Welcome to the third instalment of our series of SME business growth tips!
In this part, we focus on digital marketing strategies and networking.
Invest in your website
In today’s age of mass-adoption of the Internet, websites have become a crucial element in business marketing strategy, whatever your industry sector.
They announce your presence, promote your brand, and signal your availability.
In short, they are an essential advertising tool today; and you should invest in yours.
Experienced digital marketing agencies have the expertise to develop custom websites on behalf of your business.
Creating your business website is only half the battle.
There is a whole range of specialised methods for making it more visible to potential customers via search engines like Google and Bing. This
is known in the digital marketing industry as SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation.
Investing in SEO should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy.
A lot of business is done on the strength of trust built up through personal contacts.
Even in the digital age, it is vitally important for you as a business director to get out and about and meet potential customers for your products and services.
Each industry has its own specialist events, but there are also networking organisations dedicated to business directors that can be valuable sources of contacts.
For networking in Bristol, see the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.
Publish on LinkedIn
Aside from traditional in-person business networking, the LinkedIn network has become its online counterpart.
Establishing a digital presence on LinkedIn is much like distributing your business card to professionals in related industries, but the network also gives you the opportunity to publish articles and announcements to all your contacts on it, and so it can be a valuable additional marketing tool.
Try to publish articles that show off your expertise, and remember to comment on your contacts’ postings.
Share advice on Twitter, and use hashtags
Twitter is another popular online social network, with over 300 million active monthly users in mid-2016.
Thanks to its integrated ‘share’ feature, Twitter is an ideal platform for launching viral marketing campaigns centered on pithy, catchy text content.
Using currently trending hashtags that are relevant to your message can draw complete strangers to your posts.
Sharing something as simple as practical advice on a topic relevant to your products and services can be a valuable form of digital marketing.
In case you are still new to the whole concept of hashtags, they are basically buzzwords, or short phrases, preceded by the so-called ‘hash’, #.
You just have to insert the ones of your choice into your tweet for anyone following those buzzwords to find it.
Examples of popular hashtags: #mondaymotivation, #throwbackThursday.
Try following hashtags on Twitter relevant to your business such as #papersupplies or #accounting, to quickly find shareable content.
You can create lists in Twitter to follow relevant hashtags or niches.
Harness mobile apps + appstore
The majority of today’s Internet users accesses the Internet from smartphones and tablets.
These are served by an almost bewildering array of third-party software applications known as apps, often sold in online shops called appstores.
Both functional and entertaining apps can be effective ways to engage a great many people.
Digital marketing agencies can create customised apps for your business that tap into the huge consumer market for functional and entertaining apps, at the same time as promoting your products and services.
The possibilities and permutations are as limitless as your imagination.
Advertise on Facebook
Facebook, the world’s most widely-adopted online social network today, reached 1.7 billion monthly active users worldwide in the second quarter of 2016.
Facebook offers advertising services to businesses that use sophisticated targeted algorithms to reach the market you need as closely as possible.
Advertising on Facebook is clearly displayed, and well worth considering if you have the budget for it and want to reach out beyond search engines to tap into a larger market.
Focus on the visual element of your advert to attract clicks.
Have you explored all available options for marketing your business online? Does your digital marketing strategy still have room for improvement? Are you active enough in your business networking? We at GWS hope that the guidelines above are helpful pointers to your future progress and success.