Small business owners are exceptional at what they do.
From creating amazing products and services to delivering unrivaled customer experience, small business owners know how to thrive in their community.
There is however, one downfall of some business owners in my experience.
They fail to recognize the importance of online marketing for their small business.
This simple oversight can be the difference between hundreds or thousands of visitors coming to their store and website each week.
By missing out on the opportunity to capitalize on online opportunities, their online and offline business is suffering.
One of the biggest lessons I learned early in business was to consider the lifetime value of customers and not look at customers as a one time only deal.
This may sound obvious, but by failing to deliver an effective online marketing experience, you could be slicing your customer lifetime value down by thousands of dollars.
So how do you find ways to promote your business online with no real knowledge of marketing strategies for small business?
Follow our 27-day small business marketing plan to help build your business presence online.
This simple 27-day process can then be developed to take your business to the next level – helping to generate thousands of dollars worth of extra business, month after month after month.
Days 1-7: Getting Started
The chances are you have dabbled in bits of online marketing.
Perhaps you have tried to implement a Facebook Ad campaign?
Maybe you have spent some hard earned money learning how to master Google Adwords?
While these are all effective marketing tools for businesses, they can be costly and are not always simple to implement.
And that brings us to this point… simplicity is often the key to success when implementing an online marketing plan for your small business.
Create Your Online Space
Many small business owners neglect their online space as they see it as an unnecessary cost or an indulgence.
This is simply not the case.
In fact, a company website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, or Twitter profile will create an online space for customers to interact with your brand, share their stories and ultimately share your business with their friends – thus doing the marketing for you.
For the first seven days of this plan you need to spend it bringing your website up to par with your competition.
Focus on creating the same online experience as you would provide offline – an amazing one.
Once you have your website up and running you should focus on one or two social media profiles.
Consider what is best for your brand.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are some of the main options to consider, but all have slightly different benefits.
Make sure you link your social profiles back to your website and brand them in the style of your business.
Spend this time following local people, interacting with them and other small businesses and get your online name out there.
Day 7-14: Create Something Meaningful
Content marketing is a buzzword that many people have caught on to – and there is a reason for this – it is relevant and effective.
You should spend week 2 creating great content that your customers will value.
You might even enjoy writing.
If not, you can always hire a content writer to help you out.
A little tip is to make several articles of content relevant to your area – Google loves content that makes it obvious where it applies to – so help Google out by discussing your local area or expertise.
When you are creating this content though, always keep the end user in mind.
If you don’t think your customers will enjoy reading it, then don’t write it.
Create engaging content and then promote it on your social media channels – hopefully others will then share it for you and you will see the beauty of internet marketing emerge.
Grow Your Email List
An email list of previous customers is like pure gold in the hands of a savvy local marketer and is one of the best marketing ideas for small business.
If you are looking for ways to promote your business, then you will be hard pressed for something more effective than a highly targeted and engaged email list.
The key to growing your list is simple – remember simple is the key.
You can give your customers something they will value in exchange for their email address.
Perhaps an ebook, checklist, or coupon.
Remember – lifetime value is key so offering 20% off is nothing in the grand scheme of your customer lifecycle.
Days 14-27: Develop Your Technical SEO and Analytics
When looking at how to market a small business online you must consider search engine optimization (SEO).
Weeks 3 and 4 (and beyond) should be spent mastering simple SEO strategies.
Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP):
It is key you achieve consistency with these across any business directories you are listed in and on other websites.
These are known as citations and you should spend a day using a tool such as Whitespark or Bright Local to ensure your NAP is as consistent as possible.
You should spend time to optimize your meta descriptions and title tags.
As long as your city and keywords are not in your domain name, you should try to include these in your meta descriptions and in your meta titles.
One or two occurrences of the keyword and location in your content is also going to help.
Google Analytics and Search Console:
Setting up these tools is a must.
Analytics will provide you with all the data you need to assess how your website is performing with visitors and Search Console also features options to look at data but also allows you to give Google some information about your site.
The ‘fetch’ tool in Google Search Console is useful to help with indexing your web pages on newer sites too.
Rinse and Repeat
Following the steps above is a great way to start online marketing for your local business.
As your social profiles and web presence grow, so will the interaction.
If you are getting great feedback then leverage the social proof by displaying it on your website, or even print it and display at your premises.
The online building of your business will reap massive dividends so just continue to work through the steps in this guide and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds.
Want to take your small business marketing to the next level? Download our Local SEO Checklist!
This article was written by Justin Herring and originally appeared on Business 2 Community [link].