There can be no doubt that online marketing is a growing field. In fact, throughout these tough economic times, the digital sector has continued to show strong growth. Of course, much of this increase in uptake can be attributed to larger companies – the multinationals who had the foresight to stay ahead of a rapidly changing online landscape, as well as a size-able budget to implement their plans.
These big corporations tend to have in-house online PR and marketing staff, meaning that they are ready to adapt to new situations. Smaller businesses don’t have this ability, and in fact, they probably don’t need it. But it should be regarded as essential for every business to have its own website and preferably a number of social media profiles. Many small business owners have recognised this, and have become a part of the new digital economy. What benefits are they enjoying?
Establishing a Presence
The most basic reason for small businesses to get on the web is that they are expected to do so. In a time when we are depending upon the internet more and more for a wide variety of tasks, the average customer will not be searching the Yellow Pages for local companies. Instead, they will be using a search engine. Your company will be invisible to many potential customers if it lacks a website. Now that so many of us are turning to the online world for products and services instead of walking into the town centre, your website is your shopfront. A basic site with information on your services and contact information is cheap and easy to set up, so there’s no excuse!
Social media platforms are a great way to establish a link with potential consumers. Not only do they add another form of online presence over and above your website; they put you on the same plane as the people you want to sell to. Social media marketing is effective for two reasons. Firstly, you are communicating with your target market via a medium that they have chosen to sign up for, and which they probably spend deal of time on. Secondly, there is great potential for viral growth. Social networks are a fantastic resource because when a customer ‘shares’ something that you have posted, they are implicitly endorsing your business. Their contacts are then more likely to view you in a beneficial light, thus making them more likely to also interact with your profile.
Easily Publicising Incentives
The viral potential of social networking makes it child’s play to attract more traffic and, hopefully, sales. By running a competition for a comparatively low-value item, such as a free cinema ticket or something from your shop, you can achieve massive exposure. Do this by requiring each entrant to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ your page before they can be entered into the draw. Once again, you are receiving a subtle endorsement from each entrant, and you are making it more likely that increased numbers of people will be exposed to your messages. This is because once they have ‘liked’ your page, consumers will see your status updates in their home feed.
Thomas Jones is Content Manager for I Say! Digital, the outsourced SEO specialists. Though he mainly takes care of copywriting and content creation services, he is training to become a social media consultant. In his spare time, you might find him brewing his own beer and talking politics.