Have you considered online marketing for your small business? If you have a website, online marketing is a great way to increase traffic, leads and sales. Online Marketing covers a range of business-boosting activities: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) social media marketing (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc), content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising to name a few. If you’re not sure if online marketing will work for your business, here’s 6 online marketing myths debunked to get you on your way!
Myth #1 My Business Doesn’t Need an Online Presence.
Perhaps you feel that your customers aren’t online (they are!), or maybe you don’t need more customers at the moment. While that’s a nice, comfy position to be in, it may not last forever. Even if your business is in a good spot today, an online presence can help solidify its future. The majority of the North American population use the internet from all age groups: over 90% usage rate for ages 18-50, over 80% usage for ages 50-64 and almost 60% usage rate for over 65 years. For many of these internet users, heading to Google search is the first thing they do when they’re looking for more information. If your business is online, your potential customers have a much better chance of finding you! An online presence increases your business’s visibility and accessibility while building trust and confidence with your customers. In today’s digital age, it is no longer a luxury to be online - your customers expect it! Read more about why your business needs a strong online presence here.
Myth #2 I Don’t Have Money For Online Marketing.
Spending money on online marketing is an investment in your business’s future. Once you find the right online marketing strategy that works for your business, you will see an increase in traffic, and leads. You might be surprised at the results even a small online marketing budget can yield. Start small and use analytics to find what works - you’ll be glad you did! Even the most limited budget can benefit from Google’s tools to help your business communicate up-to-date business info, manage reviews and connect social media accounts to boost search engine results.
Myth #3 Online Marketing Doesn’t Work.
Perhaps you’ve had a sour experience, received some bad advice, or didn’t give the online marketing strategy enough time to work. While it’s true that not every type of online marketing works for all businesses, there is a strategy that will work for you. If online marketing hasn’t worked for you in the past, or you’re skeptical of it altogether, Google is a trusted and safe place to start. Google is continuously improving its search algorithms so it’s easier for your customers to find you - making online marketing easier for small business. Learn more about how Google can help your business here.
Finding an online marketing strategy that works for your business starts with market research. Get to know where your customers and target audience spend time online; focus your efforts on those channels. Once you know WHERE to market online, creating quality content is more important than quantity. Understand who your customers are and tailor your content to their interests and needs. If you plan to hire an agency to help you, check reviews, ask specific questions about what methods they use and what kind of results to expect.
Myth #4 - I can expect results right away!
As they embark on an online marketing journey, many businesses have the expectation that they will see results right away. Unfortunately, gaining solid SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ground is mostly about building strength over time (for example - with keywords, link building, blogging etc). A quality, online marketing strategy that includes SEO will likely yield results starting at the 6 month mark. It’s common to see small results as early as 3 months but investing a minimum of 12 months into an online marketing strategy is your best bet. Once you’re happy with how your strategy is performing, implement a maintenance strategy to keep up the momentum. Don’t let minimal results in the beginning discourage you; online marketing is a marathon - not a sprint!
Myth #5- My business doesn’t need a website; we are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram!
Social Media Marketing is only one part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy. While using the same social networks your customers use is extremely important, they don’t take the place of a website. Even though your social media profiles will show up on Google searches, they are not contributing to your SEO ranking. Additionally, social media platforms are likely to change over time; websites aren’t going anywhere. It’s hard to imagine platforms like FaceBook and Twitter becoming irrelevant, but MySpace is a great reminder that it can happen. Lastly, your website and the content within it, are owned by you. Facebook owns your business page (and its content) and can choose to shut it down at any time. For the best chance at online marketing success, be sure to include a range of proven marketing tactics, like a website, in addition to your social media campaigns.
Myth #6 - There’s too much competition; there’s no point in online marketing.
If your competition includes a lot of big companies with huge marketing budgets, it can be difficult to increase your search ranking for certain keywords. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a strategy that works for your business. Even if you aren’t competing with Fortune500 companies for search engine rankings, here’s 3 ways to step ahead of your competition:
- Long-tail keyword strategy. A long-tail keyword is a specific, detailed phrase (usually contains more than 3 words) to narrow search results. For example, “where to buy conflict free diamonds online” is a long-tail keyword option for “diamond”.
- Great content marketing. As an expert in your industry with hands-on experience, you have the opportunity to provide valuable information to those looking for it. Get blogging!
- Local Search. Small businesses can leverage the power of local search by incorporating the neighbourhood or city into their SEO strategy. For example, “best fish tacos in The Distillery District, Toronto”.
People are using search in a more conversational way than ever before. Small businesses can use their unique expertise and experience to employ these strategies to get ahead of big competition.
Finding the right mix of online marketing activities to suit your small business can positively affect your bottom line. Don’t let these 6 online marketing myths discourage you from finding success!