EDIDIONG IKPOTO examines ways to promote small businesses online
Whether you are a startup or own a small business that has been around for a while, your ability to promote the values of your products or services will go a long way to determine your appeal to the consuming public and inevitably, your profitability.
Typically, companies belonging to the heavyweight class usually set aside a sizable budget for advertising and marketing campaigns. However, for companies flying in the lightweight division, a compelling advertising campaign carried out with less cost may just be helpful for the business’ success.
Below are proved tips on how you can bring your products and services into the consciousness of consumers.
Create a Google business profile
The first step you need to take to establish an online presence as a local business is to create a Google Business Profile. This has become one of the most effective free marketing strategies because it allows your business to show up on Google maps, the local section of Google search, and the right-side knowledge panel for branded searches.
However, for your business profile to be above your competitors on Google Maps or local results, you will have to optimise your business profile. To do this, you need to have verified ownership of it, which is done through your Google my business account.
For a business to survive the fierce competition, it has to master the art of using social media. Increasing social media presence through engaging content creation is a great way of building a community online. This also helps to express your brand’s personality and build trust with your audience.
Today, traditional and social media platforms have become variable tools which one can use to reach a wide range of audience.
You can leverage these platforms through the following means.
-Promoting your blog posts to drive traffic to your website.
-Interact with followers to express your brand voice and garner more engagement.
-Run polls and request feedback.
-Take excerpts from longer forms of content and create quick and informational posts that are easier to digest.
Whatever your motivation, make sure you are regularly active and proactive on the social media accounts you create. Think consistency, community, collaboration, and commitment.
Traditional media have online presence with large followers. Putting advertisements on the platforms, either through the print versions or online will enable you to promote your products to the large audience.
Email marketing plan
Email marketing is an effective tool that can get new visitors engaged with your business. It can also help maintain relationships with your existing customers. Even though email marketing is not new, it still ranks as one of the most reliable ways to achieve a strong return on your marketing investment.
To effectively deploy email marketing, ensure that your messages encourage your readers (potential customers) to take action. The ultimate goal is not to only inform your would-be customers, but to condition their actions and sway loyalty towards your products and services.
Third-party advertising is another creative way to advertise, especially for startups that have limited funds and are yet to gain any sort of credibility with consumers. This type of advertising typically entails getting trusted personalities to influence public opinion by providing an unbiased assessment of the credibility and prospects of a relatively unknown business, (most multi-level marketing platforms use this).
The President of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, Osamede Uwubanmwen, while speaking exclusively with The PUNCH, emphasises the need to send advertising messages through a credible third party.
He says, “The question is, what kind of ads do they need? As a startup, you need to do a lot of third-party ads. Let people blow your messages for you because as a startup, there is a serious issue with reason to believe when you advertise.
“Why would people believe your credibility? But if you get someone that is credible to write about what you do, that person can now say that even though you are new, people should watch out for you. It will give you better credibility.”
Use data-rich infographics
Infographics are very effective marketing tools. They have a different appeal to the eyes and are also easy to digest. People also love to share them, which makes them a good way to drive up referral traffic and links.
While hiring a designer to make you a good infographic can be quite expensive, you can make your own on the cheap with free tools like Canva, Adobe’s free vector kits, or Visme. These platforms provide all the elements needed to make a clever, sharable infographic.
If you don’t have any original, proprietary data to use in an infographic, you can find existing data and breathe new life into it.
Apply for business awards
Most industries have business awards you are eligible for, hence giving an online badge you can place on your website. These badges can boost your credibility and potentially drive up your sales.
If there are noawards for your industry, go ahead and host your own. This could help rally attention to your business from other industry entities who want to apply for your award. This means more connections and more possible future collaborations.