For years, small businesses simply assumed an online presence would send business their way. This “If you build it, they will come” mindset may have worked in the early days of the technology boom, but web-savvy consumers need more to entice them to a website these days. According to Marketing Pilgrim, a little old-fashioned marketing may be required to reignite that spark.
According to Read Write Web, consumers are drowning in information. With so much content, web surfers aren’t sure where to focus their attention, leaving many advertisers scrambling for new ways to capture attention. Driving traffic to your website these days goes much further than spamming inboxes and paying for a few web ads. Small businesses must be creative, tailoring marketing efforts to your customers.
- Promote it, and they will come – Just as you wouldn’t erect a storefront and expect customers to magically find it, you shouldn’t assume they’ll GPS their way to your website, either. Promote your URL on all of your business materials, from your business cards to company letterhead to brochures and publications. Give customers a reason to keep coming back, by constantly updating content and providing interesting, relevant information.
- Capture visitor information – Ask permission, of course, but an email address of a valid, interested, prospective buyer is worth a thousand curious clicks. Use this list responsibly, sending only important updates and specials. Daily spam will only lead a once-potential customers to unsubscribe and forget your company altogether.
- Use social media – Sites like Twitter and Facebook provide valuable marketing venues, when used properly. Create a face to go with your company, making followers feel as if they are interacting with a human being instead of a logo. Create personable, interesting status updates and tweets to keep followers reading and interacting.
- Never forget to network – Create relationships in the industry to help foster a brand reputation. Never underestimate the value of LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals. Participate in seminars, workshops, and conduct presentations on topics that will generate interest in your business offerings. As always, include your website address in all handouts and presentations.
- Paid advertising – Always an option, paid advertising is most effective when it is targeted to your customers. Be open to a wide variety of media, from traditional print and television ads to website and social media advertising. Where are your customers? Are they reading blogs? Watching daytime TV? Going to the movies? Consider web advertisements on sites that target your ad specifically to the consumers most likely to buy your product.
Your business wasn’t built in a day, and your marketing plan likely won’t be either. Be open to revising your plan as you go, based on your current successes and failures. By actively participating in your marketing strategy, you’ll not only put a face behind your brand, you’ll build a trust in your product that will last well into the future.