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    How to market your small business online

    Top 6 digital marketing tips for small businesses

    Hannah | Oneflare

    Getting a small business off the ground is a challenging, time consuming and costly exercise. After going through the effort of planning and setting up, the next thing you need to focus on is getting found by potential customers.

    Usually, this means paying for ads. Thankfully though, there are ways that you can get around paid advertising, to begin with, especially when your budget may be a little low after paying for setup. Instead, you could invest in a professional graphic designer to revamp your logo or animation on your site. Or maybe you don’t yet have an online website and need to hire a qualified web designer or developer. Below, we’ve gone through the top 6 advertising methods that you can engage in to get your small business off the ground.

    Source: Blue Platypus

    Google my business

    If you’re wondering how thousands of businesses manage to appear on Google Maps, then the chances are that they have a Google My Business profile. These are completely free and are a great way to help potential customers discover you.

    Many internet users perform search queries which include terms such as “near me” e.g. “lawyers near me”. With an optimised Google My Business profile, you could appear in both Google’s search results and Maps for related customer queries.

    Some of the key benefits of owning a Google My Business profile include:

    • You can get found on Google Maps
    • A potential customer can build their trust of your business through customer reviews
    • Information such as opening/closing and peak visit times is available on demand
    • An optimised GMB profile helps improve your search rankings

    Google My Business also offers insights on how many people visited your profile, and whether they did so via Maps or a search query. If you see that it’s beginning to pay off, you can always pay to show up at the top of the maps pack, which will help your business generate even more enquiries.

    Social media

    Social media networks are visited by billions of people every day. As a result, they’ve become a mighty competitive space between businesses. In fact, social media websites Facebook and YouTube are the second- and third, most visited websites in the world.

    It’s no secret that just about all social media channels have become a “pay to play” environment in terms of exposure to new customers. Though there are always ways to beat the system.

    Generally, posting content across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are completely free, albeit with limited exposure. With Facebook in particular, though, you can take things one step further.

    There are many neighbourhood community Facebook groups, each presenting an opportunity to reach a localised audience. Every time a new post is made within these groups, users are notified.

    To find a neighbourhood community group, begin by typing in a suburb name in the Facebook search bar. Then, you will see a list of related groups under the “groups” tab. When you find your group, join and then you can begin posting away. Just be mindful of any community posting rules.

    Another great way to increase exposure via social media is with the use of “stories”. This is a feature derived from Snapchat and has been adopted by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

    Email marketing

    The letterbox drop of the 21st century, email marketing is among the most effective online advertising channels. You can take advantage of email marketing platforms such as Mail Chimp who offer their services for free for up to 2,000 subscribers.

    The trickiest part is building up a relevant subscriber list. Depending on how aggressively you want to generate subscribers, this could be a costly exercise, though we’ll keep to the free methods.

    The easiest and cheapest way to acquire a new email subscriber is to ask a customer in person. If someone has engaged with your business already, then the chances are that they will be more open to receiving emails from you due to familiarity.

    Another great way to obtain new email addresses for free is through the use of lead magnets. For example, if you own a pool cleaning business, then you can offer a free downloadable pool safety checklist in exchange for website visitor emails. This is something that you can ask your web design expert to setup for you.

    The final free method that we’re going to is the method of blogging. Essentially, this is offering free and useful information to your website visitors. Take this article, for example. At the end of the article, you can place a newsletter sign up form. Then, users who find your articles useful might be inclined to subscribe.

    Abandoned cart emails

    If you own an e-commerce site, chances are you’ve experienced customers leaving your site before finalising their purchase or completing a form. This is can be referred to as an abandoned cart. A way to win back these customers is to implement an abandoned cart email strategy for your business.

    Firstly, this involves capturing the customer’s right email in the early steps of your online form. As long as you can successfully capture your potential customer’s email, you can target them with a personalised follow-up email.

    There are multiple reasons why a customer may have leave part-way during your checkouts process, from the shipping costs being too high to getting distracted. Strategies for your abandoned cart emails can include sending easy steps to complete their purchase or creating a clear call-to-action.

    Another strategy can you implement is applying a multivariant split test on both your email campaigns and landing pages. By implementing this technique, we were able to convert 60% of users who landed on our abandoned cart landing page.

    Local citations

    Local citations are the digital version of those thick Yellow Pages books that were once delivered to your door on an annual basis. Here you can input your business details such as name, address, phone number, trading hours, services you offer, website address and more.

    Admittedly, these have become less effective as free advertising methods, and many businesses have moved over to paid services such as ours where you only pay when you get a potential customer.

    Online directories mainly apply to businesses with physical addresses. If you don’t operate from a physical address though, you can look for link roundups related to your services online. Then, ask these websites to include your site as well.

    Contact local SEO and SEM experts

    Review websites

    Many customers turn to review websites to find out whether or not a business is worth visiting or not. Think of Word of Mouth. Not only is it the best way to get free publicity, but on this Australian site, customers can leave reviews about businesses such as restaurants and bars, dentists, beauty salons, doctors and more.

    The best part about Word of Mouth is that the brand has built trust among its community members, meaning that all you have to worry about is getting some positive reviews. The Word of Mouth website receives thousands of visitors on a monthly basis, so this represents a massive opportunity in terms of reach.

    Thankfully, Word of Mouth allows you to list your business for free. Using the free profile, you can respond to customer reviews, upload photos and even post your own deals. There are also paid options, which allow you to create targeted ads, including customer support and even remove competitor ads from appearing on your profile.

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