We all know that a business's online presence is important in today's digital world. In fact, over 70% of consumers use the internet to find information about products and services they're interested in.
But how does a business go about improving its online marketing? I'm going to share with you 7 ways you can do this today.
1. Utilize Social Media
The world has gone social. People are no longer content with just browsing websites. They want to interact with them. They want to know what you're up to, and they want an avenue through which they can contact you.
These are the best social media tips for businesses:
A. Make It Personal
Social media is a great way to connect with customers on a more intimate level. Remember that people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Be sure that when engaging with others online, your tone is personable! This includes making an effort not only to answer questions but also to ask them yourself. The more personalized engagement there is between brands and consumers, the better chance they'll have of forming a relationship together.
B. Be Consistent
Consumers expect brands to behave and respond in a certain way, so your social media content must be consistent and easy to find. Consistency also plays an important role in developing trust with consumers who may follow you on more than one social media platform. You need to be giving them the same level of quality content, no matter which type of social media they choose to follow you on.
C. Make Sure Your Online Personality Matches Your Brand Personality
There's nothing that can kill a business's reputation as quickly as having an unknown or untrustworthy brand personality. It goes without saying, but if you want people to trust your business, make sure that what they see online matches up with how the company presents itself offline.
This means you should never tweet, for example, about how amazing your customer service is when you can't reply to customer questions and concerns within 24 hours. If you want to build a positive brand, do something great as well. Otherwise, a mismatch between your social media and real-world personalities can be extremely damaging to your brand's reputation over time.
D. Make It Mobile
More and more people (and businesses) are using their smartphones to access the Internet through applications such as Facebook and Twitter. If you want to reach out to this growing audience, make sure that all of the content you post is easily viewed on mobile devices.
You don't necessarily need a separate mobile-optimized website at this point. But see to it that the content you post online is designed with smaller screens in mind. This way, when consumers view posts from your company on their smartphones, they won't have to deal with any annoying formatting issues.
E. Make Your Content Shareable
If you want consumers to engage with your social media posts, then the content that you post needs to be shareable by its very nature. Sharing allows people who follow you on various social media platforms to spread the word about your business without even having direct contact with company representatives. While it's important to use social media for branding purposes and personal engagement, sharing links also helps to increase traffic back to your website, which ultimately results in more conversions.
2. Add a Blog
A blog is essentially an online diary of your business's activity. It allows you to keep potential customers updated about what's going on. Customers like to feel as though they're part of a community, and a blog helps you to do this. They can read the latest post and comment on it, ask questions, etc.
Your business's website should have a dedicated blog. Don't just stick a few posts on your homepage!
How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog
The success of your blog directly depends on the number of people that read it. The more visitors you get, the better for your business. So how to increase traffic?
This is what you should do:
- Add social media buttons to every post so people can share it on Facebook, Twitter, or their other favorite platforms. Make sure they are at the beginning and/or the end of each article. These two areas tend to be clicked more often than others.
- Link to authority websites in your posts, e.g., other blogs or news portals that already have a high rank in search engines (e.g., Huffington Post). Don't forget about internal linking (links within your blog).
- Don't be afraid to ask for shares. You can put a call-to-action button at the end of every blog post. However, don't overuse these buttons because it can annoy people that read your content.
- Write a really good description of your blog post and use keywords that are related to it because people will search for those phrases when looking for content similar to yours.
- To not bore readers with the same topics all over again, try interviewing experts for example. There is a chance that their words will go viral if done correctly.
- Make sure there is always something new on your blog. Write about multiple topics or offer several types of content whether they are images, videos, or infographics. Don't forget to share your posts on all available networks.
- Use analytics tools to understand why people leave your website after visiting it for the first time. Perhaps you need more pictures, or the message isn't conveyed properly because it's too crowded with information? Always try to improve the user experience.
3. Invest in Quality Images
People trust images more than anything else when it comes to online browsing. If their first impression of your business is an aesthetically pleasing photograph or graphic, that's half the battle won.
However, many factors can make or break an image. Let's look at how to choose images for web pages to help you create effective images for your website.
What makes a good image?
Images should attract attention and provide clear direction about what they're trying to say. They should also be easy to read and understand without any other explanation. Here are some factors that play into making great images:
Good quality, clean photos or drawings can communicate a message much better than blurry or dark images.
The best images contrast the subject from their backgrounds, such as making a person stand out against a solid color or plain background.
