Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tips for Small Businesses Moving to Digital Marketing

More and more entrepreneurs are abandoning the age old marketing methods and are turning to digital marketing to publicise their products and services and to push sales and revenue. There are several advantages to digital marketing:

·    Wider reach because of the large number of online users
·    Less expense; many forums like social networking sites are free
·    Online marketing is instantaneous.

Here are some points to keep in mind to conduct a successful digital marketing campaign:

·   Think social: Facebook recently announced that they have touched the 1 billion online users milestone. No business, big or small, can afford to ignore this audience anymore. Whether it is setting up an FB page, arranging events or putting together a community, social media advertising strategy for small businesses are a necessity. Consumers are by now accustomed to engaging with the big guns online, so small businesses also need to do the same; both to preserve existing customer relationships and to create new ones. Regardless of which site it is, they should all be part of your digital marketing plan, and in any case it won’t cost you a single penny.

Once you’ve made your FB page, invite as many of your contacts as possible, to be your ‘fans’. Their friends in turn might also become fans, and gain you a huge audience. Be sure to respond to all queries and comments. Staying in touch with your clientele is of prime importance. Post regularly so that you will not be forgotten.

·   Be found: As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you ensure that your company is listed in all the significant online directories, maps, apps and popular websites throughout the year. Take advantage of events like Small Business Saturday, which happens annually in the fall/winter. An increasing number of consumers regularly visit online directories while on the move or even when at home (as it becomes that much more convenient for them, rather than go outside and hunt around) to find local shops or restaurants. I am sure nobody wants to lose such customers to their rivals.

·    Be Human: the more you interact with your consumers, the more they are likely to stick with your brand. People always like the human touch, even if the modes of communication keep changing. You can engage customers by discussing upcoming events like big Sporting events, festivals and the like. Steer clear of controversial topics though!

·   Listen and learn: Let your customers tell you what they are looking for and what they like and don’t like about your brand and products; use this knowledge to improve. Involve your customers in the evolving of your brand.

·   Ensure consumers know all about your brand: Websites are the usual platforms for small businesses. They are one of the best ways for customers to know what your business is all about. Remember that your website must prominently display vital info like contact numbers, emails and a form thru which customers will be to be able to reach you. If you can ship your products, it will give you a still wider market. If that is within your ambit, make it possible for customers to buy and pay online. Also mention your working hours, directions, map and address. Whether your website is just a sample of your physical store or it’s an online store by itself, it needs to be well designed, and must include videos, photos, and links to other places online where you have a presence, like your blog, for example.

·    Be mobile-enabled: Teens and young adults are now more into Smart Phones and Tablets than laptops or desktops, and do most of their internet browsing through these mobile devices. Make sure that your website is also mobile friendly.

Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for – The Nation’s Lowest All-Digital Price Provider dish packages.