Top 5 online marketing tips for small businesses

The internet offers so many great, low-cost ways to market your business. While you might need some budget to achieve certain things, there’s also a lot you can achieve for almost nothing. These are our top 5 tips on making the most out of online marketing opportunities.

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Marketing works best applied to your whole brand

Be clear about your brand; know what your stand for, what your brand promise is to customers, how you’re making a difference in their lives, what makes you different from your competitors etc. Make sure any employees are also clear on your brand and offering and make sure its part of the way you do everything. This way, when the time comes to market your business, you’ll know exactly what it is you have to say.

Invest in a functional website

A good website is part of essential marketing. It’s your number one sales tool and if people can’t find the info they want quickly and easily, they’ll leave. Invest a little bit of time and money into search engine optimisation (SEO). Good SEO means you’ll get a higher rating in a search. It means your website is regularly updated and contains the key words and phrases that answer what people are asking the search engine. Include guarantees and testimonials on your website. These are essentially word of mouth, the most powerful form of advertising there is. And use it as a place to store content (blogs, image gallery etc.) so you can direct people there from social media.

Understand your audience

Knowing how your potential customers behave online means you’ll have a better chance of selling to them. Use tools like Google Analytics or the reporting tools on social media networks to keep track of what people are clicking on.

Build up an email database

Direct email marketing is a very low cost way to reach your target audience. Your website needs a way to collect contact details. To encourage people to register on your website, offer free downloads or competitions to enter. And like all online marketing, quality content is essential. Give people a reason to open and read your email.

If you’re going to do social media, do it well

This is the big one and it’s easy to see why some businesses think social media is a marketing magic bullet; you get very good bang for your buck. It’s relatively cheap and with Facebook’s incredible databank of user info and insights it’s really easy to target people. The truth is though, just like anything, it can be done well or poorly. Here’s some key advice about getting social right:

  • You don’t need to be on all the networks. Find out where your target audience are and go there.
  • Get the content right for the network. Instagram and Pinterest are great for showing beautiful photography or products. Facebook and Twitter are good for service based businesses. Use You Tube if you’re a business that does DIY or how-to tutorials. LinkedIn is right if your target audience is people who tend to work for corporates.
  • Have a content and action plan of what and when you’re going to post and do on your social media accounts.
  • Content is crucial. Otherwise, why would people engage with you? Just like at a social gathering, you have to be skilled and interesting when conversing with people to make them want to engage with you further. Content comes in many forms (blogs, infographics, videos, images, lists, articles from other sources) and doesn’t have to be directly related to your product, it just has to be of interest to your audience. Share a mix of self-promotion (product offers, links to your own website) and content that adds value.
  • Don’t use social media just to sell.
  • Once you start, don’t stop. This is where lots of businesses get it wrong and why it’s key to get that plan in place. A dormant social media account is not much better than none at all. Dedicate time to maintaining your account and responding to followers every day.
  • Be patient. A big challenge for small businesses is how to gain followers. Unfortunately it takes time. To know if you’re doing things right, analyse the metrics such as likes, shares or actions.


We’ve seen lots of different marketing trends come and go in our 30 plus years in business. Get in touch any time for sound advice in business.

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