Being a small business today is sort of like walking into high school the first day as a freshman- one wrong turn and you’ll get squashed. Or maybe that was just me. But anyway, the fact of the matter is that there are giants out there and you don’t want to get trampled underfoot. The key to surviving alongside the larger businesses is using the internet as the ultimate weapon to boost your marketing efforts and getting noticed. And these are the best ways to manage that.

Step 1: Define Your Brand

Your brand is who you are. It’s your personality, it’s who you want to be to your customers, it’s how you want to be known to people. You design your marketing and your products and your message around all of that. So you have to know who you are.

Think about the following things:

  • Where you come from- an origin story is something everyone can relate to. Use that relatability to tell your story.
  • Your customers- who are the people you cater to? Understand what they will want to see from your company and how you can create a brand that they will respond to.
  • Be different- you don’t want to be another face in the crowd. If your competitor is similar to you, pick that one difference that you can use to make yourself unique and definable in the industry.

Step 2: Build a Kickass Website

The kiss of death for a small business is to have an outdated or old website. The fact is 55% of people who visit your site will stay for less than 15 seconds. So you only have 15 seconds to impress your visitors and make them want to stay.

A custom design is crucial to your business, a design that conveys your brand, is mobile friendly, and engages your customer base by providing the information that your customers need. These are the key points to hit on:

  • Does your site have the information your target audience needs?
  • Make sure you aren’t using too much industry language, words that the average person wouldn’t know.
  • Your brand should drive the content on your site- convey your personality.

Step 3: Create an All-Encompassing Marketing Plan

This should include:

  • Content Strategy- Valuable content that your audience will take the time to read
  • Social Media- Once you have established some content and a good website, you can guide people to it through social media
  • Email- An email strategy will help make people aware of you and what your business has to offer
  • Local- Local search is crucial to your business. The majority of searches are done on mobile devices now, and most of those searches are for local businesses, so you need to have an effective local strategy
  • Promotions- Any time you have a promotional event, you want to make sure that you let people know- whether it’s on social media or in an email blast, people won’t come if they don’t know about it, and then how is it promotional?

The key to the ultimate online marketing strategy for your small to medium business is keeping on top of things- updating, keeping up with trends, and making sure that your business continues to grow. It’s an ongoing battle. It never ends. But your business will continue to thrive if you use your online marketing strategy to the fullest, and all you have to do is focus on creating the best possible content and taking it online effectively.