Marketing your business online as a small business can seem like a mammoth task, especially if you have no online marketing or web design experience.
And as it becomes harder to rank your website in search engines you may not think some strategies are worth the effort. Even with the web becoming more competitive every day, no one will magically find your business if you don’t do any marketing online at all. Even if you don’t rank in the top position on every search engine you could find yourself grabbing a share of the market.
So, if you’re a local business on a budget, what are some ways you can promote your business online?
So what is affiliate marketing? It’s like banner advertising on other websites, but rather than paying a flat rate you pay the site a commission on the sale of a product. The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you only pay after a sale has been made, your advertising costs are covered in the sale, which means the risk on your part is next to none. Affiliate marketing utilises the traffic of an already existing site in your favour. If you choose the right sites you can get your products to customers who already prequalified as interested in your industry.
The main hurdle is convincing sites with high volumes of traffic to become an affiliate of your business. You may have to offer them a higher percentage of the sale. If you’re unwilling to meet their percentage requirements you could try reaching out to more sites within your industry but with less traffic. They’ll be more willing to become an affiliate, but if you want the same amount of sales you will need a wider reach.
Affiliate links can be tracked. You can see the exact sales and from which sites they are coming from and how much of your monthly revenue is coming from affiliate sites versus other forms of sales and marketing.
Many businesses try to crack the search engine algorithm to reach the top spot is search results. And while there are many marketing companies that offer SEO tricks to rank you higher, the truth is to rank well in Google you need to do the simple things right. Keyword stuffing may get your website ranked for a time, but Google will quickly drop your site back to the 10th page for one simple reason. Your website isn’t providing value, and keyword stuffing can make your site next to impossible to read naturally.
That’s not to say you can’t focus your content on certain keywords. These keywords will help search engines to categorise the searches that your business should appear in. In saying that, those keywords, and related keywords should appear naturally within quality content. And there are certain places that you want your main keyword should appear:
- Your page title. These are the titles that you can see in the tabs of your internet browser.
- The title of the article
- The opening paragraph
- Some of your subheadings
- The title and alternative tags of your images
In saying all this if you create a website with 10 different pages all focusing on the same keyword, it will also come off as spammy. Choose topics and keywords related to your main keyword and write about them naturally. As a side effect, you will create long tail keywords that may rank within search engines.
Local Business Directories
Getting your business into a local business directory is another opportunity to build your online presence. Whether you love them or hate them, business directories have the power to put you in front of your audience. They constantly rank in the top listing of search pages and many local business directories these days are offering additional features to help boost your online presence.
Banner advertisements are the billboards of the online world. And as in the real world you pay to get in front of potential traffic that will see your company’s ad. The advantage over this to billboard advertisement is that you can track exactly how many people have clicked and visited your site.
If you don’t have the budget to pay for a banner advertisement, you can find a solution by looking at website in your industry or local area. Get in contact with a number of them and offer to do a banner exchange. You’ll place their banner advertisement on your site in exchange for them adding it to theirs. For this to be enticing, you’ll need a professional, well designed website.
Add an Email Signature
This is something that is commonly forgotten. But every time you write and email or respond to a customer query be sure to include an email signature with your contact details, website and a special offer on one of your product. This is free advertising space for you. It’s somewhere that you can gain added exposure. And if the person you are in contact with forwards the email to a friend or family member that signature will get in front of them too.
Deals are a great way to build hype around your products and business. This could be a percentage off the normal price of your product, or maybe you can give one of your products away for free with the sale of another product.
If you can, try to persuade the customer to sign up to your email list as part of the deal. This provides you with a second opportunity to sell to them later on.
If you run a service business, simply offering free quotes is enough to gain extra customers. If you’re aware of what your competitors are offering and you can do it better and cheaper, you’ll gain a percentage of new customers through this free quote offer.
Local AdWords Advertising
If you’re unfamiliar with AdWords Advertising or Pay per Click advertising these are the ads that appear at the top of search engine search results for certain keywords. These ads are paid for per click. So, each time someone clicks on your ad it will cost you money. The amount you pay depends on the amount of competition for the keywords in your AdWord Campaign. This can vary from 0.05c per click or $20 plus.
Getting the best result for the cheapest price per click can be hard if your campaign isn’t setup correctly but when it is, an Adwords Campaign can bring you targeted traffic who are actively looking to buy your products.