There’s no denying that the current climate has encouraged business owners to use online marketing more and jump on the social media channels in order to stay up to date with customers. And if you’ve been one for holding back and not wanting to be online, are you able to keep up with the other businesses who are online?
The way forward is digital. The way for brands to reach out is through digital and online marketing. Social media has been and is going to continue to play a big part in business growth, providing stability to consumers and giving value at every opportunity. How can you embrace online marketing as a business owner?
Why is it important to have an online presence now?
What’s the first thing you do when you need to buy something, seek advice, research a product? You go online. You jump onto Google (or your favourite search engine) and type in the relevant words you’re looking for and results appear. Bingo!
Your customers and potential customers are doing the exact same thing when it comes to looking for your product or service. They are looking for “xxx near me” or “xyz in my area”. If you’re not online, you do not even stand a chance of being in line for that customer.
You need to be in it to win it!
Your competition is online, even if you are not.
This is the same for anything, for something to happen, you need to put yourself in the right place to start with. Give your business a head start and place it somewhere where it can be seen.
Build reputation and trust online
A key reason for being online, is to build trust, loyalty and showcase expertise where it’s needed. You can be there to help solve problems, give insight or advice, sharing your knowledge with people around you and in return building a great reputation for being a business that cares about others.
Being able to offer an outstanding customer service is also part of the package. How much quicker can you respond to a query or concern online. Giving people a place to find you, contact you and speak to you at the touch of a button.
Word of mouth marketing
We’ve spoken to a few business owners recently who still do not have an online presence (hence the reason for this post!), or they have ‘something’ out there but are not sure on how to use it effectively. Word of mouth is great and we’re not denying the power that it can have as a marketing tool but there is so much more potential out there when you make your business available. How big if your word of mouth circle? There are limits to word of mouth. How much more impact could be gained from your word of mouth customers to give you a review online and to recommend you via social media channels that can be seen by hundreds, if not thousands of other potential customers!
Where to start with online marketing
This can be a good question and very valid for anyone not used to being exposed to the open doors of all things digital.
For small business owners, you may have an email contact for your current clients. Why not ask them if they mind being put onto a mailing list? Your first point of call could be to send out a regular newsletter of either things that have been happening / recent projects etc, or to provide offers and latest information. You email list is extremely valuable. The bigger list you can build, the more people you can potentially speak to. It’s far quicker to send out a weekly or monthly newsletter, than to ring round a whole client base asking if they need anything. (be sure to follow GDPR protocols and get the permission of the email holder first)
Google My Business
For the people who are searching for local businesses or services, Google My Business is a great free resource that any business owner can utilise very easily. Simply search Google My Business in your search engine and follow the steps to get set up.
When you search for a business online, you will often be presented with a right hand column of information about that business. It will include website and contact details, opening hours, business information and much more. This can include client reviews or photos too. A perfect opportunity to give an insight into a business, and it’s free!
Facebook Business Page
Depending on what type of business you have, the next step could be setting up a Facebook Business page. This is also very simple to do, just make sure you have a personal profile set up first in order to get started.
Again, depending on your business, how many people are surfing Facebook and could potentially come across your business or service? How many of your current customers are on Facebook and would give you a recommendation or review? Facebook is still the most used social media platform worldwide and gives massive potential to reaching out to a wider audience. If you do not have a website, a Facebook Page could be the first impression a person gets of your business. Creating content around recent projects, live or up to date information, posting behind the scenes images and telling the story behind the brand… all these things make up positive influences towards building a business and growing your audience.
Facebook might not be the place for you, other social media channels might be relevant to your audience – how do you know which channel to choose? Research your audience, find out where they are spending their time, where they are most likely to be interested in seeing your presence and engage with you, and build a presence on that platform. Check out our post on What’s the difference between the social media platforms for more information.
Brand awareness is important however you decide create it, in order to keep a business alive, relevant and up to date.
Having an online presence in this digital age offers cheap and affordable marketing, an easy way to stay in tune and in touch with customers and raise a brand profile in the process.
With careful planning, goal setting and strategy, online marketing is a necessity to keep up with the competition and to create a growing and thriving business.
If you’re just starting out online or with social media marketing, always create a plan of action and know what you’re looking to achieve through being online. If you’d like to talk through strategy and marketing plans, we’d love to chat with you. Get in touch today and let’s start a conversation.
In the meantime, if you’d like to go it alone and would like a check list to ensure that you don’t miss the basics, why not download our FREE social media checklist to get started. Embrace social media, embrace the digital space and allow your business to have an impact!