by Cooper Hollmaier, technical SEO manager at Visiture
We all know that marketing is essential for a small business, especially as you’re just starting 8out. You’ll need to attract new foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location and visitors to your website. Finding the time or skill-sets to do the job effectively on a small business budget may seem near impossible.
But fear not! Marketing your small business doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here’s a few ways to make sure your small business is on the right track for marketing success:
1. Set-Up a Google My Business Account.
Google My Business is a free service that will make it possible for your business to show up in local search results. All you’ll need is a Google account to get started and you’ll be able to control your online presence, collect positive customer reviews, and understand your online appeal with Google My Business Insights.
2. Build a Fast, Mobile-Friendly Website.
More users than ever are leaning on their mobile devices for research before engaging a brand. A quick-loading and intuitive user experience will give your business the best chance of reeling in new customers. Keep in mind that popular drag-and-drop builders like Wix and Squarespace may be a good first step to giving customers what they’re looking for, but these platforms aren’t often easily scalable as your business grows and your marketing activities gain complexity (you can also take a look at other Wix alternatives). WordPress may be a better option because it’s free and will allow a lot of the customization that is necessary when running a paid or organic marketing campaign.
3. Start Tracking with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is another free tool that’s a must have if you’re running a business. It can provide insights on how many users are visiting your website, how engaging your on-page content is, and how different channels are working or not working together.
4. Do Your Research.
Using free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Search Console can help you identify which search queries users are typing in to find your business and where gaps in content exist for your vertical.
Targeting broad keywords like, “shoes”, won’t lead to the results you’re hoping for because many large brands are already dominating these keyword placements.
Longer tail keywords like, “shoes for sale in Charleston”, may have less searches in a month, but users are more likely to buy a product when the keyword phrase is more specific.
5. Beware of Fast Win Agencies.
Too often new businesses get pulled in by an agency that promises something like “all your keywords ranking number 1 in the next 30 days”. The unfortunate truth here is that those results likely aren’t possible unless you’re in a very specific niche market.
Additionally, unless you’re engaging in paid search (Google AdWords or Bing Ads), there’s no way to guarantee a first page ranking. In these cases, your business is bidding to win the number 1 position rather than convincing Google naturally that your website provides the best result.
If you’re just starting out and not sure you’re ready for the monthly expense of an agency, that’s okay too. Check out resources like Search Engine Journal or Moz to start learning about SEO tasks you can put in motion yourself.
6. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket.
The search landscape is always changing. While Google is a great way to get more visibility for your business and traffic to your website, you won’t want to put all of your faith in it. Start considering other forms of marketing that you can use to supplement your organic success:
Building a healthy email list of customers and those users interested in your products or services is the first step in starting an email marketing campaign. Once you have this list of emails, tools like MailChimp will allow you to re-engage these users fairly easily and for a very low cost. This is a great way to ask for Google reviews, advertise new deals, or generate other types of user-generated content.
Social Media Marketing:
If your brand is image-heavy, social media may be another great way to engage with your customers. Facebook and Instagram are the popular platforms out there and they both offer both organic (free) and paid advertising options. These tools allow you to engage with current and potential customers. With the average person spending an estimated 5 years and 4 months on social media in their lifetime, your business will want to be where customers are.
Running a small business is tough work but that doesn’t mean that promoting your business has to be difficult. Start small and stay consistent. You’ll be knocking down walls and expanding in no time.
Cooper Hollmaier is technical SEO manager at Visiture. Cooper focuses on comprehensive technical audits for large eCommerce brands, analyzing backlink profiles, and nerding out to marketing podcasts.