Running a business has a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to small and medium businesses. For large enterprises, there will be specialised staff for most of the tasks. For example, if you are taking a large travel company as an example, there will be dedicated staff for attending customer calls, addressing grievances from clients, marketing the services and so on. But in case of a small travel agency, in most cases, a single person will be responsible for several tasks including customer support, marketing, sales and so on. Digital marketing is a specialised field and learning digital marketing to promote own business is another challenge.
I have gone through the situation where I was the CEO and sweeper of the company. When we founded our company, myself and my wife were the only employees. We were responsible for everything in our small office, not only because of the cost factors but also because it wasn’t feasible to find separate staff for every job in the office. Luckily, I was an expert in digital marketing by the time we incorporated our company and so I could save a lot of money on it by doing it myself.
Most small and medium companies go through the same stage in some or other way. Starting a business itself is a big decision and require a lot of initial investment. Some start ups get funding from external agencies but in other cases, the founders have to pool in the money for the entire operations.
In this article, I am sharing free effective digital marketing tips for small companies. These strategies will be useful for medium companies which are looking for cost effective marketing strategies for their business.
Effective digital marketing strategies for small and medium business
Have a website
A website is the face of any business on the internet and it is practically not feasible to take advantage of effective digital marketing strategies without having a website. So, make sure you have your own website.
Use a brandable domain name
When you start a website, the first thing to take care is to make sure you are blocking a domain name that matches the brand name of your business. It is a good idea to include the business category also in the domain name but avoid length or keyword stuffed domains that make it look like unprofessional. For example, if you are running a small travel company, it makes sense for a company called “Red Pepper” to use domain names like “redpepperTravels.com” or “redpepper.com”. But avoid names like “redpeppertravelandtoursinkerala.com”
Block the custom URLs for your brand in all social media channels
Once you decide a brand name, the next thing to do is to block your custom URLs in all major social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter etc. Once you block a custom URL with your brand name, no one else can block the same. On the other hand, before you choose your business name, it will be a good idea to see if custom URLs are available for your brand name. If your brand names are already selected by others in the popular social media channels, you may consider appending the business category to your name to create social media URLs.
Do basic search engine optimisation (SEO)
Make sure your website clearly mentions your brand name and some of your business keywords in the website’s content, headings, and titles. IN case of large businesses, their website will appear in search results without any of this optimisation since they will get a lot of attention in the form of references and links to other websites. But small businesses have to depend on search engine optimisation to make sure their website is seen in search results. SEO is a technical task and you may want to take help from an experienced SEO consultant. SpiderWorks Technologies have a scheme for small businesses in which we offer 1 hour free SEO consulting. This free SEO offer is only for small companies owned and operates by a single person. In case of medium sized companies with more than 1 staff, we do offer very cost effective SEO packages, which include a single day service package at very affordable cost.
Share your activities on social media channels
For small and medium companies, social media channels are the best option to do free marketing and promotions. All social media channels have options to share your updates free of cost, even though they have paid business services for better reach and visibility for your posts. If you don’t have a budget for promotions, just use the free options.
Build a loyal community of clients and potential clients
Repeat customers are the best model for any business. If you have a lot of repeat customers, it means your customers are happy with your services and more over, they will bring much more business to you. Social media channels are the best way to engage with your customers. If any one raises a question on your Facebook page, make sure you respond in a timely manner. That will not only increase engagement in your social channels but that will help in building a trust level that you are accessible to your customers. In fact, the accessibility is one of the factors that make people think about going for small companies instead of large enterprises.
Start a blog
Blogging is a very effective, low-cost marketing strategy for small businesses. There are free platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Blogger etc where you can start a free blog. Blogging will help in sharing updates about your business. More than that, a blog is the best tool for inbound marketing where potential clients will come to you rather than you going after them and pitching a business proposal. I wrote this article with the intention of attracting small and medium businesses looking for digital marketing services and now you are here!
List your business in Google and Bing
Popular search engines like Google and Bing have a business listing service. Those business listing are included in Maps and GPS navigation services free of cost. So, if you have a physical office address, make sure it is listed in business listing services like Google and Bing.
List in classifieds and directories
There are plenty of classified websites and online directories. Most of them allow free posting of your website. Don’t go and publish your business information in every directory on the internet. Instead, spend some time to identify the best directories that match your website and also check the quality of the directory. Choose only the good quality directories to post information about your business. Linking from too many low-quality websites may lead to search engine penalties.
Implement an online chat support
Online chat support will help you catch hold of all visitors to your website and convert them into potential customers. Many people coming to a business website may read some information and may eventually leave the site without contact you. Live chat is an excellent option to initiate a discussion with those visitors and help them by offering your services. There are many free chat support software available. Most of the free chat software allows only one chat agent at a time. If you are a large company which requires several chat agents at a time, you may need to go for a paid version of the chat systems. If you are using the services of a digital marketing company, you may ask that company to handle the chat support for you. SpiderWorks, as a complete digital marketing service provider for small and medium business, will help you install a chat software as well as take care of handling the chat support for your site visitors.
Outsource your digital marketing or do it yourself – which is better?
In case of large enterprises, their digital marketing team typically takes care of all the digital marketing tasks. If you are a mid-sized company, then you may hire a digital marketing company to take care of all these tasks. Small companies which do not have a lot of budget for digital marketing may have to do all these themselves to save cost. When you hire a digital marketing company which has a lot of experience in handling different types of clients and businesses, they will take care of everything for you. When you choose a digital marketing agency, make sure they have been in this business for at least 5 years. Our digital marketing company, SpiderWorks Technologies Pvt Ltd., is one of the oldest digital marketing company. Incorporated in 2005 and have a track record of helping several small and medium sized websites to become successful.