Keep it simple! When creating an image, less can be more. Make sure to use as few colors as you can and maybe even stick with one to two fonts for your entire site. The simpler the graphics, the easier it is to communicate a message quickly and effectively without being confused.
This factor plays a big role in branding your business or product because it creates a sense of familiarity, so people know they're viewing your work. Using the same color scheme, fonts, and graphics throughout your website helps people feel more comfortable with you as a company.
Don't make your images too busy. There should be a balance between the image and the text information surrounding it. Your goal is to help your website visitors understand your message easily and in a short amount of time, so limit how much you pack into one area for them to read everything clearly without being overwhelmed with too many graphics or words at once.
Make sure colors are rich and vivid, so they stand out when people see them from their computer screens or mobile devices. Also, remember that brighter images are better because they attract more attention than dim or "dull" images.
Good images always have a purpose and help the viewer understand the message of the website better. For example, if your blog post talks about how to roast meats, having an image of a roasted veggie doesn't make sense since it has nothing to do with your topic. A picture of a table set with a family style meal centered with a roast would look nice next to your article, though.
4. Eccentricity Works
Everyone loves a bit of eccentricity. You know the type: the bizarrely dressed man handing out leaflets for his local pizzeria, the woman who sets up her stall at an arts-and-crafts fair, your boss's uncle who claims he can predict the future through throwing tea leaves into a cup--the list goes on!
To be eccentric or different, you need to be creative. But what does that mean? It means more than just dreaming up new ideas on the fly but also being innovative in how you go about solving problems and executing your marketing strategy.
A. Get Creative with Your Office Space
Your office space can be much more than just a place to store your filing cabinets. It can help set the tone for how you run your business, encourage collaboration, boost productivity, and even create an interesting work environment for clients.
B. Brand Your Ideas
Every great idea starts with an initial thought or inspiration that sparks the concept behind it all. The next time you have a fresh idea, write down everything about it no matter how simple or complicated it may seem at first. The idea may seem like it's hard to summarize, but you'll be surprised by how much your brain remembers. Trust us, we've tried this tip before and were able to come up with the exact product description that our client was looking for without even trying!
C. Be Creative with Marketing
The age of traditional marketing is over. If you want to reach new markets or even connect with old ones, you need to think outside the box (or inside-the-circle as the case may be). Think about what your target market is craving at the moment and find creative ways to give it to them, whether it's a fun photo contest on Instagram or an event at a local pop-up market.
D. Get Creative with Your Sales
If you're having a hard time closing deals, think of creative ways to get your prospect's attention and keep it. Try using personalized postcards or even handwritten notes to stand out from the crowd and catch your client's eye. You never know what ideas will stick until you try them!
E. Go Deeper into What You Can Offer
Not every business owner can offer the same services as their competitors, but that doesn't mean you can't find an opportunity in their absence! If common services are missing from your competitor's websites, why not take the chance to fill that demand? You may even be able to see the gap as an opportunity to do something better than your competition.
F. Get Creative with Your Pricing Strategy
When most business owners think about how they're going to position their prices in the market, they usually focus on how much they can sell their product or service. Instead of thinking about your price tag, think about what problems your product or service solves and how you can position it as a premium option to command a higher price.
G. Embrace Creativity in Customer Service
Your customer service strategy says a lot more about who you are as a business owner than anything else. Even if your competitors offer the same services, no one will care how good they are until they've had an unpleasant experience with your company first.
Always remember that word of mouth is king for small businesses, so make sure you're putting on your best face every time someone reaches out to you! If you are looking for inspiration on how to do customer service right, you can learn from Starbucks.
5. Think SEO
Don't just focus on getting customers through your door. Think of yourself as part of an online community and try to get noticed by the world wide web too!
Think about how people may search for information about your business. If they're looking for it, then it's probably a good idea to have it displayed somewhere on your website so that Google can easily find you.
Easy SEO Tips for Businesses
Here are SEO tips to help you get started:
- Remember, content is king: Without high-quality content, no SEO trick will ever work regardless of whether you are using black hat or white hat SEO techniques. Focus on creating an amazing piece of content that people want to read or share!
- Optimize your site for mobile and desktops: More than 50% of Internet users are browsing the web using their mobile phones. Your website needs to be fully optimized for all devices (including desktops, laptops, tablets, etc.).
- Focus on high-quality backlinks instead of quantity: Focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from trusted websites/profiles to boost your website's search engine rankings.
