Unlike larger companies and prominent brands, small businesses have a harder time allocating significant funds into Internet marketing services. As a result, many small businesses take on such Internet marketing initiatives in house.
Whether these duties are taken on by the business owner or a web-savvy employee, the matter of experience and resource allocation can be an issue hindering growth. However, my investing a company’s efforts in the right platforms while employing effective strategies, small businesses can successfully leverage the benefits of Internet marketing.
In this post we are going to take a look at five different platforms, strategies, and techniques that can help any small business grow its online footprint and attract new customers via the Internet.
Consistently Engage on Social Media
Social media is and will continue to be one of the most important assets for your small business. While you don’t necessarily need to be present on all social media platforms, it is vital to choose a few of the most relevant sites and stay consistently active on each.
While Facebook and Twitter are among the most common, perhaps consider including Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and other rich media channels to connect with your target audience. Think about the type of content you wish to produce and share, and how this relates to your business.
Even if you’re able to shoot short videos (even very brief 5 second Vine clips,) then Instagram and YouTube maybe good ways to get your business known. Further, you can experiment with new and emerging ideas like Facebook Live or sharing interesting videos on Twitter and Instagram.
In essence, cultivating a following on social media platforms will be pivotal to helping to grow your business and position your local brand in an pronounced, authoritative manner.
Claim & Verify a Google My Business Page
In the context of local search, owning a Google My Business page is absolutely essential for small businesses. When individuals search localized queries like “chiropractors in Atlanta” or “thai food near me”, Google often displays the local pack (as shown in the figure below.)
Claiming and verifying a Google My Business is first step to better ensure that your business appears in the local pack as well as in Google Maps. Take the time to populate this page to 100% completion, and verify it using the phone call or postcard submission process.
Implement Basic SEO On Your Site
The next phase to better ensuring that your small business in found in local search is to apply specific local SEO techniques on your site. While many companies will outsource this work to local Internet marketing companies and SEO specialists, there are a lot of things that can be done in house (and it’s all pretty straightforward.)
First, be sure to have your primary keyword target defined. This is often easy to pinpoint without requiring much research. For instance, an accountant’s keyword target may be “CPA Atlanta” while a pizza restaurant’s keyword may be as simple as “pizza Atlanta.”
Once this is defined, implement your keyword target on your site in the following locations: Page Title, Meta Description, and on the page copy itself. You don’t have to stuff your keyword multiple times. Instead, just mention it a once or twice where it makes sense.
Lastly, be sure to include the Name, Address, and Phone number of your business in the header or footer of your site (so that it appears on all pages.) This is a very basic yet important trust signal that Google considers when ranking sites in the local pack. It’s also best practices that most local SEO providers will agree upon.
Test The Waters With PPC Advertising
Next to SEO and ranking in the local pack and/or organic search results (yep, you can rank in both,) another potential cornerstone to your small business Internet marketing program is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
Here you bid for ad positioning at the top of Google’s search results and you pay only when someone clicks your ad. Depending on what your small business offers, the cost per click can range from a few dimes to a few dollars. For instance, if you sell an inexpensive product like “vinyl records in Atlanta,” the cost per click will probably be pretty cheap. However, if you’re a plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty, then you may pay upwards to $10 for a click.
Nonetheless, it’s an immediate and highly-effective way to advertiser your business in front of individuals who are actively searching for what you have to offer. To learn more, hop on over to Google AdWords to get started. The sometimes offer new advertiser incentives that can make testing the waters more inviting.
Produce Content On the Regular
Lastly, there are a number of Internet marketing benefits to be had for small businesses that regularly produce content. Not only does this give you something to share on social media, but it can also help improve your online reputation, brand image, and even your SEO efforts.
While blogging is the most conventional form of content marketing for most businesses, you can go beyond the blog post with video content or even just images to share on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Producing content on the regular can help define your small business as a local authority in more ways then one. Creating shareable content can result in more local customers becoming aware of your business and what it has to offer. This can also result in more trust signals (via Google) helping to increase your site’s authority and keyword rankings in search.