Small and medium businesses have to be a bit more creative when it comes to marketing their products and services. Particularly in traditional marketing, which is typically limited to bigwigs and more established large companies. With the Internet age, marketing is now more accessible for small enterprises. Internet marketing for small businesses levels the playing field to gain access to a wider audience reach.
The World Wide Web provides fantastic avenues that SMBs can exploit for their promotional activities. A small enterprise can have exposure for its firm using different campaigns and creative strategies. With just a click of a button, effective marketing is within reach.
What are the possibilities that digital marketing can provide for the 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S.? Employing over 1.8 million new jobs, various small and medium businesses in the U.S. are clamoring for a cost-effective marketing approach that provides sizable returns for their marketing investment.
Definition of Internet Marketing
As the term suggests, Internet marketing is an approach to marketing the products and services of small firms via digital means – through the World Wide Web using various mediums and channels.
Internet or web marketing encompasses the various ways a business can promote what they offer via online means. These online methods are effective in promoting the business to more people than the limitations of traditional advertising. Everything from social media and websites to email is a possible avenue for a small enterprise to reach prospective customers.
In the 21st century, the majority of the world has access to the Internet. It is a must nowadays – be it for work, studying, or simply entertainment. The Internet revolutionized the way people reach out, connect, and share information with others. Leads and customers are out there online – looking for a business that can serve their needs. This is where small enterprises can seize the moment and expose their brand.
What Makes Internet Marketing Important
The use of the Internet or web marketing for small businesses is crucial for the growth of these small and medium-sized firms. There are various reasons why small and medium businesses turn to this type of marketing for their promotional activities. Here are a few of them:
Gain new customers
Attracting new customers to try the products or services of a small firm is now easier thanks to digital marketing. It opens up new channels to reach more people. Selling to a new customer comes at a cost, and there’s a slim chance of converting new customers at 5%-20% compared to existing customers at 60%-70%. The answer to this challenge of effectively capturing new customers? Internet marketing.
Traditionally, smaller ventures did door-to-door sales or hand out fliers to convince people who haven’t tried their product or service. This method is time-consuming and requires a lot of energy. Meanwhile, digital or web marketing can simultaneously reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people from a single website or social media channel.
Marketing via the Internet works in contributing to the profits of a business. It keeps the revenues up by making more customers know about what the small or medium business offers. Landing pages, for instance, are a staple of this type of marketing that is effective in bringing in leads. Adding 10 to 15 landing pages has the possibility of increasing leads by 55%, which is a considerable amount if your goal is to get more sales.
Landing pages are just one example – they cost less, and yet, can contribute to conversions. The fine balance between spending for marketing campaigns versus the ROI it generates is possible with digital or web marketing. No longer is it prohibitive or overly expensive for a small firm. Through these marketing channels, small and medium businesses can promote to a large audience and have the chance to increase their market share.
Align to new trends
Industry trends dictate consumer behavior, which is how Internet or web marketing can help move small companies to become relevant in the ever-changing times. Avinash Kaushik, Google’s digital marketing evangelist, pushes for a 70:20:10 rule of marketing focus. This mindset focuses on 70% of the core business, while the 20% and 10% are about exploring new marketing activities.
As new developments in marketing and advertising arrive, it’s important, all the more, for small and medium businesses to ride on the new trends. They can make their business far more relatable and aligned with the current needs of the times. The Internet is a breeding ground for new marketing activities that push the boundary of how smaller trades can promote what they offer.
Establish brand relationship
A loyal brand following is possible to cultivate with marketing via the Internet. It has become easier to reach out and connect to prospective customers and make them feel attached to the SMB. A study supports this further – over 90% of those that follow a brand’s social media page are also willing to buy from them. The role of Internet or web marketing, particularly in the social media realm, is thus a crucial part of brand loyalty.
Building communities together is possible with this type of marketing. Small and medium businesses can bring together a niche group of people who will be loyal to their brand. The advantage of Internet or web marketing is that it can be personalized to the recipient, making it a more impactful way of connecting to loyal fans of the business.
How Do Small Businesses Use Online Marketing?
For small and medium businesses, implementing digital campaigns is easier thanks to the various online channels available to them. Some of the common ways SMBs use online marketing include these.
Building a website is one way small firms can market their products and services. They can proudly display the link and use them across various online channels.
Websites serve various purposes for an SMB. It is where prospective customers can seek information about what the business offers to them, contact them, or even process the transaction entirely within the website.
For a more personalized approach, smaller ventures turn to email marketing to connect with customers and lead directly to their inboxes.
Emails work effectively as it’s a way to communicate to every possible prospect or returning customer. SMBs use emails as a way to reach out to customers either via bulk promotional messages or crafting an email for the specific needs of a single client.
