How SMEs can build their online profile
The internet has been a great leveller when it comes to marketing, as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have an unprecedented opportunity to get their word out on a modest budget. But would you say your firm makes the best use of the digital platforms that are available? We thought we’d come up with a few ideas to help you push your message out online and ensure it gets heard by your target audience.
Encourage existing customers to talk you up online
Word of mouth marketing is often regarded as the most effective form of marketing there is, because people trust the views of their friends and family above anything else. You could therefore encourage customers to leave positive reviews on popular review sites or share pieces of content on social media. An easy way to do this is to give them an incentive to talk you up online, such as discounts on certain products or even free gifts, such as To do pad or 30 minute meeting.
Deliver a great user experience
Look at your website from the perspective of someone who has never heard of your brand before and ask if it really does what you want it to do? Is it intuitive and easy to navigate? Is the information a customer wants clearly available? And is the ordering process speedy and straightforward?
The length of time it takes for your site to load up is crucial to delivering a good user experience. So if your site isn’t the fastest, make sure you work within your means and don’t overload it with animations and videos that take a long time to load up.
With more and more people using the internet on the move, brands can’t afford to have a site that doesn’t render well on smartphones and tablets. Optimise your site for mobiles and tablets to generate additional traffic and increase conversion rates.
SEO doesn’t have to be complicated
Tools such as Google Trends can help you find the relevant search terms in your industry, so you can incorporate them into your website copy and in page titles and subheadings. But be realistic – key companies in your industry may have spent vast sums of money to get the top of the search engine rankings on the most popular terms. It may be better to target ‘long tail’ keywords which tend to be less competitive.
Create content for your website and hopefully draw lots of links from third party websites. You’ll get referral traffic from the third party sites and Google should view the links as a sign of authority in your industry. This can pay off in better search rankings.
The Federation of Small Businesses recently reported a bounce back in SME confidence towards the end of 2016, as firms are responding to the ‘brighter’ economic outlook and feeling ‘ambitious’ as conditions improve. As marketing activity among SMEs appears set to increase over the coming months, developing a strong web presence should help to differentiate your business from the competition.
Source and further reading
Small business confidence bounces back to pre-referendum levels FSB
SEO tips for small businesses The Telegraph
How small businesses can market on a budget The Telegraph
Google Trends Google