Growing your small business is no walk in the park. You’ve honed your skills, you’ve ventured out on your own and set up shop, virtually or otherwise, now you just sit back and wait for the customers to roll in, right?
Well, not so much. As most small business owners will attest, starting and then growing your business poses a unique set of challenges. With the help of these simple yet effective digital marketing tips and a little effort and determination, you’ll be off to a great start building your customer and referral base.
1. Your Website Matters
A solid digital foundation starts with your website. It’s a virtual front door that often makes the very first impression a potential customer will have of you, so you must make it count.
This holds especially true for businesses that rely heavily on referrals: the first thing a new customer will do is ‘Google’ your business. That’s why it’s vital that your website reflects positively on the quality of your work.
In addition, it’s critical that your website follows the 10 second rule. Within 10 seconds, a visitor should clearly understand:
Who you are and what services you provide
What locations you serve
How to get in touch with you easily
2. Get Found on Google
Unlike in the 1989 acclaimed film “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they won’t always come. Many small business owners think that just because their business is focused on a certain industry, they will naturally appear at the top of Google when someone does a search. It doesn’t quite work that way.
Google has a secret formula for showing websites in its search engine results pages (SERPs). There are several factors that influence which websites Google will show for a search, such as the content of your website and how many other important websites are linking back to you.
You should include keywords in the copy of your website when describing your service. However, they should be integrated into your copy in a way that sounds natural, not forced. Then, when a potential customer ‘Googles’ the keywords related to your business, you will have a better chance of showing.
Much like high school, search engines are a popularity contest. Google likes websites that other people like. For example, if you are a photographer, offer to write a blog post on the Top 5 Tips for taking the perfect picture.
Reach out to influential websites and offer to let them feature your blog post. If they do, that link to your website serves as a ‘popularity vote,’ signaling to Google that your site is important and relevant.
3. Content is Key
A sure-fire way to differentiate yourself and to be seen as a thought-leader is to create helpful content for your prospective customers. Blog posts, how-to’s and infographics are all great examples of content that you can create.
Whatever your format or topic, you can deliver the content via email and social media channels. Be sure the original content resides on your website and always link back to your site and capture that lead!
Once you’ve seen success in creating content, go ahead and sketch out a schedule of future content topics and when you’ll deliver them. Keep your content fresh. Visitors (and Google) like that.
Bonus Tip – Get out from behind the Screen
This tip isn’t exactly related to digital marketing, but it is something that can help businesses find success. It’s easy to get comfortable hiding behind the screen, but making human connections is just as important as digital marketing.
Pick up the phone and sell! As a small business owner, you’ll need to get used to talking about yourself and your business to strangers. So practice your pitch, start calling prospects and hear the objections and questions that will inevitably come up. Hearing them now will only help you provide even better answers in the future.
Pick up the phone and network! Start building relationships with like-minded professionals who can serve as future referral sources.
Are you a graphic designer? Call a marketing consultant who may need to refer you to their client for a re-branding project. You’d be surprised how receptive other professionals will be to you since you can help them show their value to their clients.
The Takeaway: Growing a small business is as exciting as it is challenging but following these tips for digital marketing success will make it easier for clients to start finding you!
This post was recently featured in ArlNow Business Section.