I have helped many small businesses with their online marketing for quite some time. In doing so, I noticed that I was following a general pattern – build a website, create traffic, capture lead information, and make tweaks & optimize website to generate more traffic and more leads. Following this framework, I was able to help many businesses become successful with their online marketing – consistently.
It took a while, but I finally put myself together and wrote this article hoping that this framework will be helpful to others just starting out with online marketing for their business. In explaining each process in framework, I stayed at very high-level and left out a lot of details. My plan is to cover they in more detail in later blog posts.
If yo have any questions, please feel free to add comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Build Your Online Presence
The very first step in online marketing is building your online presence. You should start with a website, then target popular social media sites.
These days, sites like Wix and Weebly provide easy drag-n-drop features that make building a website very easy. If you’ve never had a website for your business, that is a great place to start. More advanced option is WordPress.com where you can create a website with WordPress and have it hosted there. All those services are free – but if you want your own domain name, which I highly recommend, then you pay small fees – anywhere from $5 to $25 per month.
In addition to website, you should also build presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, etc. They all have unique user base and where you should focus on more depends on what industry you are in. At minimum, I always recommend Facebook, Yelp, and Google.
Generate Traffic to Your Site
So now that you have a website, how do you get more people to come to your site? That is a million dollar question. There is this whole SEO industry where companies are paying a lot of money to get Google traffic to their site. But if you are just starting online marketing and do not want to spend much money, following are some options:
- Submit your site to Google via Google Webmaster
- Create interesting content around your industry and let Google find you (SEO)
- Submit your site to local business directories such as Foursquare, Yellowpages, Superpages
- Find free business directories targeting your specific industry
- Write blogs
- Come up with promotional and sale events for your products and services and share on social media
This is really at a high-level and I will go into more details in a later blog post.
Convert Website Visitors to Leads
Now that you are getting some traffic to your site, what should you do next? Do you want your website visitors to browse your site and just leave? It’d be like customers coming to your store, just looking around, and leaving. You wouldn’t want that, right? You want them to either make purchase, or ask you questions about your products. Same applies to your website – you want site visitors to turn into a qualified lead who will eventually purchase your products or services. You can do that in number of ways.
The most simple method is having a form on your site and let site visitors fill out the form to learn more about your business, products, or services. In this way, you capture their name and email, and you can later follow up with additional information which will eventually turn into sales.
Some other methods are:
- Making a purchase (for e-commerce website)
- Subscribing to a newsletter or blog
- Downloading interesting article
- Visiting a particular page
The key here is to capture name and email, and building a database of leads over period of time.
Measure Traffic & Optimize Website
The final phase in online marketing for small business is measuring your web traffic and optimizing your site so that you will get more qualified leads from the traffic.
Google Analytics is a free traffic measuring tool from Google and I use it for every websites I build and manage. The tool gives you insights to who your visitors are, how they come to your site, what content they engage with, how they convert from visitor to lead, etc.
With the information you get from Google Analytics, you can sort of figure out where to spend extra resources – i.e. we saw more traffic coming from facebook so we will increase marketing on facebook – and how to optimize your website to get more qualified leads – i.e. we saw more traffic coming from mobile devices but they spent only 15 seconds on average as compared to 40 seconds for desktop traffic.
You can also build a landing page and conduct A/B testing – these are more advanced topics and may not be suitable for small businesses just starting out with online marketing.
I hope that this article has been helpful to you. The framework I laid out here is what I use for all businesses that I help and please feel free to apply it to your business.