Small businesses often struggle with online marketing because they expect instant results. They try a single Facebook ad or email coupon promotion and conclude that nothing works. Unfortunately, customers don't respond to just one online encounter. It takes a variety of multi-layered encounters to get them to choose your business. Successful online marketing for small business requires a focused concert of smaller efforts (such as Google ads, SEO, PR, and content generation) over an extended period to show results.
The 5 Pillars of Successful Online Marketing for Small Businesses
1. Commit to a Map of the Process
The bottom line is getting more customers. This requires several measurable steps that help us identify where those customers are, how many arrive at your website and/or door, and how many become customers. Experienced marketing teams will already have a general map in hand.
The work is in customizing it specifically for your prospective customers. The map explains each step of the process, the timeline and measurement standards for each step, and what the end results will look like.
2. Learn Where Customers Haven't Yet Found You
Every business knows its existing customers. But we're seeking new customers who have yet to discover us. One of the glories of online marketing is that these customers are already searching for our products/services.
We just need to figure out how they're searching so we can be the results. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other online platforms allow us to see these searches. A marketing data expert helps turn this data into language we can use to guide our efforts.
3. Engage On Multiple Layers
The online world is massive and prospective customers are scattered all over the place. Are they searching Google? What news sources do they read? What about YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or discussion groups like Reddit?
Our data from step #2 helps point us to where/how they are interacting online. From this, we determine which platforms we should invest in. We now know what we need to say and where we need to say it. This also dictates our campaign's timeline.
4. Make Sure to Turn Visits into Purchases
A campaign is not successful if it just brings prospects to your door. They only become customers when they purchase something. An experienced online marketing team will analyze the prospective customer's journey to the purchase point.
Considerations include: Where did prospective customers come from (Google? News article? Email newsletter?)? How did they travel through and exit your website? Did they try to contact you (and how)? This insight helps your business improve its ability to convert prospects into customers.
5. Reiterate, Reiterate, Reiterate
You have likely noticed our emphasis on effective campaigns taking time. Essentially, engaging prospective customers at multiple online touchpoints is a form of relationship-building. It builds familiarity and interest so that they decide to visit you when they need your business.
Once you achieve success with your campaign, it is time to refine and repeat these efforts to build on your initial success. It's time to revisit your original online marketing map to draft the next, improved one.
Though online marketing rarely brings instant results, it can produce steady results. The key is building a structured, multi-layered effort that meets customers where they are, and then builds the relationships that lead to purchase. All it takes is a commitment and a little time. If you would like to see what the full map looks like, contact Go Lead Consulting today.