Online business used to be simple just a decade ago. Regardless of the product or service you were selling, the competition was quite low, so you could get them in front of your target audience much easier. Then, Google. Online entrepreneurs didn’t have to follow a lot of SEO guidelines and stuffing a web page with keywords was often enough to drive traffic.
Well, gone are these days. Now, your business must stand out from an ever-increasing competition, and this is getting tougher each year. With the number of online businesses growing quickly, you have to use everything you can to beat those who want their piece of a huge eCommerce market that is on its way to hit the $4.8 billion mark in 2021.
Well, today I’m going to help you make sure that you cover all bases when it comes to online promotion of your business. Don’t worry, I’m not here to make you spend everything you have in your marketing budget because there’s a lot that you can achieve with a little or no cost.
How’s that sound? If you’re still here, let’s begin improving the future of your online business by boosting its online presence. Here we go.
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1. Set up a Blog
Selling online is not enough now to attract a lot of traffic to your eCommerce website. Why? Because Google thinks so. According to the search giant’s policy, you have to create content to share with Internet audiences and help them make an informed choice of a product or service.
Yes, I’m talking about a blog. It’s a special section on a website where businesses publish articles, videos, infographics, audio, images, and other content types and discuss topics that their target audiences find relevant.
Here are the top reasons why your business’s website should also have one:
- Target leads and current customers. A blog allows discussing your products or services and the benefits they provide to your target audience, which is something they often look for
- Increase traffic on your website. Google likes when websites provide fresh content that its users find interesting, so it helps those sites get more traffic by ranking them higher in search results. There’s evidence to support that: companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get about 3.5 times more traffic than those publishing less than 4.
- Build an image of a thought leader. By publishing such content as product reviews and how-to articles, you can demonstrate your expertise and improve your reputation among your target audience. Since 89 percent of customers research products online before buying, you can be of great help to a lot of them.
Since content creation for a blog should be an ongoing effort that requires you to be consistent and creative with your content to make it relevant, personalized, and interesting, here are some tools to help:
- Blog Ideas Generator. Get more ideas for your blog topics
- PickWriters. Translate and localize your content to reach more customers
- BuzzSumo. Discover popular content on the web and get inspiration for your topics
- Grammarly. Get your content proofread to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes
- Hemingway Editor. Check your texts for style and complex sentences to make them easier to read.
2. Get a My Business Page on Google
This is an absolute must for online businesses now because it’s an amazing tool to manage their online presence across such Google products such as Search and Maps. Let me demonstrate the importance of having this account with a simple example.
Your potential customer is looking for a business like yours in their area, so they use their smart speaker or phone to perform a voice search.
“Hey Google, what’s a good Italian restaurant near me?”
Google gives them a list of nearby restaurants with good reviews, and it’s up to the customer to select which one to visit.
The reason why I chose voice search to show the importance of having a business page on Google is that it lets you appear in local searches, a large share of which is made with voice (often on the go, too).
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Besides, the number of voice searches is quickly increasing (for example, a recent study by Bright Local found that there were over 1 billion of them in January 2018 alone!), and 46 percent of voice search users look for a local business daily.
By the way, here’s a breakdown of the businesses that voice users look for the most, according to the aforementioned BrightLocal study.
If you’re operating a business in one of these fields, I strongly recommend you get a page on My Business and keep it updated to provide people with accurate information. It’s free but you’ll have Google working to make your business stand out.
Pro tip: work on getting great reviews because Google seems to increase the ranking in the local 3-pack of businesses that have more positive reviews.
3. Take Advantage of Social Media
Check this 10 Best Social Media Analytics Tools in 2018 : Best Social Media Analytics Tools
I heard someone saying that businesses shouldn’t work hard on getting leads from social media because they may not know if their target audiences are there. This is exactly… wrong! Come on, Instagram alone has 1 billion active monthly users and 80 percent of them follow a business account!
Having a social media account is a perfect way to get your products in front of your target audience and demonstrate how they can use them to make their lives better. This is a legitimate strategy; for example, 60 percent of people say they found new products on Instagram. No wonder the platform has recently introduced a new feature called Shopping on Instagram to enable businesses to lead viewers to product pages directly from posts.
Instagram isn’t the only social media network that your business can benefit from. In fact, here are the best practices of using the most popular networks for your business:
- Facebook: share news about your company, behind-the-scenes content, run contests, connect with customers directly and build a loyal group
- Instagram: showcase and sell products and services, run contests, connect with customers, drive traffic to a website
- LinkedIn: share white papers, industry reports, industry news, company news, run hiring campaigns, drive website traffic, connect with potential clients (this is the best platform for B2B businesses)
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4. Use Email Marketing
Emails remain the most important way to connect with online customers directly. It has the highest return on investment among the most popular online marketing channels, so about three-quarters of online businesses invest in this strategy to increase customer engagement and sales.
Here’s a couple of reasons why email marketing is a no brainer for businesses:
Emails are an excellent opportunity to grab the attention of potential customers. For example, you can invite them to sign up for your newsletter and supply them with the information they find interesting – sale announcements, industry news, contests, and so on. By doing so, you’re keeping your business on top of their minds.
Product-related emails are the most popular among online businesses, according to The Manifest 2018 Email Marketing Survey. As the image below shows, 69 percent of businesses send product updated and promotional messages to their subscribers.
It makes a perfect sense because, with emails, you can make your offers really enticing. For example, you can let your subscribers know about an upcoming sale or discounts on products that they were checking out the last time they visited your website.
Check out this email from an Italian coffee brand Illy. This is an excellent example of a promotional message that rewards a subscriber for their loyalty by offering them a discount. Besides, the message creates a sense of urgency, too, because it’s the last chance to get that deal with a promo code.
In addition to connecting with your leads and customers directly, you can also share your news and updates on your social media profiles to build your followership.
Boost Your Online Presence
Hope this helps you to get an idea of how to promote your business online. All the tips I just described will cost your business nothing or very little, so you can save a big part of your marketing budget while doing a great job at increasing the online reach of your business. Remember: online marketing isn’t optional right not, it’s a must to outperform the competition.
Also check: Why has content marketing become so important for SMBs?
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