Promoting Your Small Business Online

If you’re looking to sell products and services via the Internet, then it is vital that you should let potential customers know that your business exists. Many small business owners make the mistake of spending a lot of money on getting a website built, but without giving due consideration to the importance of marketing.

The rather unfortunate reality here is that there’s very little point in having a website if nobody knows that it exists. In fact, rather than having invested money in web design and development, this simply leaves you in a situation where you have spent money, with very little hope of gaining a return.

The importance of marketing

In this context, it’s easy to see that you need to be getting people to visit your website. More specifically, you need to be attracting those who are likely to make a purchase. This is what web online marketing is all about.

You have various options open to you. If you’re operating a small business, then you’ll probably have a smaller marketing budget than is available to larger rivals. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible for you to compete; it does mean that you will need to think more carefully about how you invest that money.

Paid search marketing

Making use of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising options can be one way to attract targeted visitors to your website. The best known method of doing this is by using Google Adwords. Although the paid search model has changed somewhat over the years, the reality is that you are effectively paying in order to get visitors to your site.

This can be effective, but it’s fair to say that the systems involved have become more complex as time has gone on. If you want to produce a real return, then you’ll probably need to spend a fair bit of time advertising your campaigns.

Search engine optimization

So would search engine optimization (SEO) represent a better route for you to attract visitors? The key to SEO is identifying the sort of search terms that Google users type in when searching for your products and services. Targeting the right phrases will be absolutely critical.

With this in mind, it may be quite tempting to opt to target those phrases that are used by the greatest number of search engine users. This is a simple plan of action, but it may not be the most effective.

You’ll want to consider what chance there is of converting a browser into a buyer. If you target too many phrases that are really associated with the research phase of the buying process, then you may find that SEO is not as cost-effective as it should be.

Social media

Increasingly, Internet users are engaging with retailers and service providers via social media. To take advantage of this situation, you’ll want to ensure that your own business has a suitable presence within Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks.

Keith Barrett provides small business SEO services as part of his role within one of the UK’s leading online marketing agencies.

View all contributions by

Website 101 Editor