With the rise of social media, smartphones, and e-commerce, every business from sole-proprietorship hot dog carts to Fortune 500 corporations have turned to the Internet for their marketing needs.
With few exceptions, a business, even a small business, is essentially committing suicide if it does not have a strong web presence. There are certain web-based options which
First, it is no longer necessary for a business to spend a large amount of money to get a fully functional and beautiful website. While there are free options available in today’s market, be advised that you often get what you pay for. Many of the free platforms have limitations.
With the popularity of CMS (Content Management System) platforms, such as WordPress, small businesses can now have a site developed by a professional web design company for a fraction of what websites cost even a few years ago.
These CMS platforms allow a business owner to make updates to their website themselves due to the user- friendly interfaces, removing the need to rely on a website firm to make changes such as content or adding images (at a cost most often).
Third-party software plugins allow you to achieve a large variety of functionality for your website, previously only available with high-cost custom coding.
When creating your business site through one of these platforms, you can add e-commerce functionality if you have products to sell. You can include scheduling options if your business offers reservation-style service. If you are an artist, you can showcase your work in a clean, professional manner. You can also integrate into your site all of your social networking profiles and pages.
Once your website is up and running, you might want to consider implementing some sort of rewards/loyalty program. With the rise of mobile Point of Sale (POS) apps like Square, Spark Pay, PayPal Here, and an upcoming Amazon product, reward and loyalty programs have become almost unavoidable in the world of small business.
Some of these POS systems offer an integrated rewards program, while others require the use of a separate app like Five Stars,
If you are sitting on inventory that isn’t moving, you can offer discounts and freebies with combined and/
Also available now, there are many effective options for driving traffic (both Internet traffic and physical, foot traffic) to your place of business.
Every small business should have an optimized business page with Google+ and Facebook. To help your website show up higher in online consumer searches, you need to ensure your business is listed in as many online business directories as possible.
There are over 100 online directories available, and some have a higher authority level, meaning they play a stronger role in helping your business move ahead of your competition. Examples of online directories include Manta.com, FourSquare, YellowPages.com, as well as niche directories for doctors, dentists
A critical element of your directory listings is to ensure your NAP (Name, Address and Phone #) are consistent on all directories. Having variances, even slight ones due to
Each directory offers different listing options. Take advantage of all elements that are available to you, such as adding images, linking videos, showcasing products/services, adding store hours, etc.
Google and Facebook both offer highly customizable and targeted advertising options, allowing small businesses to gain additional online exposure, even on a limited budget. Both platforms allow you to hone in on specific demographics, to set daily budgets, to restrict ads to specific locations, etc.
The Internet has become a necessity for the marketing of small businesses. If you are starting a new business, or even restructuring an old one to be more relevant in the modern world, it would behoove you to not neglect your business’ web presence.