The world of online marketing is so vast. If you are a small business owner, you might not be sure how to navigate this world. Where do you get started? How much web-based marketing should you be doing? And what components of internet marketing will be most effective to build your company? In today’s blog post, we’ll cover exactly what a small business needs for a web-based marketing plan, and how to make sure it’s a success.
What is Web-Based Marketing?
Web-based marketing is, simply put, marketing that takes place online. That definition is simple, but as we all know, the internet is only getting more vast and complex. This means there are hundreds of ways to promote your business online, and new ones seemingly pop up every day. And this can make getting started challenging for small business owners – where do you even begin?
First, you need to get informed about the options that exist. Then, you need to make a plan that fits the needs of your unique business and attracts your ideal customer. And finally, you need to measure your results.
So, now let’s find out how web-based marketing can work for your small business.
Web-Based Marketing for Small Businesses
The upside of that overwhelming amount of choices for those small business owners planning their online marketing? It’s easy to find the most effective ways to market your business on the internet once you have a bit of knowledge.
Let’s go over the most common kinds of web-based marketing for small businesses first.
The web is built on content. And with the constant onslaught of information we all face every day, consumers are demanding more content. But more importantly, they want updated and valuable content. Content marketing is about giving those consumers what they want – great content – while enticing them onto your website and into your sales funnel.
Content marketing used to just mean blogging – but now you can create a content in a huge variety of ways.
- write case studies
- record podcasts
- make videos
- host webinars
- create infographics
This content brings in visitors from the web by providing valuable or interesting information. Then it informs them about the products or services you offer, so they can make an informed purchase decision.
Content marketing can also help position your business as an authority or thought leader in your field, increasing your company’s visibility. This can increase your brand awareness and exposure, showing potential customers that you’re an established and trustworthy business.
Content marketing is a highly effective form of web-based marketing for small businesses because the barrier to entry these days is very low. Write some solid blog posts on a regular schedule – you’re the expert as a business owner, after all. Film a few quick but pertinent and high quality videos on your iPhone. Start a podcast with your co-owner.
It’s all possible with today’s easily accessible technology, so you can get started without a big investment of marketing dollars.
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is all about making the algorithms of search engines like Google and Bing work for you. It’s not a fast-acting plan, because it takes a while to start showing up in search results, but it gets you real results over time. SEO can be a part of your content marketing strategy, as they complement each other nicely.
At the heart of SEO is writing so that search engine bots can find and understand your website and your content – what it’s about, if it’s a trusted source, and who would like it. But it’s not just writing for machines. You also need to write to engage the people who find your content so they stick around, read your whole article, and explore your website.
How do you do this? Well, first you read our complete SEO guide for businesses. There’s tons of tips and info in there for how to make SEO work for you. The most important factors are conducting keyword research so you know what your audience is searching for, and making sure each piece of content you create follows SEO best practices. And of course, writing well.
SEO is great for small businesses looking to benefit from online marketing because it’s possible to do it well enough on your own that you start getting results. You can hire an SEO agency if you like, but if your marketing budget is limited, you can also just educate yourself and start implementing what you’ve learned to grow.
Email marketing is very popular with businesses of every size, from one-person companies to Fortune 500 corporations. And it’s so popular because it’s so effective. Think of all the emails you get in your inbox every day – plenty of them get you to take some action, or just remember a company exists for a later purchase. It’s targeted, it’s (usually) not annoying, and it works.
You can use email marketing to
- raise awareness of your brand
- promote new products or special deals
- engage customers with information
- share your content
- say thank you
There’s an email for any purpose. And you can send an email to every customer, or to a very targeted segment. Plus you can automate many email actions, like sending a reminder when a prospect fills their shopping cart on your website and abandons it before they check out.
Email marketing is great for small business web-based marketing because it’s another method with a low initial cost. Email marketing services like Mailchimp are free or very affordable to start when your email lists are small, so you can get going without a big investment.
We all spend a lot of time on social media these days – that’s why it’s a great place to reach your target customers. You can build brand awareness by creating organic content or paying for ads – both are effective components of social media marketing.
Ads are often pricey for small businesses in crowded industries on big sites like Facebook and Instagram, but if your business’s target market hangs out on a different site like LinkedIn or Twitter, ads can be cheap and effective.
And creating content on your own is usually pretty simple. Check out our guide to social media for businesses to learn more about this relatively new and fast-growing form of web-based marketing.
No time to read up on social media for businesses? Watch this helpful video on planning and creating compelling social media marketing!
Build the Web-based Marketing Plan for Your Business
While it’s important to educate yourself on the various forms of web-based marketing out there, don’t start building your marketing plan by choosing a marketing method.
First, you need to think about what your business goals are for your marketing campaign.
Do you want to:
- Build brand awareness
- Increase website visitors
- Boost your conversion rate
You need to consider this first, because different forms of online marketing fill different needs. Focusing on the ones that will get you the results you want will build your business more effectively than just picking a method that sounds appealing.
- social media is great for building brand awareness
- email marketing can help increase conversions
- SEO and content work well together to get more traffic to your website
You might want to focus on just one area, or a combination of methods, to build the marketing plan that works for your small business. It’s better to start small and focused so you do one thing well before expanding than to take on too much and do all of them poorly. As a small business owner, your time and resources are limited – so only go for what works right now with what you have available.
How to Measure Your Web-Based Marketing Success
The final step in any marketing plan? It’s measuring your results. Collecting data on how your web-based marketing efforts are performing has never been easier, but make sure you’re not just looking at fluffy metrics like views.
People looking at your content or liking your social media posts are great – but what you ultimately need to judge is how effective your efforts are at making people want to purchase your product or service.
Get Real Marketing Results
Web-based marketing is incredibly beneficial for small businesses – but it’s time-consuming to get it right. And when you’re running a business, you don’t have a lot of spare time to spend becoming an online marketing guru.
It might be time to call an expert, like the team at ContentFirst.Marketing. We’ll build you the right web-based marketing plan for your small business – one that fits your budget and your goals.
And we’ll make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money with concrete, measurable results in real time. No guessing games or vanity metrics here. Schedule your free business review now to find out how we can work together to build your business.