When it comes to your small business, your online marketing strategy needs to be on point – as in, it really isn’t even an option. As small businesses, you are not only competing with other small businesses out there, but larger, well established businesses – however, this should not have you feeling discouraged. Making a monthly checklist of your online marketing goals from the very beginning will let you keep on track of what’s important, and what needs to be done. Here is our monthly checklist for online marketing when you’re a small business.
1. Designing your website
When opening your small business, making sure you have an easy to navigate and functional website is key – especially if your business is mostly or purely based online. Even if you do not offer your products or services to be sold online, your website needs to be appealing enough to your audience of potential customers that they want to go the extra mile and contact you to find out more information. When designing your website, there are a few key elements that are an absolute must:
- It is laid out in a way that is simple and easy for your customer to navigate – meaning, it won’t take them long to find the information they’re looking for.
- Able to load quickly – if your website isn’t able to load in five seconds or less, odds are you have lost your customer before they could even find out more about what you have to offer.
- You have helpful and relevant content that is easy to read, and distinguishable with headings and subtitles, and includes images and/or video.
- Your website is designed for mobile use – this is an absolute must. Nobody wants to try to navigate a site on a mobile that is intended for desktop use, and they will give up quickly if they are forced to try. Text becomes impossible to read, links become impossible to navigate, and you can guarantee your customer is not going to stick around for long.
- Brand awareness – you need every bit of that website to be integrated with your company’s marketing efforts and branding strategy.
2. Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
As you may (or may not) know, there is a difference between your local and your typical SEO. If you are a small business, odds are you’re going to want to be focusing on local SEO for your area (or your consumers’ locations). There are multiple ways to make sure that your business is optimizing on local SEO, such as:
- Accurate and consistent NAP (your business’s name, address, and phone number) – This needs to be the same on your website, and across all directories. If this is clear and consistent, than Google will be much more likely to recognize your business as local, therefore having it rank in a local search.
- Claiming your Google My Business Page – This is huge for showing up in a Google search, and if you haven’t already done it, shame on you. It’s free, and as long as you are a legitimate business and follow Google’s verification process, it shouldn’t be a problem to complete. If you want to really cover your bases, claiming your Bing Places for Business would be helpful as well.
- Online reviews – Google itself has stated that high quality, positive online reviews are more likely to get your company ranked in their search engine, so that’s enough motivation right there. This coupled with the fact that 97% of people read reviews for local businesses is going to help your company’s overall ratings.
3. Social Media
Depending on whether or not you’ve grown up in the age of social media, you may not completely understand how important it is when it comes to online marketing. Not only are social media accounts free, but they are an easy and effective tool in increasing your business’s exposure. Some ways to include social media in your online marketing monthly checklist are:
- Posting regular content – Having one person who is designated to posting regularly on social media would be incredibly helpful for your business. That way, you do not have multiple people scrambling to decide what to post each day, and your content can stay consistent both in how often it is posted, and in style.
- Posting high quality content – You can’t be posting content just to post it! Your content has to be high quality and relevant to your business. Focus as much as you can on graphics over text, and consider periodically including a short video.
- Although not relevant to your own social media accounts, make sure that you include a social media sharing button on your own website. This makes it easy for customers to share your product or webpage with their followers, which can only increase business and exposure for you.
- Social media marketing campaigns – small business owners can take advantage of these free social media channels by integrating them into their email marketing campaigns and social media ads! When your marketing activities are unified into one bigger plan, you’re more likely to connect people across all social media platforms and increase your online presence.
4. Create a blog
When starting a small business, more often than not the thought of a blog does not enter your mind. However, setting aside the time to create content for a blog on your own website is way more helpful than you realize. Not only does this improve your company’s credibility, but it helps exponentially in SEO optimization. This is due to the fact that there is now much more content on your website that covers a wider range of topics relating to what you have to offer. Therefore, a potential customer is much more likely to be redirected to your website. Similarly to your social media accounts, make sure that you are posting high quality, relevant content, and that you are posting on a consistent basis. Not only does this help increase your company’s credibility, but it shows your customers that your goal is not to just get money from them. You care about providing accurate information, and providing education on the topic of your business.
5. Keeping track of key metrics
Oh boy, do we ever need to stress the importance of this! If you are not keeping track of your key metrics, you are not going to know how much traffic your website is generating, where the traffic is coming from, or what kind of ROI you’re getting. So, unless you suddenly have sales flooding in, you’re really going to have no idea how your website is doing, and what you could do to improve. Google itself provides tools to track your analytics with Google Analytics and Google’s Search Console. There are also a number of website hosting platforms that include this service. Keeping on top of your analytics on a regular basis will help you understand what you’re doing right, where you’re going wrong, and what needs to be done in the future.
When it comes to growing your small business, creating a monthly checklist for your online marketing not only helps keep you organized, but is key to the growth of your business. Always remember that at the end of the day, you are creating the best possible experience you can for your customer, and this should show in every aspect of your online marketing.