As the world becomes more connected, so do consumers. For small businesses, this presents an era of unique challenges. And, although the world of online marketing may appear cumbersome, small businesses should not be so easily dismayed. With the right tools, any business can see increased profits through successful online marketing.
Affordable Online Marketing Solutions
Today, small businesses have a bevy of affordable online marketing tools at their disposal. LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter are among the most popular. Small businesses can cash in on these marketing venues by registering an account and generating "interesting" content. Interesting could mean anything from posts related to a company's niche or insights on industry trends. Additionally, many businesses have blog capabilities built into their website. Although effectiveness depends on a commitment to regular posting, the possibilities that blogs offer are endless.
Whether it's a blog or another platform, the key is to determine which platform suits a business’s needs and then invest in it. Generally, Facebook, Twitter and blogs can be useful for almost any business. However, platforms such as Pinterest or YouTube may have varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the industry. Retailers, for example, may benefit the most from Pinterest. As 'pins' about fall fashion or best styles of boots for particular body shapes can become popular quickly on this network. Regardless of industry, all of these customizable, online marketing techniques can establish brand recognition and Web presence, as well as increase user engagement.
Businesses that are interested in investing a little more in marketing should consider online marketing tools that provide services. For example, hiring a graphic designer may be financially daunting for some small businesses. Various online marketing services can help alleviate this budget burden by providing email marketing templates for free or for a small fee. Another useful online marketing tool is aggregate sites that provide no-cost lists of free or low-cost online marketing solutions. For businesses willing to do the research, the amount of marketing information available online is incredible.
Other marketing tools may track and record the various successes and failures of marketing techniques. While there are many free services on the Web, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, there are plenty of online companies that are willing to provide a more customized and tailored analytics service for a fee.
In reality, many small businesses do not know how to accurately evaluate their success. As previously discussed, there are numerous analytical programs on the market at a wide variety of costs. The insight provided by the analytics can help to increase the business’s profitability substantially. A simple analysis may show which blog topics generate the most reads, which keywords are the most popular, which posts generate the most shares and which advertisements are leading directly to sales. These analyses can shape a marketing campaign, shed light on ineffective tactics and lead to real-time changes in strategy that lead to maximum profitability.
The Risks of Online Marketing
At the end of the day, these online marketing strategies are not without risks. Taking the most widely used two, email marketing and social media marketing, for example, businesses participating in these kinds of activities should be cautious about content. Potential customers may be turned off by too many Facebook posts or emails, and previously interested customers may be offended by oddly worded posts and content. Businesses should put forth their best efforts to ensure that each and every email, blog post, comment, tweet and video is done with the best of intentions and the upmost care. Additionally, businesses should refrain from setting its expectations too high and counting on overnight success. In the end, the success of online marketing will be a reflection of the work put forth and the product.
About the Author:Sophia Myles is an Email Marketing specialist with the Comm100 Email Marketing Team. When free from work, she loves discovering, writing and sharing just everything about Online Marketing with the rest of the world.