Any business marketing plan is incomplete without an online marketing strategy. The Internet not only offers a profusion of marketing options available easily and cheaply, it also takes your message directly and unavoidably into a potential customer’s line of sight. Furthermore, the Internet will filter who your marketing targets, which means that only those in your target audience will see your message, which means that you only pay for a potential customer to see your ad, not the world at large.
- The first thing you need to launch yourself onto the Internet is an online presence in the form of a website that is searchable.
- Advertise on Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter pay-per-click campaigns. These ads are super easy to set up and customize and the campaigns run on them without needing much of your time and attention. They are also budget-friendly, the ad you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and you can set the amount you would like to spend which is then adhered to by Google/Microsoft respectively.
- Other online avenues that are free to use but more time-intensive are social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and several others. These may seem a bit confusing but are all surprisingly user-friendly and popular. The first step to figuring them out is to sign up and observe the activity on these sites. This will help you grasp how they work, how they are used by other businesses, and whether they can be helpful in your business context. Pick one or two that will be easiest for you to start with and give them a go instead of jumping into the deep end, signing up with every single one, and then being unable to use them effectively.
A Facebook page is the most popular and widely used social media site. It allows you to create business pages, invite users, advertise your page, add useful applications such as store locators, and even gives you options to sell your product online. Additionally, it allows you to communicate directly with your fan base with the option of wall posts and engage them in creative ways such as running games, contests and other activities where they can win coupons and other gifts from your business. Not only is it a great way to widen your customer base, it is also an opportunity to engage with your current clientele so they feel connected to you and promotes loyalty to your brand.
- Another online tool that can bring your business into the limelight is the blogging tool. Starting a blog about your industry can help you garner respect and visibility in your field. Be careful what you say on your blog, however, and if you must create controversy do that intentionally and in a controlled fashion. To popularize your blog be regular in your blogging, invite already established bloggers to write for you, comment on other blogs, upload video blogs, and offer contests and other opportunities for readers to interact and win.
The Internet and social media have opened up a virtual bounty of marketing opportunities for the small budget-conscious business owner. Scary as this intangible world may seem, rest assured that an online banner has become as real as a billboard, and the investment will be well-worth your time and money. So budget sometime in your busy day and go hang out online.