3 Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
We are starting a mini series, in which we are going to collect a few tips and tricks for small businesses. Here are the first three on our list:
- organize frequent webinars
- focus on content marketing
- consider spending on Google ads
Social media and the ubiquity of the internet have opened up novel, powerful new ways for small businesses to market themselves. Here is a short sampling of some of the more effective strategies available.
Webinars, or “web seminars” are an effective way to generate leads and drive sales. Marketers create free webinars that introduce potential customers to their product or service, giving away just enough free, useful information to whet a customer’s appetite, enticing them to request more information or purchase the full package.
Webinars can be modified to sell just about anything. If you’re selling products you can host a free, online demonstration that finishes with a discounted offer. Informational products can excite their audiences with webinars that feature select excerpts from the material being sold, just enough to establish the value of the product. For services tied to a specific person or group of people, a webinar can introduce them and help establish their knowledge and credibility.
If you’ve ever shared an interesting, brand-produced infographic on social media or posted a link to a funny or thought-provoking video that was loosely tied to a business, you’ve participated in the proliferation of content marketing.
Content marketing is the process of creating interesting, entertaining, educational, or otherwise useful content which also attempts to stimulate interest in a business, and its products or services. The idea is to produce content that people want to view and want to share, turning people, and their social media accounts into vectors for your marketing messages.
Content marketing distinguishes itself from advertising in that advertising is something most people try and avoid, whereas content marketing is welcomed and shared. Your marketing has to be subtler as a result. People won’t forward advertisements to their friends. But useful content they will, and if that content just happens to travel with mild marketing language in tow, all the better for your business.
Videos, infographics, memes, podcasts, and short eBooks are all good examples of the sort of content that can be used to promote your products and services.
Google’s Adwords platform is one of the oldest online advertising platforms but is still one of the most relevant. Google controls roughly 75% of online internet search traffic, making it a huge, captive audience for marketers to advertise to.
Adwords uses keywords, linked to advertising and marketing messages, to determine when and where your ads are seen.
As an advertiser, you choose keywords and keyword phrases that you think best represent the words people will search for when looking for something your business offers. You then bid on those keywords, meaning you set a maximum price per click that you’re willing to pay for those keywords.
When someone searches for the keywords you’re bidding on, Google’s algorithms quickly compare your max bid to the bids of every other ad vying for those words, tempering the rankings with ratings on how well your ad and the content it links to answers the customer’s true search intent and other metrics, and then displays the ads for the winning bids.
You don’t pay when your ad is displayed. You pay only if the searcher clicks on your link. Therefore it’s important to focus your message and write effective copy that converts. Google rewards marketers with high click-through rates (the ratio of clicks to ad displays) by serving your ad more frequently. So an effective message can create a positive feedback loop that helps you reach more people.
Keep following our blog for more marketing tips and strategies for small businesses, coming in the future.