s not hard to do; if you can create a simple document in Microsoft Word, you’ll have no problem using a website content management system to create web pages, blog posts and news articles.
The verbal content itself should be simple and effective - think along the lines of Plain English meets gentle selling. Write your content so that it incorporates the key words you think the audience may be using when they search on the internet – thus automatically improving the search engine optimisation of your site.
Go easy on the images, make sure you have permission to use them and that they are in the right web resolution so they don’t take forever to load. If the content management system on your website doesn’t do this automatically for you, you can easily locate an online image editor to do it for you.
Make sure your site is registered for Google analytics (it’s free – so no reason not to) and you can track what people do when they visit your website, how long they stay and which pages they visit. You can then monitor what works well and what doesn’t (and change it!).
In addition to the ‘standard’ content on your site, you need to be thinking about other approaches. Blogging is a great way to ensure your website has regular, fresh and (hopefully) interesting content.
Your customers will come back to your website more regularly if they know it’s going to be updated in the form of a blog, which might include news, views, photos, videos. Plus the search engines will rank your website more highly if you have a blog. And if you are using key words in your blog (like you do on your website – obviously!), you are ticking another box by improving your SEO. Head over to my blog for more info...you might even find a blog about blogging...
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is heaps more effective than social media, I promise you. It’s been proven time and time again to drive more traffic to your website than posting links on Facebook and Twitter combined. And it’s not tricky. Like most things, the only tricky thing is getting started.
There are plenty of email marketing service providers available, which make it super easy by providing you with professional email templates, tools to help you grow and manage your email list, and tracking features which reveal who is opening and engaging with your messages. Even better news, depending on the size of your contact list, you may be able to access these services for free!
I’m not going to bore you with more detail here, skip over to my recent blog on getting started with email marketing.
4. Social media
And finally social media - it might not make you a ton of money, but a social media presence is undoubtedly helpful to your business. It adds to your credibility, enables you to interact with a wide range of stakeholders, and also gives you opportunities to share the content from your website, driving traffic towards it.
My advice is to choose a couple of platforms which suit the profile of those you are targeting and focus on these, and these alone. Look at the free features available for you to use, and be wary of investing too much money in paid campaigns. Focus on building engagement with your online communities, rather than hard-sell (a sure-fire way to lose followers). And have a read on why should I like you for a few more pointers!
So there you go, that’s how I prioritise, and it’s a model that seems to work well for my clients. What about you?