Online Marketing: 5 Tools for Small Businesses

Submitted by ChloeS on Wed, 03/23/2016 - 23:01
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Building a small business is a challenging venture, regardless of industry. One way to differentiate your business from the competition is to improve and diversify your marketing strategy to reach potential customers in as many ways as possible. When it comes to marketing your business, you don’t have to do it all—you simply have to apply the strategies and approaches that make the most sense for your product and for your customers. Online marketing is arguably the most effective and dynamic option for today’s small businesses, and getting started is easier than you might think.

Here are 5 online marketing tools for small businesses that can help drive your business forward:

1. Optimize Web Design

A website is absolutely part of a digital marketing plan, as the central hub of online content for your business. It’s essential to keep your website up to date with current information and contact information, in a user-friendly design. Make sure that customers can easily navigate through your site to find what’s most relevant to them and that your site functions appropriately on mobile platforms like cellphones or tablets. It’s often favorable to skip flashy graphics and animations that can take longer to load and that detract from your key messages.

2. Create a Customer-Facing Blog

Blogging is an inexpensive and effective way for a small business to engage with its customer base online. Not only can you answer customer questions and initiate conversations; you can also position your business as an authority in your industry or field. Best practices in blogging suggest sharing consistently in a conversational tone and posting helpful information rather than a simple narrative. Your blog should be connected and linked to and from your website to drive traffic in both directions, increasing web traffic and your business’s credibility.

3. Incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The best website in the world might be rendered obsolete if it’s not properly indexed and searchable by your customers. This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important for business owners. Improving SEO makes it easier for your customer and target audience to find your site, regardless of the size or focus of your business. SEO can be a complex area of digital marketing, which is constantly evolving. Working with a firm that specializes in this kind of online performance is often the best route for leveraging SEO effectively.

4. Distribute e-Newsletters

The costs and logistics of direct mail are quickly giving way to e-marketing. An e-newsletter is an efficient way to share information with your target audience and build brand awareness. It’s important to remember that this is a subtler marketing tool than, say, television ads or newspaper circulars. Information shared in an e-newsletter should help potential customers solve a problem or gain an understanding of a common issue, rather than bombard them with sales. An e-newsletter can be free to create and distribute and can be updated as often as needed. As your subscriber list grows, so will your customer reach.

5. Engage in Social Media Marketing

Social media is a focal point of digital marketing and continues to grow with the constant introduction of new tools. Using social media to advance your business is essential to a successful digital marketing strategy, and this can be achieved without incurring any major costs. By simply posting regular updates with quality information and practical tips on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you will open the door to engaging conversations with your customers and potential customers. This type of activity increases visibility into your business and opens communication lines with a ready audience.

Online marketing isn’t the only option available to business owners, but it’s the fastest-growing and most dynamic method to interact directly with consumers. It might feel overwhelming to dive into using online tools to market your business, but you don’t have to do everything at once, and the benefits of using these tools effectively are endless. It is perfectly appropriate to test different approaches and campaigns to find the best and most effective options, as these tools are free or available at a very low cost.

Check out more small business marketing tips and financing advice from our lending partner Fundation.

Are you seeking alternative financing to start or improve digital marketing for your small business? Contact Fundation to learn about the short-term business loans available to your company. Fundation will never sell your loan, and it offers direct support and the highest level of service. 

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