small business retail shop displaying clothing rack

5 Online Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Use these 5 tips to grow your small business’ online presence!

1. Blog about your specialties.

We now live in an age where information has become more accessible and powerful than ever.  You have the ability to EASILY share your knowledge with the world.  And if you own a business, there is a strong possibility that someone else out there is looking for information you know about. Use your website as a platform to prove your expertise is worth purchasing.

2. Interact with other local businesses and your customers online.

Do you have a storefront?  Do you work out of a small town?  People love to support small businesses.  Learn to engage with your customers online – not just sell to them.  Think of social media as a big party.  You wouldn’t go in to that party and immediately start trying to sell your business – you’d talk about what you like and your interests. If you can do this, while at the same time remaining professional and AVOID being annoying to your audience; social media will do wonders for your business.

3. Word-of-mouth marketing is awesome. And it’s still the best kind.

Online marketing has made it very easy for your customers to become your biggest marketing assets.  You already ask your happy customers to share their experience with their friends. Why not ask them to talk about you online as well? So many people these days START their buying decisions online – if nothing else to gain more information. Think of when you’ve bought anything online. Did you look at the reviews before buying? Rest assured – even if your company doesn’t actually sell anything online – people are making buying decisions based on online feedback. Your reputation online has even permeated Google algorithms and affects search engine rankings.

Small businesses are afraid of first asking for reviews out of fear of having them return poor. But we say: You’re better than that! Have faith that you wouldn’t be in business without satisfied customers. Find those customers, and ask them to help you out!

But (you may ask), what if I get a bad review? Yes, it will happen and when it does… First: don’t panic. Most services have the ability to remove certain posts, especially if they’re somehow defamatory. Second: Change your way of thinking – What a great opportunity to immediately address a customer service issue publicly! We still recommend avoiding getting into a commenting war with begrudged customer – even if you’re being extremely nice. Encourage the customer to call you directly, or if you have their contact info, reach out yourself. If you’re able to talk that customer down, and rebuild a rapport, you may even be able to ask them to take their previous comment down. Or better yet: You may be able to get them to repost it with a higher rating explaining how you personally took care of the problem. A disgruntled customer turned happy customer is a powerful public symbol that carries significant weight in today’s online community.

If you have repeat customers, or on-going relationships, offer a discount for posting an honest review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook or blogging about your store, or even posting a picture of your product on Facebook/Instagram and giving you some PR.

4. Google is your business’ best friend. We may be your second best.

Google gives you all the tools you need to make your business squeaky clean online – but it’s up to you to know how to use them.  Google Places and Google+ are a great way to ramp up your SEO and get found by the right people online. Or you can optimize with us. Sometimes its better just to trust the professionals – but we’re a bit biased.

5. Make sure your website is mobile optimized.

Local mobile searches (86 billion) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015 [via eMarketer].  Don’t miss out on a potential customer because your website took too long to load on their phone or the text was too small to read.  Create a website that looks and feels great for the user on any platform or browser.

6. (Ok, so we said there’d only be five. But consider this a bonus:) USE HIGH-QUALITY IMAGES and VIDEO.

High-quality images and video go an extra (million) mile(s) and they do INCREDIBLE things for website engagement. If you can invest in a half day or full day of a photographer’s time (give us a call, we have some great folks we can connect you with, seriously), they will probably produce countless images you can count on to promote your business in the high-quality light it should be seen.

On a side note: It’s not always better to have just any video, than no video at all. With high definition videos penetrating every aspect of online interaction, the online user’s expectation is high when it comes to video. But with DIY video solutions becoming more commonplace, even professional solutions have become more affordable and seriously worth the investment.

Want to work with us? Have some more questions?  Let me buy you a coffee and we’ll discuss how to take your business to the next level with online marketing.