3 online marketing must-haves for small businesses

Internet / online marketing helps small businesses attract new customers, although some companies are still relying on traditional methods with little return on investment. Online advertising is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about products and services because small businesses can target an audience rather than send out a mass communication.

Because of the growing importance of the Internet in consumers’ decision-making processes, Inc. magazine listed three online marketing tactics small-business owners should embrace:

1. A well-designed, modern website

Many small businesses do not have any kind of Internet presence, and a website is a good place to start. For companies that do have a website, pages tend to fall short on delivering relevant information to consumers or are out of date. Poor Web design or an inadequate user experience can drive potential customers away. If people can’t find a business online, they may end up seeking out a competitor instead. However, if a small firm has an insufficient website, it can have the same effect. If people can’t find simple information, such as hours of operation and a phone number, they may quickly exit the site.

2. Local search engine optimization

Once a small business has a website, the priority is to get it to the top of search rankings. However, this is not always the practical way to run an SEO campaign. Since local companies often have a smaller target market, it can be worthwhile to target a certain geographical area to attract more relevant prospects.

Some small-business owners think if they build a website, the page will take care of the rest, but this is not usually the case without SEO. If people search for the company’s name, there’s a high chance of the website coming up as the first result. However, this is not an effective way to attract new customers who have never heard of the brand. The majority of Google users click on a page within the first page of results.

If a person is searching for a specific product or service, it’s rare that he or she won’t find a relevant website in the first page of results. Many small-business owners think high local SEO rankings require advanced programming knowledge, but it is more about selecting the right keywords, having an SEO-friendly website and regularly updating content, Inc. said.

3. Social media strategy

Social media outlets can significantly boost word-of-mouth referrals and increase small companies’ lead generation techniques, Fox Business stated. Some social networks have great targeting tools, so small businesses can reach an interested audience. Many people take product recommendations from their friends, and social sites are a common way to exchange this information.

Social media helps small companies engage with their audience and gives them a channel to interact with potential customers. In fact, social media can generate a higher number of leads compared to trade shows and telemarketing, Inc. stated. Once a business has a modern website and an SEO strategy, social media can complement these by driving more traffic to the site.

Why small businesses need online marketing

Local companies operate on tighter profit margins than national brands, and they rely on marketing to gain new clients. However, print and radio advertising may not have the same effect on business growth because it is not as easy to target an audience. A company website, SEO and a social media strategy can help small businesses expand their reach and grow revenue.

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