Promoting a business is a never-ending challenge for small businesses. The Internet is constantly evolving. Just as you get one aspect of your marketing right, things change and you then have to adapt and change your strategies on a regular basis.
So, how can you get your name in front of potential customers when you’re just starting up and/ or when you’re on a shoestring budget?
Read on and find out how you can market your small business, attract more customers and build trust, even with a tight budget.
1. Fix 404 not found pages
If a visitor lands on your site for the first time and all they see is a 404 not found page, it doesn’t create a good first impression.
A 404 page is what users see when they try to reach a page on your site that isn’t found. This usually happens when they have clicked on a broken link, mistyped a URL or when the page has been moved or deleted.
Telling your first-time visitors that they can’t find the information they’re looking for after they’ve already made the decision to get on your site won’t help your business.
So make sure to constantly click on the links on your site to ensure they’re working properly and that they lead to the pages they’re supposed to.
2. Speed up your site
The next step is to speed up your site as this has a huge impact on conversions and Google rankings. In fact, it has been proven that decreasing the page loading time from eight to two seconds can increase sales by 74%.
Speeding up your site is vital because if a page takes too long to load, users will leave your site and, as a result, your bounce will significantly increase which will cause your rankings to decrease.
This will have an effect on your sales as lower rankings mean that potential customers will have a more difficult time finding your business in the search results.
3. Find content with potential and improve it
We all know that the majority of people searching the Internet don’t go past the first page of the search results. However, here is something you might NOT already know: you probably have lots of existing pages on your site with the potential to rank higher in the search results.
It makes sense to put a bit more effort into making those pages better and move them from page two or three, to page one of the search results.
How can you do this?
First you have to find those pages with potential. Google helps you to do this by providing a special free tool. Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results.
You don’t have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimise its performance in search results.
We recommend signing up for it. When you do, simply log into your Google Search Console account, go to Search Traffic -> Search Analytics and rank queries by Position. Anything that ranks between 10 and 20 is on the second page.
Use this information to determine which pages on your site have the potential to rank higher, and then make tweaks and improvements to those pages. Maybe you need to add more content to better explain what your product or service brings to the table, or maybe you’re missing images or meta descriptions.
4. Optimise Your Site for Local Search
Now, more than ever, search engine results are becoming increasingly personalised based on who is doing the searching and where they are located.
This is something you and your business needs to take full advantage of if you want to show up in the local search results when your potential customers are running a search on Google for local businesses.
The first and most important thing you can do is to set up ‘Google My Business’ properly and include all your business information such as phone number, physical address, website, opening hours and images.
The more information you provide on your Google My Business profile, the more likely it will be that someone interested in your offer comes across your name.
This information also needs to be present on your site and more importantly it needs to be accurate, up to date and consistent on all the sites where your business information is shared. This includes social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
5. Create Content for Every Stage of The Sales Funnel
What a lot of business owners forget is that not all the people who visit your site are ready to buy. Some might have just discovered your business and are curious to find out more about what you do. They might not even have a need for your product or service so they’ve obviously not looking to buy.
Others might be in the research phase and are looking into the various businesses that are offering what they might need to find out more. They’re not ready to buy either. There are also those who are ready to buy so they’re looking at their options and comparing prices and features.
All these people can become your customers, but you need to know how to nurture them over time, gain their trust and convince them that they have a need for your product or service.
How can you do that?
With great content. You need to make sure that no matter which steps of the funnel a potential customer is at, you’re there to help with information and advice.
• Awareness. At this stage you need to provide educational content that helps people solve a problem they’re struggling with. Think video tutorials, reports, checklists, podcasts, etc.
• Information. Now that they know they have a need and have started researching solutions, make it easier for them to compare. Create a survey to help them find the perfect product or service, or a table that compares various products.
• Evaluation. At this stage, people are looking at prices and considering whether the price is fair, and which business they should buy from. Make sure you provide the necessary information to position your product as an investment rather than a cost.
• Purchase: You’ve got this!
While this may sound like a lot of work (and it definitely is), marketing your business this way can increase your chances of converting visitors into customers, no matter which stage they’re at when they first land on your site.
6. Add Strong Calls to Action Everywhere
Every piece of marketing that you create – whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or an email newsletter – needs to include a strong call to action to draw in new customers.
It’s just not enough to add popular and relevant hashtags. And it’s not enough to add a pretty image to your newsletter. And it’s definitely not enough to write an informative blog post. You also need to clearly state how people can get in touch with you, read more of your content, work with you or buy from you. So you need a strong call to action.
For example, if you’re posting a tweet sharing an article from your blog, you’re going to add a call to action to entice people to click and go read the article. If you’re publishing an article on your blog, you should also link to other resources on your blog and also get people to sign up to get notified via email whenever you publish a new article.
Calls to action don’t have to be elaborate or ask much from your prospects. They can be as simple as asking for their opinion on a topic, suggesting that they use a specific hashtag when they mention your business, or asking them to sign up for your email updates.
7. Automate your email Follow Up
While social media can get more people talking and engaging with your brand, there’s still nothing as strong as email when it comes to driving sales.
There are lots of services that you can use to automate your emails to save some time. For example, if you’re a personal trainer you can set up automated follow up emails to go out to those who have finished their journey with you. In your email you could ask them to write a review that you can then share on your site, to recommend your services to their friends or to give them an incentive to ensure they’ll come back to you.
8. Repurpose Your Most Popular Content
One of the most difficult parts about creating high quality content on a regular basis is finding topics to write about to keep your audience interested. That takes a lot of time and resources. So, instead, why not try to breathe new life into your old articles and gain even more value from your most popular content?
Re-purposing your content can help you to extend the longevity of your content, it can give you a search engine optimisation boost and you can also make a bigger impact. And the best part? You can reach new groups of people that you might otherwise have missed.
Think about it. Some people like reading blog posts, others would rather digest that information in the form of infographics, videographics (or animated videos), podcasts, etc. So by re-purposing your old content and switching up the formats to present the content in new light, you can attract even more people.
Of course, you can also just give an article a quick refresh by adding and updating some new facts, statistics or images. That works too.
9. Offer Free Trials to New Customers
A very effective way to acquire new customers is to offer them a free trial or some way to test your product or service. This not only helps to market your business and entice prospects to become customers, but is also a great way to gather feedback and make improvements where needed.
You can also ask for reviews and testimonials that you can then use on your site and social media channels to further market your business.
Offering prospects a free trial allows you to show them the value of what you have to offer. This is your chance to prove to them that your product or service is truly exemplary, and thus convert them into paying returning customers later.
10. Make use of Cross Promotions and Partnerships
You might not think so but cross promotions still work, no matter what business you’re in. For example, if you sell wedding dresses, go find event planners to partner with. If you’re a dog trainer, why not partner with veterinarians, dog grooming businesses, and even pet shops.
Don’t know how or where to find these local businesses? Search on Google, Yelp, LinkedIn and even Facebook.
You can promote each other or you can pay to get your business name in front of your partners’ customers.