Small business marketing: More of what worksIn my last post, I talked about the effectiveness of word-of-mouth as a small business marketing technique. Today, I want to look at a couple of other approaches that can also deliver the mail, so to speak. Small business marketing requires time, effort and energy, but surprisingly, it often doesn’t require a huge budget. That’s great for small businesses that are just starting up.

Two more effective small business marketing tricks

After word-of-mouth, the next most effective marketing technique – according to a 2013 survey by SEO firm BrightLocal – is search engine optimization. Coming from a SEO firm, you might be tempted to question the survey results, but search engine optimization and search engine marketing have proven to be effective at driving potential new customers to a website.

SEO is effective when paired with a highly effective website design. When customers can find what they’re looking for, you can generate sales. For businesses that sell products, having a highly functional website design is a no-brainer. But what about businesses that sell services? Customers are customers, and when they can find what they’re looking for, they will buy.

Service businesses may spend more time with customers before they agree to purchase, but good website design can be highly effective at driving potential new customers to a website. It can also be a very effective way to qualify prospective customers before they talk with your sales manager. While this qualification process may reduce the number of sales inquiries you receive, the remaining inquiries will be of much higher quality and will be more likely to convert to business and repeat business.

According to the survey, online local directories can also be effective at driving new customers to your business. As part of your small business marketing plan, getting on top of your directory listings is important. Many directories will list your business based on information found in other directories. This information could be out-of-date or just plain wrong. Knowing where your business is listed and how it appears in the business listing can be very important.

If you haven’t already done so, create or “claim” the Google listing for your business. Do the same for the other major search engines, including Bing, Yahoo!, Yelp and others. Make sure your business location, contact information and hours are up-to-date. Many of these online directories also accept unsolicited reviews from customers. If you find that your business has received a bad review, respond to the complaint or problem immediately to let other potential customers know that you are responsive to your customers’ concerns.

If you plan to invest in online marketing, it’s best to develop a coherent small business marketing plan. If you would like more information about these small business marketing techniques, or you would like to review (or create) your small business marketing plan, please contact Grantstreet’s Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.

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