Here on PPC Ian I’m often blogging about enterprise-level online marketing tips, strategies, and advice. Today, I wanted to focus on small businesses. Small businesses face a unique set of challenges and opportunities in the online marketing landscape. Whether you are CEO of a startup or responsible for growing a new product within an existing company, I hope these tips help accelerate your growth!
Tip 1: Leverage Paid Search To Build Insights
When your business is brand new, it takes time to build brand awareness, organic search traffic, a strong following on social media, and a customer database. At the same time, you need traffic right away to start testing your website and building your business. It’s all about testing and iterating. So, what can you do? I always recommend starting with paid search campaigns. You will not have a ton of marketing budget as a small business, but I still recommend investing a small amount on paid search. This will jump start your sales and drive valuable insights about your website.
Tip 2: Stretch Your Search Marketing Budget Wisely
This tip is an extension of the last one. While I recommend launching paid search campaigns, any new business will have a strict marketing budget. How do you stretch your budget and get the most efficient results? Here are a few of my favorite tips.
- Start with exact match. Exact match is the most profitable match type.
- Opt into Google.com and Yahoo.com/Bing.com. Stay away from search partners/syndication, content match/display, and mobile search. When you’re just starting out, it’s all about focus. There will be plenty of time to scale later as your business grows. I have found that exact match campaigns on Google.com and also Yahoo.com/Bing.com are the best, most profitable place to start out.
- Implement budgets so you don’t spend too much.
- Implement day parting so your campaigns are live during the right times (will differ depending on your business model).
- Start out with aggressive bids. The foundation of any new AdWords or Bing Ads account is a high click-through-rate. While search engines are supposed to normalize by position, I always find it advantageous to start out in the top few positions to establish the best possible history.
- Consider hiring an SEM agency such as Rocket Clicks. Online advertising is complex. Get advice and help from the best.
Tip 3: Develop A Rock Solid Tracking Strategy
The beauty of online marketing is it offers the ability for precise tracking. The beauty of a small business is you’re starting fresh and can set up the perfect tracking strategy. If you’re selling goods online, you should not only track orders, but also order value and repeat purchases (to understand revenue per customer). If you’re selling a financial product that involves in-person interaction with your customer, make sure to track lead forms via your website and also back end conversions and lifetime revenue. Let’s say you’re trying to get customers to your store. This one is a bit more difficult to track, but try to offer a unique coupon code online (or series of codes) to track offline sales back to online advertising. The possibilities are endless.
Before you start any marketing efforts, it’s all about developing a rock solid tracking strategy. Your strategy should go as deep in your conversion funnel as possible. It should span both online and offline conversions. It should take phone conversions and also mobile conversions into account. Your business is new so it’s the ideal time to develop the perfect tracking strategy.
Tip 4: View Sweat Equity As Your Competitive Advantage
While large businesses have tons of money and can go aggressive, small businesses have the competitive advantage of being nimble and having tons of sweat equity. When you’re a small business, you can move fast and make big time investments (since one person can oftentimes own most or even all of the online advertising strategy). I recommend publishing amazing content daily (or even several times a day), going all out on social networks (especially Google+), developing and publishing amazing video content, and more. Turn your online marketing business into a content powerhouse. This will take a ton of time and will not produce results overnight, but will truly pay dividends in the long run. And, you may be able to outmaneuver some of your big competitors because you’re nimble and fast.
Tip 5: Have Clear Goals In Place
This tip ties into the measurement and tracking one above. When you’re starting a new business, it’s easy to be all over the place. There are a million things to do. There are so many campaigns and metrics to manage. At the end of the day, however, each business must have a clear purpose and mission. Choose metrics and goals for your online campaigns that support these goals. Watch them like a hawk. Make sure to include clear financial results in your goal set.
I hope these tips help out. Best of luck in growing your small business!
Image of Support Small Business © iStockPhoto – KLH49
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