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How to Market Your Small Business Online

Author: Sara Pantaleo

In today’s digital age, online marketing is an essential strategy for small businesses to thrive and grow. With the vast reach of the internet, you have the potential to connect with a global audience, attract new customers, and build a strong online presence. However, effective online marketing requires a well-thought-out strategy. This article will guide you through the steps to market your small business online successfully.

1.      Define Your Brand Identity

Defining your brand identity is essential to establishing who you are as a business. It encompasses your core values, mission, personality, and the unique attributes that set you apart from competitors. Your brand identity is the foundation upon which you build trust and loyalty with your audience. It should be consistent across all your marketing materials, from your logo and visuals to your tone of voice and messaging. In a nutshell, it’s about creating a distinct and memorable impression that resonates with your customers, making your brand instantly recognisable and relatable.

2.      Marketing Goals

Before you dive into online marketing, it’s crucial to define your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve? Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, boosting sales, or all of the above, having clear objectives will guide your efforts.

3.      Know Your Customers (Target Audience)

Understanding your customers is critical to tailoring your online marketing efforts. Create detailed buyer personas, including demographics, interests, and pain points, to ensure your content and advertising resonate with your ideal customers.

4.      Create an Engaging Website with SEO

Your website is the digital face of your business. It should be user-friendly, visually appealing, and provide valuable information. Ensure your website is mobile-responsive and optimised for search engines (SEO) to rank higher on search results pages. You also need to implement Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO is essential for improving your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Use relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and high-quality content to enhance your website’s ranking. Regularly update your content to keep it fresh and valuable to visitors.

5.      Leverage Content Marketing

Create high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that addresses your customers’ needs. Content can take various forms, including blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts. Sharing valuable content helps build trust and authority within your industry.

6.      Utilise Social Media

Social media platforms offer an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience. Choose the platforms that align with your customer’s preferences and create a consistent posting schedule. Engage with your followers, share informative content, and run targeted ads to increase your reach.

7.      Email Marketing:

Build an email list and send personalised, valuable content to your subscribers. Email marketing is an effective way to nurture leads and inform your customers about your products, services, and promotions.

8.      Paid Advertising

Online advertising, such as Google Ads and social media ads, can help you reach a broader audience quickly. Develop targeted ad campaigns based on your budget, objectives, and audience segmentation.

9.      Online Reputation Management

Monitor online reviews, respond to customer feedback, and maintain a positive online reputation. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and address any negative comments professionally and promptly.

10. Analyse and Adapt

Regularly analyse your online marketing efforts using tools like Google Analytics and social media insights. Adjust your strategy based on the data, and continuously optimise your campaigns for better results.

11. Stay Informed and Evolve

The digital landscape is ever-changing. Keep up with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in online marketing to stay competitive.

Marketing your small business online is a dynamic process that requires careful planning, consistent effort, and adaptation to the ever-evolving digital environment. By having a distinct brand identity, defining clear goals, understanding your customers, and implementing a well-rounded strategy, you can successfully build a solid online presence and achieve your business objectives. Remember, online marketing is an investment that can yield significant returns when done effectively. 

If you want to learn how to achieve this for your small business, contact me for a no-obligation chat.

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why small business fail

Why Small Businesses Fail

Studies have shown a high percentage of small businesses fail in their first year and up to 50% by year five.  70% of small businesses don’t make it past ten years.

Some Reasons why small businesses fail

1) Lack of leadership – No vision and purpose

Setting a clear vision and purpose gives you a guiding light and clear road from who you are and where you want to go.

When you don’t have a clear vision, creating the path to success is challenging, like not having a rudder.

2) Market research and niche –  do not know who the ideal client is

Not knowing who your ideal client means that you will try to attract and serve everyone.  This is like using a fishing rod to catch a shark, and you will not catch anything.  The clearer you are about your ideal client, the higher the chance of reaching the people you want to serve.

3) Poor management and planning

Setting clear strategic goals and business plans aligned with your vision will ensure you can develop precise financial forecasts around your ideal client.

Your plan sets out where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.  Ensure your goal is realistic and executable with the resources you have.

small business failure

4) Marketing

You need a clear marketing plan identifying how you are going to attract your prospective client. You should also have a marketing budget and track the return on investment for each channel to know what is working and what is not.

5) Lack of making decisions or no action

You have to get things done. But, don’t get so caught up in the process and become unable to make decisions.

Anything that prevents you from executing will lead to failure. At some point, you have to decide and move on. It’s better to make a decision and not get it perfect than not acting.

6) No commitment to innovation and continuous development

Successful business owners are constantly looking for new and better ways to serve clients and develop new opportunities.

They research and become aware of the latest trends. As a result, they are continuously innovating and finding new ways to be more efficient and increase productivity and stay abreast of changing consumer behaviour in their industry.

7) Knowing how to sell and follow-up

Lack of follow-up is a definite way to lose clients and not get referred to new ones.

Have a clear process on how you will be attracting new clients and the following up—making phone calls, responding to e-mails, or delivering a product or service.

Make sure that you track that you are delivering on time. Creating long-term customer relationships and building trust comes with knowing when to follow up.


why mall business fail

8) Poor governance and consistency

Setting up structure, systems and processes, areas of accountability are critical to achieving your strategic goals.  Some of the governance in business is to comply with laws in your industry, but small businesses in a partnership should consider strong shareholders agreements. If in a family business, a family business charter.  Other considerations are separation of duties and authority to mitigate risks and being prepared—good crisis planning to anticipate the impact of external factors, such as regulations or global trends.

Consistency is also essential. Many years ago, I learned that giving an excellent experience sometimes and a poor one sometimes creates doubt in the customers’ minds.  So, it is better to provide a great experience all the time and commit to consistency.

It takes time to attract and nurture customers to build your business. So, it is best if you were committed to tracking and acting consistently to deliver the experience that will make and keep customers.

9) Do not understand or track financial performance

Setting budgets, cashflow forecasts and financial metrics and measuring your performance is vital to know where you are so that you can make solid and informed business decisions

A small business must set sales targets and understand the reasons when you do not achieve them.

As well as revenue and profit, you should know what is happening to cash flow and forecast according to peaks and trough cycles and understand the gap between paying suppliers and receiving funds from your customers.

Other critical financial metrics are the cost of goods, employee costs, operational expenses, debtor payment days and creditor payment days.

You must work with your accountant to set these up correctly and be consistent on how and when you measure so that you can see trends developing and you can act quickly.

small business success

How can small businesses succeed

So, success in small business is not by accident, but it is by planning and design. If you are starting, ensure that you do your research, plan, set your financial and non-financial goals and what success looks like if you achieve them.  Start with good governance from the beginning.

So, if you are a successful small business, make sure you celebrate your successes and review your strategy, vision and purpose regularly to check that it resonates with the right here and now and into the future.

At the moment, one of the most significant focuses in society is climate change.  Will your small business be ready?  What research and analysis have you made in your business to ensure that you are planning for the future changes that deal with the impact of climate?

Showing leadership, setting a clear vision and strategy, strong governance and tracking performance, taking action and executing leads to small business success.  The key is not to stand still and continuously evolve in line with your business growth to meet your customer’s needs of the day.

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