Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Keywords, Instagram…the list of tools seems endless
But what I’m about to tell you will give you the answer to all your online social media marketing woes:
Building a great online presence is the same as building a great business.
Small businesses get overwhelmed by the online world as they have less money to spend and there are so many options today. But if you build your online marketing strategy like you would a good small business, you will always be headed in the right direction.
How so? Great businesses are trustworthy, and can prove it.
No one’s going to spend their money on you if you’re not trustworthy. You need to be able to prove your worth in the few seconds that it takes for the online visitor to make a decision. There are many ways you can do this, we’ll just name a few:
- Prove it with your ‘badges’: Just like a doctor or a lawyer would have their qualifications clearly visible when meeting with new clients, you should have your ‘badges’ displayed online. These could be anything; your qualifications, business awards, industry associations, or even your brand (only if you’re a franchisee, or a well known business). Display these clearly on your website, or online material. These ‘qualify’ you quickly for the online visitor.
- Prove it with your recommendations: Testimonials and recommendations should be all over your online material. If you don’t have any written recommendations, ask your satisfied clients for one. What other people say about your business and you is more important than what you say about it. This is like online word-of-mouth. Testimonials and recommendations can also be a good way to drive the rest of your website content; they tell your online visitor what they need to know in the words of someone similar to them.
- Provide enough information: If a new prospect came to you in person, they’d be able to ask the questions they needed to decide whether they wanted to spend their money with you, but online, it is a much quicker decision process. If you don’t provide enough detailed information on your website, in the right places, and in the right way, people will generally make the decision very quickly to move on. It is much easier to reject someone online than it is in person. So your approach to this needs to be ferocious. You need to provide what your prospects want to know, and deliver it to them in an easy-to-navigate fashion. Generally, an ‘all about our business’ attitude won’t suffice here. For small business marketing, it’s all about your prospects.
- Be Findable: Your prospects can’t make the decision to choose you if they can’t find you. For those of you who are familiar with the Yellow Pages, Google is like a BIG Yellow Pages. And just like the yellow pages, those with enough of the right information, with the right wording and right presentation, usually get noticed first. Getting your ranking up in Google is a tough business, but a general guide is stick to what you know, and provide a valued online resource. It is all about being consistent, and focusing on what your potential clients want to know. There is a very technical side to this (called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)), but we won’t go into it in this post.
- Be Professional: Generally no one is going to hire you if you have a ‘dodgy’ looking shop, with faulty-looking products, and have an all-round appearance of ‘I’m-gonna-rip-you-off’. Same goes for your online presence. So many businesses have unprofessional websites because they figure they won’t be judged on it. Wrong. It doesn’t take much for someone to get a bad impression of you online, especially if they haven’t heard of you. Every visitor counts, and it doesn’t cost much to build a professional-looking website with the new web platforms.
- Have a reason for them to return: This ties-in with my point about providing enough information, but this will come later on in your online marketing strategy. Sometimes new prospects will look at your website a couple of times before making the decision to spend their money with you. If you can give them a reason to come back to your website, like some informative articles, or even a blog they can subscribe to, this is a great way to get them into your marketing ‘funnel’.
But overall, just remember that everything you do online should be akin to building a great business. If what you provide, or have to say really is valuable, you won’t have to go to extreme measures to ‘suck people in’. It’s all about getting your message out there to your potential prospects and telling them what you can do to make their life better.
Read more about Social Media Marketing…
Cheers, Ashley [C61]
Ashley manages a team of young, international B2B marketers at Lead Creation