Marketing can quickly blow out budgets if you are not careful with how and when you spend your money. There are so many options in today’s digital world from your conservative formats in newspapers, television, radio, and grassroots marketing all the way to the many, many (and growing) cyber venues including online marketing, placing ads in apps, etc. For a small business, the plethora of choices can be daunting, especially if their budget is not too large. At the same time, marketing weakness is one of the major reasons why many small businesses fail in the first place. In today’s day and age, it is almost crucial to have a web presence in order to be successful- even for brick and mortar businesses which are locally focused.
Thankfully, having an online presence does not have to be a terribly costly thing. A new website with hosting for a year can be made for less than $100. Using a platform like WordPress can allow even those without much technical knowledge to get a website up and running fairly quickly. The platform is pretty good with on-site SEO (search engine optimization) out of the box, so not too much has to be done in that regard either. Of course, things can always be improved if the business owner has the budget to hire someone or the knowhow to make those changes themselves. Beyond this though, the rest of the online budget can be used on good, cost-effective marketing strategies.
There are many different things that can be done depending on goals, budget, and time. Online marketing can broadly be split into SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. With the latter, a business can immediately see results by bidding on competitive and targeted keywords which will drive traffic to the site immediately, but will come at a cost per each visitor acquired. With SEO, it is a longer time horizon and usually has more of a time investment, but can generate more lasting and recurring results through organic traffic by ranking for competitive keywords in the organic ranking pages. This strategy also requires more technical knowledge and may mean a business has to hire someone to help with that.
The new kid of the block, but one that should not be ignored by any means, is social media. Facebook and Youtube are the big players here and again, websites can buy very targeted ads in different formats to serve to potential customers or visitors. The great thing about PPC and social media is that webmasters can really experiment with what works best and then stick with that and tweak it as the website grows and needs change.
One of the greatest synergistic strategies with any of these methods is to really build our online brand alongside your marketing strategies whether they be focused on SEO, PPC, or social media. You should offer visitors unique and compelling content and really build up your reputation as someone who is knowledgeable in your space and provides a quality service or product. This can help boost any campaign and may even drive your offline business as people start to look for you proactively or spread word about you online and offline. The best way to start this is by offering compelling content online- it may even be something is tangential to your core business (for example a dentist may offer free tips on dental hygiene on their website, Facebook page, etc.)
Building an online presence can seem like a tall task, but it is almost necessary to have a successful and long-term business in today’s world. Start small and keep at it and you will definitely figure out a strategy that works for you.