Online marketing is always a good idea for your small business. With over 260 million U.S. online shoppers, you have a great opportunity to connect with these potential customers, increase sales and build brand loyalty. However, with recent events prompting many people to stay home due to health concerns, in-store traffic has dramatically declined and online marketing has taken on added importance for small businesses.
During unexpected challenges, your online business strategies become more valuable than ever. While all of your core elements – content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) content, social media and email marketing – may be in place, how can you make each one more efficient? To help you get more from your online marketing plan, here are steps to make your strategies stronger and more efficient.
While you can’t predict the future, you can control as many variables as possible to ensure your business is well-equipped to weather unexpected challenges. Here are online resources that can help you keep your business running strong.
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting businesses everywhere, the value of online sales cannot be overstated. By mandate or by choice, more Americans are staying home and spending more time online. An online store is the perfect way to reach these customers and make your products and services readily available.
While popular before the crisis, eCommerce may now be the only way to shop for certain customers. Worldwide online sales have increased more than 50 percent since the coronavirus outbreak and show no signs of slowing. Now, more than simply a convenience for online shoppers, online shopping has become a virtual necessity for many customers. An efficient eCommerce site allows your business to be accessible to your clients 24/7 and operate independently, even if your store is closed for any reason.
Ninety percent of all customers have made an online purchase and you need to make it easy for them to buy from you. Do this by making sure your eCommerce site is easy to navigate and operates smoothly and your eCommerce page is easy to follow on small smartphone and tablet screens. During times when your customers’ patience may be running thin, a quick and easy transaction is important. Offer a variety of payment options to further increase efficiency and sales. Need assistance? Web.com’s eCommerce solutions make it easy to get your online store up and running quickly and efficiently.
Content marketing is an effective way to stay in touch with your customers and keep them informed in any situation. For example, if an unexpected scenario forces you to cancel attending a trade show or you have to temporarily close your store location, updating this information on your website and following up with a blog post helps customers stay up to date and informed about your business.
Good content encourages customer interaction with your website and business and complements the overall goals of your marketing plan. It also provides an effective way to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and allows you to speak directly to your customers. Online tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot and Trello can help you measure the effectiveness of your content to find out what items your website visitors are reading most, so you can monitor performance and adapt your content strategy as necessary.
As you continue to build your content, staying organized is key. Online platforms like Airtable, Contently and Percolate make it easy to categorize your content, set deadlines and milestones, collaborate with team members, share content for internal review and publish articles. This will help you efficiently create content that connects with your customers and builds your brand.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies
During challenging times, your customers need more ways to find and interact with your business. Nearly 90 percent of consumers search online to find products and services and a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is how they will find you.
Refamiliarize yourself with the benefits of SEO and its value in attracting more visitors to your website. Use SEO keyword content to help your business rank higher in online search directories. Consistently refreshing your content attracts the attention of search engines, keeps your business relevant in online searches and helps more customers engage with your business.
To make your SEO plan more effective and efficient, trim or cut old web pages that do not generate traffic to your website. Underperforming web pages can impact your online search engine rankings. Deploy online SEO audit tools that can examine areas where you need to improve or raise your site’s grade. There are several convenient and time-saving tools for keyword searches like SEM Rush and Google WordStream. Web.com can also help you enhance your SEO strategy with Small Business SEO Services and an easy to use SEO tool that provides guidance and helpful advice.
To enhance your customer communications, now is a good time to review the email marketing services you are currently using. While most provide basic tools, you may want more customization and deeper data analytics now that your small business is changing and evolving.
Start by grouping your customers by similar values and interests. Targeting the right market with the right message makes your email marketing campaigns more powerful. To accomplish this, check out free marketing research websites including American FactFinder, MyBestSegments and the Pew Research Center.
Like a new car, eCommerce databases can depreciate quickly. Over 60 percent of organizations depend on prospect and marketing information that is 40 percent inaccurate. Take time to update and maintain your databases to ensure you are getting good responses, conversions and return on investment. To further save time and resources, consider a data appending service such as ZoomInfo and Experian. These services can help you update and edit contact data to produce the best potential leads that can result in higher sales conversions and more revenue. If you need additional assistance, Web.com can help with your email marketing and email business accounts.
If you are like most small business owners, you have limited resources and time, especially during times of uncertainty. Social media is an effective and affordable way to reach your customers.
While 73 percent of small businesses use social media, many still only have one platform. Consider expanding your reach by posting on multiple social media channels. LinkedIn users have a different focus than Twitter followers and while you may want to engage with both, be sure to customize your posts to appeal to the tone and style of each audience.
If you are posting regularly, you can save time, energy and work by using scheduling tools like Later, Loomly and Sprout Social. These tools give you the ability to plan, schedule and analyze all of your social content on one convenient dashboard.
Whether your business is facing challenges or booming, you need to keep your core online marketing strategies working as efficiently as possible. By following these steps, your central strategies will continue to form a strong nucleus for your small business success.