If you want your small business to grow and flourish you have to attract, engage and retain customers to increase your turnover and profit. But what is online marketing and how do you start putting a digital marketing strategy in place?

A digital marketing strategy is simply a series of actions you choose to make using online marketing channels to achieve your business goals. Online marketing includes your website, blog, social media channels, email marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), content marketing, video blogging and online ads. Each business will have a unique strategy that fits in with its specific needs.

Read more about online and offline marketing – here.

Consider what presence your business currently has online. Does this reach your customers and sustain your profitability, or is there a more effective way to reach your audience? Social media is great, but a stronger online presence is needed to really connect with your potential and existing customers.

With a professional website you build your credibility by offering more information about you, your business, your products and services, highlight the different ways of contacting you, what your satisfied customers think and like about you, and showcase the images that promote what you do. You need to ensure your audience knows what you can do for them and how well you can do it.

Email marketing has been around a long time and is an effective way to promote any great new products, showcase your satisfied customers with testimonials, up sell to existing customers and draw attention to any offers that are currently available.

Remember people want to identify the source of the email before they open it, so make sure your name is in the subject line along with what the email is about. This will increase your opening rate. The content of your email should deliver what the subject promised and can include images if relevant. The email should always include a call to action, asking your reader to interact, and if you are on social media, you should invite them to connect with you.

If you are considering email marketing, make sure you have a professional email address first. A custom email address that is connected to your business domain builds confidence and trust with your customers. It also increases the use of your business name and promotes awareness of your brand every time it is used. Learn more about Professional Email – here.

Another powerful way to engage with customers is interactive content. Interactive content is online content where visitors can engage with you. This could be surveys, polls, competitions, quizzes, assessments, and calculator widgets (where visitors can get an online quote or estimate).

Interactive content is a great way to engage with your visitors, whilst also learning more about them and allowing you to define your market. For example, if you are a company installing windows and doors, a simple way to incorporate interactive content into your digital marketing strategy would be to add a simple cost calculator to your site. Visitors can then enter information about what they need and receive a guideline price.

In terms of online marketing your website speed and user experience is crucial. An increasing number of people are using mobile devices to search on Google, visit websites and shop. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a responsive and fast-loading website that is equipped to provide visitors on mobile a great experience. They need to quickly access your site, browse around, fill out a form, give you a call, or buy from you. If your site takes too long to load or is difficult to navigate customers will leave in seconds. If too many people leave seconds after they’ve landed on your site, it’s possible that Google will interpret it as a bad user experience and your rankings could drop, meaning your site could become more difficult to find in the search results in the future.

Content marketing is an effective online approach that stimulates consumer interest in your products or services. It focuses on distributing useful and relevant content to your customers with the idea that the more value you offer consumers in the form of expert knowledge, the more you’ll entice them to purchase from you.

It should focus on informing and educating your audience in your area of expertise and needs to be consistent to attract and retain interest. By addressing some of the problems your readers may have and answering queries you will demonstrate your authority and establish your credibility. This will stimulate consumer interest in your products or services and promote your brand, ultimately increasing your customer base.

Each business will need to have its own strategy to successfully reach its target audience and that will involve a combination of approaches. But as you seek to expand your brand, don’t forget that on online marketing is a powerful tool.

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