So, you’ve taken the plunge and opened yourself a brand-new small business, but where do you start when it comes to marketing, branding, and making sure that your potential customers can find you online?
This is a question that owners of nearly every small business, and even most medium-sized businesses, have asked themselves before they find their feet in an ever-increasing world of competition.
The Digital Evolution
Going back 10 years, or even 5 years, putting your business online was tricky but not unachievable, and the upside was that many businesses hadn’t even considered going fully digital, which meant that the competition was a lot lower.
Skip ahead to 2021, and every business is being encouraged to have some kind of online visibility and presence, and sometimes businesses are going too far in the wrong direction and investing in options that both do not suit their business and will waste precious budget.
It’s up to every small-business owner to assess the channel that they are considering using for the suitability of their business and to truly think about whether or not the channel is worth it in terms of time and budget.
Get Serious About Branding
Branding is a process that every business should do, whether you are a large multinational corporation, or a tiny micro-business or one-man band working from your kitchen table.
Branding isn’t just about making sure everything looks the same; there is a lot to consider including imagery, tone of voice, suitability of marking materials, and how you approach your marketing campaigns to ensure that your brand stays authentic to your core business values.
If you are a small or medium-sized-business owner and you want to branch out into finding a new avenue in order to reach your customers, then the following ideas may be able to help, but do make sure that you have done your research and that you are not investing in channels that are not suitable.
Depending on what your business does or what it sells, getting the support of professional influencers could be a great way to boost your brand visibility online and reach new audiences that you may have not considered before.
Working with influencers is a popular idea and more businesses are leaning towards influencer marketing in 2021 for one simple reason: people buy people.
As an example, Instagram influencer agencies increase visibility. So, if you are serious about investing in influencer marketing for your business (especially on hugely popular social networks such as Instagram) it may be worth doing some research to help you facilitate a conversation between your business and the influencers you may wish to work with, while also keeping everything legal and above board.
Start A YouTube Channel
Does your business have a YouTube channel? So many businesses have opened YouTube channels, but they are not posting regularly, and this may mean that they are missing out on a wide audience and the chance to truly monetize their brand.
YouTube is a fantastic platform for businesses because it builds trust and authority between businesses and their customers or clients. If your business wants to invest in video marketing, then using YouTube to share your message is a great way to do it.
Be warned though, YouTube is not a great platform for just sending out endless marketing videos, so you need to engage with and give back to your community. This is the way that you can build your YouTube following and ensure that you have a loyal audience.
Improve Your Blogging Game
It’s incredible that so many companies don’t value what blogs can do for their business.
If you are still thinking about blogs as being lifestyle outlets for internet mommies then you are missing a huge and valuable opportunity to advertise your business!
It is a bold statement to make, but every business can benefit from having blog articles on their website, because more people are searching Google every single day for answers to questions that you could answer.
It’s time to stop thinking about a blog as a blog, and start thinking of it as an article that gives your users the information that they need in a helpful and easy-to-understand way; while also espousing the benefits of your business and your products in order to create a bigger audience of loyal and engaged customers.
Get Better Product Photos
This is a tip that hardly anyone considers, but it is an important tip for two very clear reasons.
The first reason that you should get high-quality photos of your products is that people want to see your product in all of its glory. This means showing off your product in great lighting and from every angle; and if it is clothing, showing what it looks like on models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
The second reason to get high-quality photos of your products is in order to help your search engine optimization (SEO). While this may not seem like a very good way to help your brand increase its visibility in internet searches, it is important to understand that effective SEO doesn’t entirely rely on text responses.
Google is getting better at recognizing images that are unique and not used by anyone else.
With this in mind, if you go the extra mile to get your own pictures of your products and pictures for your website, even if other businesses are selling exactly the same products, then you’re more likely to be seen as unique by Google.
Improve Your Website’s Usability
Another big area for improvement that most small businesses could probably do with looking at is improving the usability of their website.
So many businesses put a lot of effort into creating great social media content, and they may even write amazing blogs too; but if your business has a website that is difficult to use and hard to navigate, this will turn your users off and they are unlikely to want to use your service if it involves engaging with your website too much.
Modern CRM systems such as WordPress, are very useful and can be used by people with little to no web design experience or skills to create good-looking and easy-to-navigate websites that are both functional and secure.
Learn To Interpret Data
Interpreting data doesn’t seem like it would be a logical topic to put in an article about boosting your online visibility, but like all aspects of marketing, it’s pointless undertaking a process unless you have a good idea of what the outcome is going to be.
In the case of carrying out a marketing campaign to boost your business’ visibility, you need to understand the metrics and the data that make the most sense to your business.
In marketing terms, this means understanding who your business appeals to, what stage of life your customers or clients are in, what other products they are interested in, and any other relevant information to help you get to know your customers and clients better.
You can also use data and analytics to find out how your customers are interacting with your brand, especially on your website and through your social media, as this will help you to adjust your messaging to suit the audience at the right time and in the right place online.
Be Consistent Across ALL Networks
For most small businesses, their website and their social media presence are two of the places that customers will visit in order to engage with them and to find out more information on their products and services.
While this is good, and you certainly do want to encourage customers to engage with your business and visit your website, if your brand is not being consistent across all of the channels on which it has a presence, your users will quickly become confused and may even ditch your brand because it has become untrustworthy.
This is why good branding is so important. It’s time to make sure that you are consistent everywhere that your brand is visible. This means understanding the importance of consistent colors, using the right type of images, and even getting your tone of voice right.
You may need to adjust some elements (such as your tone of voice) to suit the channel on which your business is appearing, but your business should be using a consistent look and feel everywhere in order to help your customers identify your brand and hopefully share it with their friends and family; therefore boosting your visibility.
Consider Local Partnerships
One more concept to consider, which a lot of businesses don’t think about straight away, is to use partnerships with other businesses to your advantage.
This usually works best with businesses that rely on local custom, and it can be a great way to leverage another business’ audience.
An example of a great local partnership is a pet photographer buddying up with a dog-training school. The two businesses will be marketing to the same audience, but they are not competing with each other for business, and can mutually recommend each other to their clients.