The online space can be a very unforgiving space for small businesses and the information out there about online marketing can be both confusing and contradicting.
On the one hand everyone says that the Internet as a marketing platform is a huge untapped resource that everyone should be making the most of. On the other hand there is always someone writing about how the giant retailers hold a monopoly over online marketing and force the smaller websites off the front page of almost all search results through the huge budgets that they can invest into SEO and other marketing tactics geared towards online sales. This isn’t helped either by the fact that Google often seem to favour these larger retailers and turn a blind eye to their underhand tactics whilst penalising smaller sites for basically the same thing.
The reality is that whilst there are certain search terms that really are reserved for the big guys when it comes to internet marketing and ranking in Google there is still plenty of space for small websites and in particular for small business owners. The key to surviving online as a small business is to put in the effort, understand the space and always think outside of the box.
In particular there are a few key points that should be adhered to in order to survive online as a small business.
First and foremost it is important to build something meaningful when it comes to your website or in fact any other type of online presence. It is easy to feel intimidated by larger companies because of their huge budgets but you don’t see those large companies producing anything half-hearted or copied from elsewhere do you? They build unique and meaningful platforms and that is ultimately why they succeed online. The best part about this is that it doesn’t have to cost the earth to replicate this – it just requires some time and feeling to be put in.
Producing a meaningful site that has something to offer and that stands out from the competition will go a long way and will get you noticed and this is a great start.
Take the time to write engaging content
It is the most talked about part of online marketing and probably the most boring because you hear it so often. It is true though – writing engaging content is really the key to success online. Sure its not the be all and end all – just because you write a fantastic article it doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it, but it is the foundation of your online presence and without it your efforts will almost definitely be unfruitful.
Produce regular updates
Spending lots of time and effort to get your site up and running and then stopping there is not the way to go at all. Assuming that you want your visitors to come and see your site regularly then you need fresh content on there all the time. That could be content, images or any other type of medium but it needs to be added to the site regularly in order to keep the interest going and the readers motivated.
Get involved in the community
Moving always from the website itself this is one of the best forms of advertising and promoting your website or online presence in general. Once again this is something that doesn’t cost anything and is actually one of the key ways in which you can compete with and sometimes rise above your competition. Getting involved in the community that surrounds your products and services is vital and can be seriously beneficial. This doesn’t have to be sales based involvement but rather should be generally getting involved – talking to people online, posting on forums and guest blogging on other related websites. All of these efforts can help to build a substantial following and really help you to get established online.
Make use of google local business listings
Google local business listings are an offering from Google focused directly at small local businesses and can be of great value because of that fact. Local business listings are very easy to set up and are a great way to gain an advantage locally over much larger competition.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media is another great tool that can be used to help with online marketing and can also drive targeted traffic to your website and ultimately to your business.
Social media is really about direct contact with the community that you are targeting with your products and services and once again a direct and personal approach from you as the business owner can really set you above your competition regardless of their size – and in fact smaller businesses often have the advantage here because larger companies tend to spend less resources on this one to one interaction.