Every commercial business must generate a profit if it is to be successful, and this requires you to sell a product or service that is demand. Even then, it is crucial that you actively market your brand to consumers, using the tools at your disposal and widely accessible online resources.
But what are the main tools of online marketing, and how should you use them to maximize your businesses potential.
Your website is central to any online marketing campaigns that you engage in. Regardless of whether you sell products through an e-commerce model or advertise a service that is delivered offline, it is crucial that you create a website that is easily accessible, well-designed and compliant with Google’s constantly changing search engine criteria.
So aside from keeping updated with Google’s latest algorithm changes, you should also consider taking innovative steps to improving the efficiency and usability of your website. Service driven business owners may look to integrate appointment scheduling software with the website (see our own appointment-scheduling product), for example, as this will enable customers to engage with your brand and manage their individual accounts online. You should also feature bold and interactive icons on your website, so that visitors can easily access your branded social media profiles or add their details to an emailing list.
The brand that your business chooses to project is also important, especially in terms of inspiring loyalty among consumers and emerging as an instantly recognizable market leader. Clarity and consistency are the key points to bear in mind when developing your brand both offline and online.
When it comes to delivery, it is important to understand the most productive methods of establishing a strong and prominent online brand. While brochure websites were once extremely purposeful online branding tools, for example, you may find blogging today to be a more effective tool for engaging potential customers. Blogs allow you to establishing yourself as a thought leader, and build trust and loyalty among existing and potential customers. Integrate an interactive and regularly updated blog with your website.
The rise of social media and its emergence as a professional resource has had a huge impact on the popularity of online marketing, especially among small and medium-sized businesses. Not only does it provide an excellent medium for developing a strong professional network, for example, but it also enables you to market your brand, products and services to a large and diverse group of consumers.
Use social media to actively engage customers in direct, emotive and real-time conversations, in order to build a loyal consumer base and drive genuine traffic to your website. The same principle also applies to strengthening existing customer relations. New to marketing through social media? Learn how to get started.
Direct Email Marketing
In some ways, the emergence of social media as a promotional tool has encouraged some small businesses to ignore the benefits of email marketing. There is no reason why small business owners should not use both to their advantage, however, especially as they represent relatively low-cost online marketing solutions that deliver consistent results. An estimated 44% of recipients reported making at least one purchase based on a promotional email in 2013, so this type of marketing clearly has an impact on consumer behavior.
In fact, this statistic suggests that email marketing tends to create the most effective relationships between brands and consumers. Email marketing is also one of the most cost-effective online marketing methods, so it is ideal for small business owners who want to expand without heavy investment.
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