Small Business Online Marketing “Must Haves!”

I’m proud to say I own a successful, and profitable micro business. What is this I hear you ask? Well typically my definition of a micro business would be a business turning over under 500k and with less than 5 employees. Many will be sole traders, who are owner operators, with turnover much below the 500k level.

A small business is actually classified typically as turnover up to 5m, and less than 50 employees. The variation on these numbers depends on your source of info, but that is a very typical criteria. I’m not sure about you, but a 5m turnover, and managing say 40 employees does not sound so “small” to me! Hence my micro business definition.

As a micro business owner, you are likely to be very good at what you sell. The problem is actually selling it, or more importantly creating the opportunity for you to sell it. You could be the best widget seller in the world, but if nobody knows who you are you’ll never get the chance to demonstrate that.

I too often speak to people who are running a business, or looking to start running a business who have gained the qualifications, or skills to do the job, but have not even thought about how they are even going to create the opportunity to be a “car valeter” a “personal trainer” or a “plumber”. The Online Marketing must haves below will give you a guide of where to start with your online marketing. Best of all, they are all FREE!

Google Business Listing

The first place many people turn to is Google. Spending a fortune on a fancy website, and then actually trying to get this website to the top of Google for your search terms is beyond most micro business owners skill and budget capabilities. However, a Google business listing is free, and gets your business listed on the map, typically near the top of the search- when your clients are searching for you.

The business listing allows you to add images, and post updates for your business for searchers to review. Most importantly it allows you to ask your customers to leave you reviews. These reviews are invaluable for you to build your reputation locally, and for Google to understand that you are a business they should be putting in front of their searching clients. Testimonials will win you business. Most people seek out confirmation from others that their decision to spend money on something or with someone is validated.

Facebook Business page

Facebook is a platform that millions of people hold accounts on and more importantly is a place where your customers and clients will be asking for recommendations from their friends. A facebook business page is free, and easy to set up. All you need is a your personal facebook account, and go to pages, and create new. It is a place you can invite your clients to follow, and keep up to date with your news and information. You can upload examples of your work, and again ask for testimonials. Most importantly your page can be tagged by other people to recommend you. You can communicate via your page with potential customers, and it can call be managed via an app on your smart phone.

An additional benefit of Facebook is you can ask your friends to like your page by inviting them to do so via the page functionality. You can also ask them to share the page to their friend network. The potential for viral promotion is massive. If you can create an interesting piece of content, and get it shared, it can start to go viral, and really place you as the expert within your market place.

Once you have your facebook page set up you are then able to access the paid advertising platform meaning you can expand your reach to new clients. This is something we recommend you investigate and study considerably before committing funds to.

Email Marketing

I genuinely do not know someone without an email. Im sure there is someone somewhere, but even my 92 year old Grandfather has one. Email has somewhat had its day in the late 90s/early 2000s and mass marketing email has made most people numb to the effects. We no longer read every email, most are deleted prior to even opening- on mass. However, I believe as a micro business you have a unique position. You are much more likely to build a real relationship with your clients than the faceless corporations. You are therefore much better placed to get the client to open your email.

Keeping a database of emails, with express consent and permissions to contact your clients and potential clients is easier than you think. You can also send out emails on mass, timed and automated, with programs available to create nice creatives to send out with drag and drop functionality. These emails could be as simple as a reminder to your client that their “annual boiler service” is due, or a monthly newsletter to engage with them and build further brand rapport. For small email lists of only a few hundred these functionalities can be obtained under free accounts. Our favourite providers are below. Most of which provide an app where you can add the email manually as you are with the clients.

Get Response

Get Response is a fantastic tool, enabling you to open a free account whilst you build your list. Once the list reaches a certain size we have fund them to be one of the easiest systems to use, and have some of the best creatives for attracting subscribers. Highly recommended software for the micro business user.

Mail Chimp

Is one of our favourite providers, because the software is currently completely free for those with mailing lists under 2000, sending out less than 12,000 emails a month [so 6 x 2000]. For the micro business owner this tool being free is fantastic, and has many great benefits included for no cost.

Other providers we have used in the past for different projects are:

Constant contact

Aweber

We will be fully reviewing these providers in a future blog post

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