The 5 pillars of online marketing for a small business
If you own a small business you know how important is marketing but you are overwhelmed by a lot of unknown terms used by marketers, terms you don’t know a lot about.
Therefore you are confused. Let’s describe what the 5 pillars are for small business online marketing.
- Local Marketing
If it is true that customers search products online, it is also true they search mainly locally. If I want to buy something and I live in Phoenix, AZ, I don’t care about the perfect store in New York. If I can buy that product online I can look at the store in NY but if I need something locally, I do not. If you are a small business, you must be visible locally more than internationally which means that if a customer searches for your company he must be able to find all the important information about you and if a customer searches for a product/service, he must be able to also find your company. Local marketing means a lot of different things like local listings, website content, advertising campaigns set up, social media accounts content and so on.
This magic word is related to search engines. Search Engine Optimization is the process of being able to be ranked better by search engines. But how does a search engine generally works?
The process is simple: the search engine scans your website, keeps track of the words used and of all the combination of words and phrase and then stores it in a database. When someone starts a new search, it compares the terms of the search with all the website profiles in the database and order the result based on the most relevant.
Therefore your content on the website, your keywords, your website description, your domain must all be relevant to what users search.
It is important to think like a customer, not as a business, not as a marketer.
Customers don’t know deeply your business but they could need your product/service. They do searches using incorrect terms (or combination of terms) but you have to create content that shall be able to be relevant to the searches done by users. Don’t write content for yourself (especially if you have to use technical terms) but for the customers. Don’t use keywords that you can use daily and customers don’t.
- Content Marketing
You have created your website: awesome!
Most small businesses when they publish their website, think the job is done. Actually, the job starts now.
You don’t read a book over and over (unless it is masterpiece) because you know the content, the story. Same for a website: If you never change anything, it becomes boring both for customers and for search engines (they don’t update your profile because there are no changes).
Content marketing is all about using the content to be more visible and searchable, to be more attractive to potential customers, and to be more useful to them.
If your website is very attractive to users, your product will be as well. This is even truer for small businesses where the lack of brand and fame must be replaced by a deep knowledge of the product/service you provide. You have that knowledge, I am sure, but you need to convince the customers that you have it.
- Reputation Management
Now you are online. Internet is the free digital space. Anyone can say anything, most the time, without any control. And this is the time of reality shows where anyone want become famous. People like to be an Internet lead actor. Review sites give the possibility to people to have a power, the power to judge others.
You need to take care of that, your reputation online is very important.
It is common sense that a user trusts more another users than a business owner. Therefore you need to check the entire user generated content about you, you need to answer if it is the case, and you need to be able to interact with your customers.
- Social media marketing
Why is this so important lately?
Because customers are using it and any media where there are customers is important media for small businesses. There is something more.
Social networks differently from other media (like television or magazines) are places where the content is generated mostly by users, where users engage in personal relationships with other users, where the communication is bi-directional, where the emotions are more important than the features.
Social media is the perfect place to engage potential customers, but it is important for small businesses to act like a user, not like a business. Act as a person not as a business, because this is the only way to be effective.