- Be careful about using plugins: New plugins are being released every day, but you should avoid using all of them on your site at once. If you do install every single plugin/theme without testing, then there's a chance that it can break something on your website or even harm its overall performance.
- Don't ignore your visitors' feedback: You should always pay attention to your website's bounce rate and make sure that the content on your website appeals to your visitors. If you notice a high bounce rate (more than 70%), then there is a good chance that you need to remove some of the low-quality content from your site.
- Find the right keywords: If you want to rank higher, then consider playing with different keyword combinations that describe your product/service. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to figure out how many people search for your target keywords each month. This will help you understand what your audience wants/needs.
- Use Yoast's plugin to get rid of spam comments: Use Yoast's plugin to automatically remove spam comments from your website that can slow down traffic.
6. Offer Digital Payments
We live our lives online these days, and that includes making digital payments. In 2020 alone, the number of people using two or more online payment methods increased to 50%.
If someone can't find a method of paying for your fantastic products or services online, then you're not going to be able to attract many customers.
Various Digital Payment Options
Credit cards are the most popular form of payment, especially on e-commerce platforms like Shopify. Integrating with Stripe is easy and free also. They offer excellent fraud protection for your customers and include powerful reporting tools to help you improve your conversion rates.
Meanwhile, an article by Forbes shared that offering a credit card payment option on your website may offer the following benefits:
- Sales are up by 9%.
- Customers are less likely to abandon their carts with credit card checkout than any other method.
- Shoppers trust websites that use secure checkout even more than they trust sites using new technology, like Apple Pay and Android Wallet (mobile-phone-based systems).
Another benefit of having an online payment method is that it can be used in conjunction with an e-commerce site's built-in marketing features. These include point of sale, where the app can connect directly with the online store, allowing you to manage inventory and accept orders from anywhere.
It can also bridge brick-and-mortar and online stores by letting you use tablets or other mobile devices as point-of-sale devices, which you can control through an app.
7. Get to Know Your Customers
Evaluate how much you know about your customers. What types of products and services do they buy? Who are they? Where do they live? What would attract them to your business? One of the best ways to answer these questions is to create a buyer persona.
What Is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer as an individual. Marketers create buyer personas as a specific target for their marketing strategy.
The ultimate goal of creating one is to help you gain a better understanding of who your customers are--which tells you exactly how to find them, messaging tips & tricks on ways to speak directly to them--resulting in more sales.
A customer persona is a fictitious representation of real prospective buyers that aims at bringing out what motivates them from the point of view of your business or brand. Personas provide marketers with valuable insight into their prospect's needs and fears, enabling them to tailor product offerings best suited to those needs. In short: Buyer personas allow you to build a connection with your potential customers.
Creating good buyer personas comes down to the following four main steps:
1. Know Who You're Selling To
Don't try to appeal to everyone. If you find yourself thinking something like "My product is great, and it would be awesome if everyone could buy it," stop right there.
While having global appeal is certainly nice, most businesses can thank their lucky stars they aren't Coca-Cola or McDonald's--companies with such widespread recognition that almost every single person on the planet has tried their products at least once.
Oftentimes, these big brands have gone through the trouble of creating multiple buyer personas just so they can better appeal to different types of people. Your business might not be as big as Coca-Cola just yet, but that doesn't mean you still can't create specific buyer personas.
2. Know Their Needs
If your product could appeal to anyone and everyone under the sun, you're setting yourself up for failure. Creating a buyer persona is all about catering to a very specific type of customer. Focus on finding out what they like and dislike and use those insights to help guide your marketing strategy moving forward.
3. Find Out Demographics
This one should be pretty straightforward. Knowing who you're trying to sell to mostly comes down to knowing how old they are, where they live (and possibly what language they speak), and any other pieces of information that will allow you to create a specific type of persona.
Take, for example, you're selling a business mobile phone. That's a broad market, but you can narrow it down by considering the following:
- Where do they work?
- What kind of position do they have, or what is the nature of their work?
- How much is their income?
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
4. Find Out Where They Are Online
Knowing where your buyer personas spend time online will help you better reach them through the right channels. Do they have accounts on LinkedIn? What about Facebook or Twitter?
Check all possible social media outlets where your ideal target market might be hanging out. If you know these channels are well-suited for reaching them, then go ahead and create profiles for yourself!
The internet is an important tool for any business to take advantage of, and it's only growing in importance. That means that you need to be using the online space if you want your company to grow or stay relevant.