Small can be mighty, especially with digital marketing. These days people do a ton of online research before driving to the store, whether it’s a local or national one. Making a goal of establishing your online presence ensures customers can find you and understand you’re the best choice. Even if you don’t sell goods online, you still need to show off what you know and what you have to offer. The Internet continues to be the great leveler, letting smaller companies compete with the big ones, or at least to get their piece of the pie and prosper. You might think the tools and strategies bigger merchants use to get and keep customers are out of reach, but you’d be wrong. Here’s how digital marketing helps small businesses thrive and how you can take advantage of it.
Create a Great Site
That might seem obvious, but too many small to medium businesses skimp on their web sites. When creating your own, look at your competition and how they present their products, pricing, sales, events, and more. Find what you want to emulate and reflect it on your website. Make shopping easy and intuitive, and pepper the text with keywords that will catch the attention of Google, Bing, and other search engines. Think of your site as a way to replicate the in-store experience. Make a place where people can ask questions and have them answered. If you’re not answering questions through your website, you’re missing a chance to dialogue with potential customers.
Highlight Your Local Roots
Big businesses tend to succeed by offering convenience in products, pricing, and parking. But they lack one big draw: community ties. Your physical location can help when clients search for local merchants, of course, but do more than run your address at the bottom of the page. Showcase your staff and stress your connection to the community. Get involved in local events and causes and post about it on your site and social media. Donate goods to schools, sport teams, and charities, and perform nonprofit work. Offer a small scholarship to local students to a local university or community college. The more active you are locally and online, the more eyes you’ll draw to your page.
FAQs Draw Attention
If you have a site you should always, always, always host a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. FAQs are a phenomenal opportunity to help your local search engine optimization (SEO). They’re also a good way to simulate the customer experience, providing a personalized experience even when you and your staff are unavailable. FAQs can be assembled from the questions you or your staff are most commonly asked (naturally) by phone or email, or compiled from surveys. Phone calls can be captured with CallRail for later reference to determine which questions callers are most commonly asking. With the right keywords, FAQs also draw the attention of the search engines, and maintain your site’s standing and credibility as a reliable source.
Be Socially Active
If you want attention, make some noise. Interact with others as much as possible through social media, especially Facebook and Instagram. It not only keeps your brand out there and in people’s minds, it establishes you as a trusted source. Watch for hashtags and mentions of your brand and step in and answer questions and address problems you and your team can solve. Naturally, set up and manage groups and pages on social media under your company’s name so you can moderate and act as an advisor to anyone who visits.
Email Marketing Preserves Lifetime Value
Email marketing got a workout the past few years. While face-to-face sales dropped, online transactions soared as businesses used email to communicate with customers. Even as things continue to open up, a need for email marketing remains. Beyond its use for communication, promotion, and providing receipts, email keeps you at the top of the customer’s minds. They can be used to highlight products and their uses, direct customers to social media, and to request feedback. A well-maintained and strategically employed mailing list can lock down customers for life.
Bigger companies can often offer round-the-clock online availability. When customers have questions, they can contact them through online chats and get answers. Must be expensive, right? Not really. Online chat software and services are more widely available and affordable these days. If you don’t think you have the staff to provide live 24/7 customer support, autoresponders or chatbots can create the illusion of one with answers to specific questions. Chat software can help you keep in touch and on top of customer needs even when you’re not available.
Manage Your Relationships
Are you keeping track of your customer interactions? Customer relationship management software creates a central location for collecting and storing customer data, prospects, interactions, and more. Almost immediately you’ll have a database charting every chat, Facebook message or phone call, letting you track existing and possible customers for future outreach. Many CRM systems, such as HubSpot, are affordable as well.
Plotting Your Next Steps
Those are a few ways how digital marketing helps small businesses thrive. While you can easily implement the above steps into your advertising and marketing strategy, it’s wise to align with a digital marketing agency like Logical Position. At LP, we’ve always said digital marketing is like fishing with many poles and a variety of baits. When you build and expand your online presence, you increase the number of nibbles. Get in touch with us to discuss our selection of digital marketing services and how we can help.