It has never been easier to start an online business. There is a seemingly endless supply of web tools and software to help make running your business easier. There are more ecommerce companies than ever before, meaning that you can take advantage of the knowledge gained from those who have come before you. Plus, if you have employees, working remotely has become so commonplace that you might never have to rent or purchase a separate building for office space.
That said, because there are so many online businesses out there, the competition is fierce. Unlike a local business, which can focus on its immediate area with billboards and creative TV and radio ads, an internet business has to stand out in a sea of digital marketing. Don’t despair, though. You can absolutely successfully market yourself. It just takes a bit of work and some ingenuity. Here are some creative ways to market your online business.
Of course, every business in the world has to produce marketing content to get the word out. Traditional marketing content shows off products, advertises sales, and has action statements. However, with so much marketing out there, you need to provide something else to make your business stand out.
Creating informative and engaging content is one way you can do that. It doesn’t have to be strictly “marketing” content, either. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. The content you create should be about providing additional value to the consumer, whether it’s information or entertainment. For example, if you run software as a service business, your content could focus on instructional videos for those who are not experienced at using computers. You can also have humorous content that brings customers in. The more engaging it is, the more people will like and share it, which will get your brand in front of even more eyeballs. This means that other people will be doing the marketing for you.
It’s a crowded marketplace out there, and you need to do whatever you can to stand out. Consumers are getting more and more used to their shopping experiences being customized for them. Algorithms provide suggested items to buy based on their history, and AI technology knows how to make it seem like they are dealing with real people when asking questions through customer service.
You need to make sure that you are providing a personalized experience as well. Learn about your customers, and cater to them in any way you can. When reaching out to prospects, do some research and find things you have in common to build a trusting relationship. Providing a personalized experience also means personalizing your brand. Display candid photos of your team on your website and social media channels. Make it clear that customers are dealing with real people behind the scenes, and not chatbots and algorithms. In this market, customers have a lot of power, so you need to make sure that you are offering something different than everyone else.
Are there online communities out there related to your industry? If so, make your brand known in those communities. On websites like Reddit you can participate in AMAs and comment on other posts with expert answers. For example, if you are a car parts distributor, you can monitor questions on car enthusiast social media pages and subforums.
Answer questions related to tools, but also about general car information, such as good places to get commercial auto insurance or how to conserve gas. The more you put your brand out there as a place customers can relate to and recognized as an authority, the more sles and word of mouth you will get. Customers will also feel more connected to your brand and as a result are more likely to be loyal with future purchases.
Optimize Your Business Listings
Too many businesses ignore their online listings completely. Business listing websites such as Yelp and Google business can capture business data through algorithms, so many people think there’s no need to do anything further. However, that’s simply not the truth. SEO is very common to try to get websites to appear as high as possible on search engine rankings. The same concept applies to business listings. You can optimize those listings to get better results. Along with your general contact information, fill in every possible field. Post pictures, comment on reviews, and have an active presence. This will also help prevent your listings from having inconsistencies from your website, which will cause search engines to downgrade you.
Retarget Your Customers
The simple fact of the matter is that it’s cheaper and more efficient to retain customers than it is to find new ones. This is why targeting marketing towards people who have already purchased from you can be so valuable. They have already placed their trust in you with their initial purchase, and ideally you confirmed their trust with that transaction.
Retargeting means sending them marketing materials specifically aimed at their interests. Send them emails or private messages with links to pages and products they've visited on your website. Many people forget where they may have seen a product or service, and you can give them the reminder they need. This can also be where personalization comes into play. Address them by name, and make them feel special.
Mass texting is becoming more popular, but it has not caught on as well as it should. It is a powerful tool to connect with your customers. Text messages are opened and read at a much higher rate than emails. As a society, many of us are conditioned to pull out our phones and check them whenever a notification comes through. With text messages you can be assured that you will get your message out to your target audience, and that they will read it almost immediately. If you include links to your sales pages or the content you want them to see, it becomes simple for you and for the customer to go through the purchasing process.
Operating an online business is a popular pursuit. No matter what field you are in, you need to do whatever you can to stand out in the crowd. Use these creative marketing techniques to beat the competition and find the success you want.