As the internet has grown over the last decade, many existing businesses are left wondering How to market your business online. This is a great question. The best part of the question is realizing that your business needs to market itself online.
Underestimating the value of the internet marketing world has been a big problem for existing brick and mortar businesses. The cold fact remains if you don’t learn how to market your business online, then your competitors certainly will.
Why Promote Your Business Online
One of the big mistakes with the mindset of not promoting your business online comes from overestimating customer loyalty. Look at how business has grown for Walmart over the years. Yes, everyone complains about how they come into a small rural community and put all the old existing “ma and pa shops” out of business. Everyone thinks that is so appalling. Yet where do all the loyal customers of those little shops end up going when the new Walmart opens up? … yep! WALMART!! The lesson here is there is no customer loyalty. Customers are only loyal to the bottom line and their own needs. The quicker we understand that the better.
Learning How To Market Your Business Online
Okay – enough ramble … let’s talk about the ways you can actually market your business online.
Main Blog or Website – This is the place you should start. Please do not skimp on this. You need to put up a quality site. Your choices are either a static website or a blog (short for web log). I recommend that you put up a wordpress blog. Why? Because they give you by far the more flexibility than a static website, they are the easiest to update and maintain, and all the major search engines give them more love in terms of rankings.
You don’t need to break the bank to have a nice quality blog. You could probably do one for a few hundred dollars. It should prominently include your brand and logo. As a minimum, your blog needs to describe who you are, how to contact you, what you offer, and why they should consider doing business with you. After that, you have to determine the objective of your blog. Do you want to entice them to come to your physical store? Or do you want them to buy your products online?
Finally, the last thing you will want to do is write updates in your blog about your store or business. Tell them about new products, tell them about existing products, or whatever you need to tell them, but the main thing is to keep updating. Each time you write a post, you are claiming another plot of virtual real estate in internet land. And he who owns the most land, WINS! The more you post, the better. You should at least update 2-3 times every week – as a bare minimum. Also, try to make your post at least 500 words or more.
Facebook Fan Page – This is the second step you should make. Hopefully, you are already on Facebook and have a personal account. If you don’t have one, then create one. From that point, you need to create a Facebook fanpage for your business. The header needs to contain your brand and logo, and the bio section should have a link to your website. Believe it or not, your social media presence makes a difference in your search engine rankings, Google is very aware of what you are doing in the social media.
Here’s something you must keep in mind. If you have a Facebook account, then you no doubt have lots of friends already. When you start a fan page, then it creates fans, not friends. And the two are totally different. Your friends do not become your fans – you have to find fans separately. As you spend time on Facebook, you have a choice to act as you personally or as your fan page. You need to be aware of which one you are at any given time. But this can be a good thing actually. Whenever you post something on your fanpage, it do it as your business. Then you can switch over to your personal side and then like, comment, and share your post with your personal friends.
Here’s something you need to get used to – it is hard to get your friends to become your fans for some reason. There’s a nifty little built-in option to invite your friends to like your page, but for some reason, it is not very effective.
Okay – now for updating your fanpage. Remember you are representing your business on that fan page. Every time you post on your business blog, you should share that post on your fan page. However, a word of warning, DO NOT let your fan page display only posts to your blog. You need to share other things too – otherwise, you come off as self-serving and it’s a big turn off for everyone – including Google who will actually punish you in the ranking for doing that. You need to find other cool stuff to share on your fan page that your clients would like.
Here’s something else, you should go out to other fan pages in your market or niche. Find some topics and posts that are attracting lots of attention and chime in with your own thoughts and opinions. Get active and be seen within your market. Remember to do this as your fan page, and not as you personally. Every time you post as your fan page, you are sending a link back to your fanpage. Make it a point to do a little of this every single day. This is how you build your fan base – persistence.
Lastly, on Facebook there are communities called groups that you can join. Find some groups in your niche or market – or groups that would be interested in your products and services – and join lots of them. As you update your fan page, be sure to update all your groups as well. As you can see, once you get all this set up, you can get your blog posts out to several hundred peoples at the click of a mouse. The great thing is that you can find tools called “plugins” for wordpress blogs that will do this automatically every time you post to your blog. Now that’s how to market your business online!
Twitter Account – This is the next account you should create to market your business. The reason I like Twitter is that you can grow a very big network in a short amount of time. And with a big network, you can send hundreds of visitors to virtually any web page within seconds. Twitter is my personal favorite and how I am presently earning most of my online income – so I’m very biased to Twitter.
When you set up your Twitter account, you will once again want to display your logo and brand. You also need to put a link back to your blog in your Twitter profile. And as a minimum, you will want tweet out every time you post new content on your blog. Like your fanpage, you will also want to find other cool stuff to tweet out as well. To build your Twitter following, simply go out to others in your niche and start following their followers. Try to find about 30-40 new people to follow daily and you find that lots of them will follow you back. Ever few days, you will have to unfollow those who don’t reciprocate to make room for more new followers. You can easily get over 1000 new followers every single month doing this.
Tie Them Together – Now the final step to all this is to tie the three accounts together. We’ve already talked about linking your Twitter Account and Facebook fanpage, but there’s still some loose ends. In your Twitter profile, you should ask for like on your Facebook page. Likewise on your Facebook fanpage, you need to place a link to your Twitter account somewhere. Finally, on your blog, you need to offer up links to both your other two accounts. This is another reason to use wordpress blogs as they offer lots of ways to do this. There are countless wordpress plugins (both paid and free) out there that do a fine job.
Now that you have this powerful threesome of accounts that are all very popular with the search engines, you are all set. The only thing left is for you to grow them. As you participate and create each of them, your voice will become stronger and louder and weld more influence. Don’t approach of a ton of work every day, just focus on doing a little something every day on these three sites. The slow and steady approach will serve you well if your stick to it. This is how to market your business online.