The term “digital marketing” was first used in the 1990s with the development of the Web 1.0 platform that allowed users to find information on the internet. Marketers quickly took notice and in 1993, the first clickable web banner went live.
Fast forward to today when most successful businesses have a website, social media strategy and email marketing campaign – and for good reason. Nearly 90 percent of customers conduct online research before making a purchase and 96 percent of Americans shop online.
As a new small business owner, you may feel like you’re behind when it comes to your online presence but there are easy ways to keep pace and stay competitive. Here are a few ideas.
Develop a Strategy
Almost three-quarters of small businesses use social media, but many of these companies don’t have a strategy. When establishing a digital marketing footprint, be sure it is a natural extension of your marketing plan. Do you want to create more brand awareness, attract more customers and build stronger customer relationships? An online marketing strategy can make it happen.
Over 2 billion people will shop online this year. By implementing a digital marketing plan, you are reaching customers who are searching for your business and making it easy to find your solutions. Online marketing is effective, affordable and puts you in the same marketplaces as your largest competitors – and it all starts with a website.
Build a Website
Your website is the hub of your business and brand. It gives your business credibility, attracts customers and informs them about your products and services. It also provides you with an online storefront that can be constantly updated, helps customers find you through online search directories, gives you a mobile presence for customers on the move, enhances eCommerce sales and offers your customers timely and helps to increase brand awareness.
If you don’t have an online presence, follow these easy steps to get started:
Secure a domain name.
A domain name is more than an internet address – it’s an online calling card that uniquely identifies your business. It should be short, easy to remember and descriptive of your business. Web.com makes it easy to select and register a domain name for free. We also register the domain in your name so you always own the rights to this address until you sell or relinquish it.
Choose how you will build your website.
Today’s advanced technologies make building a website and getting your business online fast and easy. If you choose to partner with Web.com, we’ll do everything for you from start to finish with our custom website design services. We’ll discuss your business goals and what makes your company unique, then review website templates with you to determine what styles you like best. Our writers and designers will take this input and create a website that has a positive impact on your customers and business.
If you would like to create your website yourself, our DIY website builder uses “drag and drop” functionality to make it easy to build your site in a few clicks. You can choose from hundreds of website designs, thousands of free images and customizable text and images. If you need assistance during any part of the website building process, Web.com experts are available to answer your questions and guide you toward success.
Select a web host.
Your new website needs a reliable online home. Web.com makes it easy by offering convenient and safe hosting options. We guarantee 99.9% uptime performance and plenty of storage for your website needs.
Create purposeful content.
Once you develop a website, you’re ready to build your business with online marketing. Your online content should speak directly to your customers and reflect your marketing goals and objectives. Here are a few ways to begin:
Develop website and social media content that connects with customers.
Build and maintain a strong connection with your customers by creating blogs and social media posts on a regular basis. Blog posts establish you as a thought leader and create customer awareness about your business, while social media posts build a following for your business and attract customers to your website.
Use search engine optimization (SEO) keywords to attract more customers.
Adding SEO keywords to your blog posts and other website content will help your business to be prominently featured in online directories like Google, Yelp and Bing when customers are searching for your business. Review what industry-related words and phrases your competitors use in their website content to help you get started.
Update your website content frequently to keep customers coming back.
When you consistently update your website content, search engines take notice and boost your company’s ranking in online search directories. Frequently creating new content keeps you top of mind with customers and informs them of your latest business developments.
Track your progress.
One of the biggest benefits of small business digital marketing is that it’s measurable. For example, you can track how many additional website visitors you gain after a blog or social media post. Free sites like Google Analytics allow you to quickly and easily track your progress. Use this data to set realistic goals for website visitor traffic then formulate or adapt your digital marketing strategy to make it happen.
Keep an eye on your business reputation. Monitor comments on sites like Yelp and Travel Advisor to see what customers are saying about your products and services. This input helps you better understand what your customers want and can improve your business.
By developing online presence strategies that complement your marketing goals and objectives, you’ll reach more customers and stay competitive. Online marketing is effective, affordable, measurable and helps you make the most of your marketing investment.
After working with over 3 million small businesses to get them up and running online, Web.com is ready to be your online marketing partner.