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Five Step Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses and E-course Creators

Market your small business in five steps
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Not having proper online marketing strategies for your small business is like growing a flower garden with only a few blooms. To have a thriving garden (or business), you need several marketing approaches that work together to attract more of your ideal customers. Some small businesses rely on their family or friends and word of mouth to promote their businesses. That may fly in some industries, but most will need to put in more effort to create a long-lasting and successful business. This article shares five online marketing strategies for small businesses, specifically service providers and online course creators.

Clean, simple website

Every marketing endeavor should begin with a well made website. Not only is a website the hub for all of your marketing, but an internet presence is a necessity for businesses, as customers have come to expect it of the brands they consider working with.

Don’t let the words “clean and simple” fool you. This doesn’t mean you should present a bland web presence. Many brands will benefit greatly from creative visual branding. At Vox Pop Marketing, we’re all for it and love to develop imaginative websites! However, whatever branding style you prefer, your website should strike a visual and spatial balance that makes text easy to read. You also need an organized structural layout and easy navigation.

Be sure to also include a clear pathway for visitors to take the next steps in their journey with your brand. Of equal importance, an effective website will convey to readers what your business is about within seconds of arriving. Overall, you want to make your website as attractive to customers as possible. To learn how, read our article, 6 Ways to Improve Your Website for Lead Generation.

Simple messaging + offer

When it comes to the writing on your company’s website, remember the age old adage: KISS (keep it stupid simple). While you want a sense of humanity and emotion to come through, your messaging should also be concise, and always emphasizing what your business is about.

It might seem counterintuitive, but the more details you share, the more you risk turning readers away. By immediately showing all of the cards in your deck, you dilute your marketing message. Instead of baring it all, consider summing up your services into a big idea that can be conveyed in just one sentence. For example, Vox Pop Marketing offers a laundry list of marketing services, but our message is simple: We develop customer attraction systems for small businesses and online course creators.

Next, instead of linking to all of your services from the home page, choose just one. This one offer should be something the majority of your new customers need. It should also be enticingly high-value and at a fraction of the cost of your larger products or service packages. This is known in the marketing community as an “Irresistible Offer” and is an excellent online marketing strategy for small businesses, and particularly for those that offer services.

Social media marketing

Now that your website is in order, it’s time to move on to social media marketing. With social media, you can get your brand in front of new potential customers every day. It also helps to establish brand recognition and send a steady flow of new traffic to your website where people can take the next step with your business.

If you’re still not convinced, MailChimp.com says, “The average internet user has over five social media accounts, which they check almost daily.” That’s a lot of accounts and a lot of checking! In the estimated two hours a day people spend on social media, it’s important your business is actively working to capture their attention and entice them to your website where your business and its charms can further win them over.

The most popular social platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You might also consider Pinterest, which (like Instagram) is a visual platform that can catch eyeballs and interest. Finally, this section wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the popular new kids on the block: TikTok and Clubhouse.

Finally, it’s important to select the social media networks where your customers spend time online. For example, if your brand caters to senior executives at banks and credit unions, you would choose LinkedIn over TikTok. You can learn more about the most popular social media platforms and their audiences in our article, 6 Best Social Media Networks to Promote Your Business.

Ad marketing

At this point in our strategy, you’re using social media to promote your business and send traffic to your new and improved business website. Now it’s time to turn a trickle of traffic to your website into a flood. You can do this by running ads on social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook.com suggests a few steps for getting started with running ads on their networks, which includes Instagram. First, have a goal in mind, such as do you want to increase your Facebook or Instagram follower count? Or, do you want people to download a free report or purchase a product or service? Next, you can reach your target audience by filtering your ads according to their income, interests, age, job titles and location. Finally, set a length of time you want the ad to appear and upload eye-grabbing images or video. It’s important to note that there are three consecutive stages to ad marketing: awareness, consideration and conversion. Start with awareness-based ads, and once you see positive results with those, move on to run ads in the final two stages which lead to sales.

Build your email list

According to Litmus, for every dollar spent on email marketing, a business earns $46 in return. The major benefit of having your own email list is communicating directly with people who have expressed an interest in your services or products. These are considered warm leads in the consideration stage. Stay in touch with regular emails. Your prospects are one step away from the conversion stage, which is where your efforts result in new customers and cash.

To grow your email list, offer an incentive like a free guide or useful tool in exchange for their email address. Be sure your free incentive is something your customers will find valuable and give it a title that piques interest and desire. To learn more about email marketing and how it works to grow your business, read our article, What is Email Marketing and How Does It Work.

Tying it all together

As you can see, there are many online marketing strategies for small businesses to try. However, marketing is most effective when you implement it in the right order, such as the outline presented here. Remember to begin by strengthening your website and improving the sales language and the offers you make. Then, move on strategies that send traffic to your website. Once people arrive, you’ll want a way to draw them into your brand’s orbit by enticing them onto your email list where you can further the relationship. Finally, ad marketing is another great way to increase your web traffic and to remarket to people who have visited your website and even your social media pages.

Do you see the value of these five online marketing strategies for small businesses and digital course creators? If so, and you would like professional consulting or hands-on support, you may be a fit for a Marketing Blueprint session. This is the first step to developing and refining an online marketing plan that attracts more customers to your business. Learn more about it and book a call or drop us a line with any questions you might have.

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About Monica
Monica Valentine is the founder of Vox Pop Marketing. She provides boutique marketing & web design solutions for Service Providers and Digital Course Creators. Monica has 16+ years experience in online marketing & web design and writes about the latest marketing trends here on "Vox Blog".

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