Market your business online in 2018 and beyond with this easy to follow 10 step guide.
How to market your business online?
An important question that every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves everyday is “how do I market my business?”. Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for decades, the question remains the same. In this article we will try to answer this question in terms of how to market your business in the present and also in the future.
Technology is shifting the balance of influence away from the major corporations and towards the individual. Digital marketing is shifting this balance in the way we act in business. Influencers are now the brands. Your favourite YouTube personality, Snap Chat idol or Facebook person has more influence on how consumers spend their money. However, before we go into influencer marketing, let’s dive into answering how to market your business in 2017 and beyond.
1. Use Social Media to Build Your Tribe
When building your online shop, store or ‘global empire’ many people tend to focus on one thing and that’s pushing sales, sales and more sales! Now there are two issues with this approach.
People tend to buy from other people, so your mechanical and robotic approach to promoting yourself on a social channel could actually be counter-productive.
Secondly, social channels are a place to bridge the humanity gap. This exists when person A – the shopper is on a piece of technology attempting to buy from person B – the seller on another piece of technology. So the robotic sales, sales, more sales approach just won’t work here!
Your approach on social media, should always be about the “tribe”. What are your customers into? What content would they “like”, share with their friends or return to your site for more? Social is the place to build the tribe, the people behind your brand – the ambassadors. Relationships are key so focus on building deeper relationships and not trying to gain as many followers as possible.
2. Have More Conversations with Influencers
So your building the tribe, right? Having conversations with your niche audience providing them with high quality content that they love you for? Great! The next step is to find the “influencers”. These are the people who have a voice and can get your message to the masses. Essentially, an influencer is a person who has already built the audience that you intend to interact with. These influencers are the gate-keepers and can help you and your brand grow at a faster pace.
3. Have a Website that Converts Visitors into Leads
The content is engaging, the tribe is growing and your brand looks like a pretty cool place to hang out. Now, everyone needs a place to get together. A website is a great tool that a small business owner can share what they love about what they do. You can provide expert advice. Perhaps, you can provide more in-depth content and a forum to discover more about your “tribe”. A website, lastly and most importantly is a place to do business. Your content will drive the traffic but the quality of the website is what makes the real difference.
Your website has to do a few things and needs to do them well:
- Fast and efficient (Performance) – providing the information your visitors need to make purchase decisions quickly and process these decisions from page to page efficiently
- Attractive (UX) – people make decisions emotionally and the way they feel about the look of your site could make a big difference
- Assuring (Credibility) – “does this look like a secure place for me to part with my money?” is a question that your visitors will think about subconsciously. Any red flags such as spelling mistakes, poor design/structure, site speed issues, bugs etc will lose customers fast
4. Track and Measure Your Results
For a small business, results are everything. Knowing how well you’re doing and where you can improve is essential to drive growth.
- Is there a particular page where your customers tend to drop off?
- Has there been any issues affecting the speed of your site?
- Are some products performing better than others and should you push these to increase sales?
These are questions that can be answered using Google Analytics to track your performance.
5. Use Email Marketing to Convert Leads into Customers
This is a topic that a lot of marketers tend to get wrong and may not use the best practices.
In short, you need to build the list the right way and contact your potential customers in an appropriate manner. Segmentation, subject lines, personalization and content are just a few of the variables that you can test to improve how you convert your leads into paying customers.
6. Give Something of Value Away… for Free!
One strategy that works really well is give-away’s! Freebies easily warm your way to a customer’s heart. We tend to see these work well with competitions on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The give-away could be in the form of:
- Educating a customer with a free e-book
- Samples of products
- An actual product – the higher the value the more information you can request.
This is a great way to build that email list. You can also use this as a method to increase brand awareness as people like and share your competition.
7. Listen to Your Customers
Social listening is often an overlooked discipline in marketing. “The customer is always right” is a saying that bodes well if you intend to find more like-minded customers through your marketing efforts.
- What are your customers talking about?
- What issues can you and your business address?
- Can you come up with solutions to help your customers have a better experience when dealing with your small business?
These are just a few questions you can ask yourself.
In terms of research, a great tool, not just for SEO (find out what SEO is on this post “SEO: What is it?“) but for social listening is Google’s Keyword Planner.
We tend to use this to understand what our potential customers are searching for on the internet. We were inspired by the numbers of people a month that search for terms like “how to market your business”. If this is what people are searching for then hopefully we can provide a few answers.
Another tool is Google Trends, and this is great to see what topics people are talking about over time and when certain interests become more popular.
8. Build Consumer Confidence with Reviews
In the music industry, they say that “You’re only as good as your last song”, the same could be said of your business. Your last review could mean more sales or a sudden dip in performance. Review sites like TrustPilot or TripAdvisor are great places to build customer confidence and brand advocacy. Customers tend to tell the truth and aren’t afraid of voicing their opinion online. Bad reviews could be great sources of information gathering to know more about your products and decide which ones to drop. Use these as learning tools and sometimes, you can turn the negative reviews into positive marketing tools!
Generally speaking, it’s always best to respond to every review and show customers you appreciate their feedback. If not, at least respond to the negative reviews. Potential customers tend to ingnore the ten 5 star reviews and read the single 1 star review instead. This is just human nature.
9. Be So Good that They Can’t Ignore You!
When you’re good at what you do, people tend to notice. Customers leave more positive feedback and some might even go out of their way to promote your business and the work you do. How you treat people will be reflected in your social channels, review sites etc. Customer service isn’t something you can always get right but great customer service is sometimes rare and when someone receives this they will more than likely remember you. Who knows, your work could go viral in a tweet or blog post so make sure it’s good.
This is an example of when things can go wrong!
10. Always Strive for More. Good Can Always Be Better
So everything is going well. You are getting consistent sales and you think it can’t get any better. The truth is, things can always be improved.
- Revenue can always increase
- Conversion rates could be optimised and
- There can always be more leads!
- This goes back to point number 4. “Track and measure results”.
You have to continuously monitor your websites performance and make adjustments. Technology moves forward so quickly, you really don’t want to be left behind.