In Ireland, many SME’s find the online world both intimidating and frightening. Visions of information overload, lines of code, and online trolls flood their senses stalling action. It’s unfortunate as online marketing serves as a fantastic medium to drive sales, increase brand visibility and optimize advertising spend. Numerous online marketing opportunities for SME’s exist perpetually underutilized by the sector.
Why Online Marketing?
In reality, it’s pointless discussing ways to boost SME’s online marketing efforts without first speaking of why they should do it. Right now drastic change is taking place in the ways businesses and consumers are connecting. Before, physical location and offline promotional methods amalgamated into a company’s core marketing strategy. An ad in the local newspaper represented good advertising absent knowledge of its effectiveness. Companies kept putting money into the offline advertising jar hoping one day it would transmute into corporate riches. Now the situation is a lot more nuanced. A location isn’t even that relevant to certain SME’s with headquarters based online backed by strong aggressive online marketing.
The ways consumers interact with businesses is changing. Print advertising now represents a minor medium for promotion with a more multi-platform approach required. The vast majority of young people now read newspapers and make purchase decisions online. Online and offline marketing plans need to be integrated in order to keep the brand relevant and visible to consumers. SME’s need to step into the online world and bridge this untapped consumer connection point.
Here are 5 easy online marketing solutions that can help:
1 SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
In this day and age, SME’s need to have a website. It acts as an information hub for your business allowing customers to truly get to know what you do and why. Unlike social media which constrains the amount of information you can provide, a website offers unlimited potential. You can sell your products online through an e-commerce store. Tell your story in a creative and unique way. Provide a blog educating your customers helping them make informed purchase decisions within your industry. All of this builds a company’s reputation increasing visibility.
A website isn’t enough, however; all pages need to be optimized for SEO to appear in the search engine. When done well this drastically improves brand awareness and online visibility. When people make a search about a product you provide within the industry, your company shows up. This is profound when we consider most young people are now searching online to learn or source their desired product prior to the physical premises.
2 Online Directories
There many online directories out there for small businesses. They can offer a great means of providing backlinks to your website improving its authority and SERP ranking. For SME’s without an online presence, it can also provide them with some element of online visibility for people’s search results. If you are looking for a plumper in Kerry and type it into Google then you will show up on the results page.
Budget conscious SME’s can consider free online directories like a Golden Pages, Yelp, Handyinfo , online directories and much more. The most important one is Google My Business as it will ensure your business shows up for local listings on Google Maps driving business exposure.
3 Online Advertising
Ever typed into a search engine and the first results show a green ad written beneath it? That’s what the online marketing community call search advertising. You need a website to execute them. You can pay per click, impression or conversion.
The main benefit of online advertising and PPC campaigns is their measurability. You never know how many people see your ad in print advertising but online you can see exactly how many people visited your site or performed a specific action once the account is linked up to Google Adwords. More and more people are using the Google search engine to find product information and reviews. A well-executed search ad for a specific and industry relevant keyword can trap their attention. Finally, it also provides an excellent way of feeding new traffic to your website and improving its SERP ranking for certain keywords.
4 Social Media
Social Media marketing offers a great method of communication with your customer base and fuses connection. It’s a wonderful platform to update people on your company news, views, and latest offers. You don’t need a website either which might suit some businesses. If you have a website, however, use it as a vehicle to drive traffic to the website by providing inbound links boosting site authority and SERP ranking. You can promote your blog on social media and encourage shares to boost your website’s inbound links further.
Most importantly social media provides a direct link to your customers and a means of interacting with them – 2-way communication. The majority of people are on social media and you must meet your customers at their favored medium, not yours. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Instagram are the most popular. If they have any issues social media is a much more customer friendly channel where people are more open and comfortable expressing their opinion. Furthermore, each channel also has advertising options available which can also be used to incite action.
5 Email Marketing
Every SME should indoctrinate email marketing into their marketing strategy. SME’s ignoring online marketing are missing out on so much growth potential. After all, email marketing offers a free method of communicating with existing or future customers with your business proposals or latest news. It’s very measurable with open rates viewable which normally hover at 10% for new recipients.
When we consider the explosion of mobile marketing and people viewing everything on their phone then email is a much better medium than cold calling which people now find too intrusive. In fact, an email can now be received directly on their phone making opening messages more appealing for recipients.
Market Your Business Online
So don’t let fear and unfamiliarity hold your business back. Utilize the abundance of online marketing opportunities for SME’s and grow your business. If you need help we have great digital marketing packages available and would be delighted to assist your online journey or answer any questions.