Marketing through social media is a staple for small enterprises that need a cost-effective method to reach out to customers. All it takes for the business to have an avenue to communicate to leads and customers is to create a social media page or account.
The social media page of an SMB acts as the hub of information and engagement among customers and loyal fans of the business.
Videos demonstrate the unique selling proposition of a small firm. Additionally, it is an effective messaging technique that can capture customers.
With many platforms that allow the posting of videos online, an SMB can show prospective customers their branding or a clearer understanding of the products and services.
The development of interactive content brings marketing to a new level for small firms. Some of them include apps, games, quizzes, or even virtual reality.
These interactive marketing methods make customers more interested in engaging with an SMB. It adds up to the appeal of a small enterprise wanting to attract customers online.
Online Marketing Strategies for a Small Business
How does an SMB get started with online or web marketing? The key here is planning a thoughtful strategy. To ensure better returns from these marketing activities, the following are some tried and tested strategies that prove worthwhile for a small firm.
What looks too technical at the start is a basic digital marketing strategy that small and medium ventures have to implement. SEO, or search engine optimization, makes the SMB more visible in search engines.
People search online for businesses that cater to their needs. The website and other online channels need to be optimized to make the business appear in the results of search engines. This process of optimizing includes both the on-page and off-page. On-page is about the inside of the website, while off-page is the collection of links from other sources.
2.Target relevant keywords
A crucial starting point to an effective marketing strategy is by identifying keywords that an SMB needs to relate its marketing activities to.
Keyword research ensures that a business targets relevant keywords that people are using whenever they search for a product or a service. By finding these keywords, a small firm can show up on its website or other online channels every time an interested customer searches for a term or phrase associated with the business.
3.Identify a consumer profile
The consumer profile or customer persona sets the direction of marketing activities. By having target demographics, an SMB can convert customers easily.
It is by having a defined set or group of people that a small firm can find ways to target its niche. Everything about their marketing approach will be targeted and relevant to the prospective customers and leads of the business. This consumer profile allows small enterprises to input specific metrics important in their marketing campaigns.
4.Use paid campaigns
Paid advertising supplements the organic marketing efforts online. This could be Google’s Pay Per Click campaigns or using Facebook’s variety of ad formats. Utilizing paid campaigns can help boost the visibility of an SMB.
The good thing about paid marketing campaigns is that they are not prohibitively expensive. There is no need to set aside huge advertising budgets to run a campaign. Small enterprises can already set up and launch a digital paid campaign without having to shell out a large share of marketing expenses.
5.Be active on different platforms
Maximize reach by diversifying the use of different online channels. SMBs can achieve more coverage with different platforms.
Instead of using one online channel, small enterprises nowadays have more platform options where they can provide information about what they offer and reach out to more leads online. Diversified online activities allow for more volume in terms of engagement from several potential and interested customers.
6.Connect with influencers
Influencers, especially niche or micro-influencers, can benefit smaller ventures with their already established and loyal following. The advantage of influencers is the trust that they have built with their followers.
When an SMB gets into the picture of getting recommendations from an influencer, people are more likely to trust the business. They would want to associate themselves with the brand through the suggestion of a credible influencer online.
7.Loyalty and rewards program
Customers who frequent the SMB can appreciate it more when you offer loyalty and rewards programs to them. This type of promotion can easily attract new and returning customers.
As a marketing strategy, a small firm can start sharing information about their rewards program either through email subscriptions or through their social media following. Additionally, loyalty perks can even contribute to the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer making a transaction with an SMB.
8.Monitor marketing activities
Another vital factor in marketing a small enterprise online is by tracking the campaign performance. This is possible through monitoring tools like Google Analytics.
By tracking the marketing activities, an SMB can measure which actions brought more traffic or conversions. They can modify the digital campaigns according to the results that they see. Thus, making it easy to replicate successful campaigns and tweak other digital marketing activities to make them generate ROI as well.
Making the Digital Marketing Work
As with any marketing activity, it’s also important for SMBs to reap the rewards and gain a favorable outcome from their digital marketing efforts.
Internet marketing for small businesses can be effective if they have a strategic partner that knows what approach, platform, and campaign method will work for the business. There’s a need to find a reliable digital marketing partner to execute the online marketing activities to see results.
Luckily, there’s an abundance of marketing agencies providing services for SMBs. However, it’s best to choose the right marketing firm that can push for creative and effective campaigns that will drive the small and medium businesses further. Among the providers that provide effective Internet marketing for small businesses is VSF Marketing.
The competent pool of Internet marketers from VSF Marketing proves that the Tampa-based digital marketing agency can serve the needs of small and medium-sized firms. Having worked with several small and medium businesses allow VSF Marketing to implement campaigns attuned to the unique needs of the small and medium business sector that want a workable marketing strategy.
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