The digital marketing revolution has truly arrived and the internet is now helping us find information, goods, and services not just globally but locally, quickly, and easily. Here is a 10 tip overview of top online actions for SMEs; for existing website owners to enhance their visibility for their websites and drive revenue online, and Web 2.0 strategies for non website owners, that don’t incur any cost, just time.
For both non website and website owners:
Google Maps – for location specific businesses it is important to have a profile built on Google Maps. Businesses and their locations are appearing on the top of Google search results in a small map with one, three, or seven businesses pinpointed for a search query for a product or service with a location example the search query “car garages Athlone” or “flowers Mullingar”. Google may have already listed your business with the wrong information and pin point location so it is imperative that you claim the listing with a Google Account. It is free and you don’t require a website to register your business www.google.com/local/add/
LinkedIn – a social network for professionals and businesses. LinkedIn is set to revolutionise the HR process for headhunting employees and accessing company profile information. It is important to have a company profile on LinkedIn, as it acts as an important link to your website and if you don’t have a website it is a useful profile for prospective employees and customers to find out more about your business.
Facebook – Some 1.4 million Irish people are now on Facebook and it has passed out Google as the number one visited site in Ireland. While your website is information orientated your Facebook page is the time to engage with your customers to build up loyalty and allow them to give you a visible endorsement of your business to their network connections.
Twitter – Now used prominently as a PR tool for communicating with online and offline media rather than a brand engagement tool as Facebook is with your customers. It is a good medium if your business is event-based or requires a lot of interaction with the media.
Email marketing – A cheap form of direct marketing for cross-selling and up-selling to existing customers and potential targets. Build up a good database of contacts and you are actively building your ezine database in-house through incentives such as competitions and loyalty schemes for ezine subscribers and making sure your website has an ezine sign up facility.
For website owners:
Search engine marketing – Your website should be optimised for brand and location searches at a minimum. It is imperative that you are found for the highest volume key phrases relating to your offering to maximise traffic. Google’s keyword tool can give you an indication of high volume key phrases both plural and singular for your business. If you are not registering on the first page it is advisable that you concentrate on other more focused key phrases to gain optimum traffic to your site.
Link building – Search engines identify links as endorsements of a site and will rank sites higher the more quality relevant sites that are linking to their own site. For example a wedding flower specialist can link to hotels, wedding bands and other related wedding sites that are complimentary to weddings. A link has a dual benefit of providing good brand exposure whilst also increasing the reputation of the site in the search engines.
Google analytics – A worldwide recognised website tracking system which provides detailed data on your visitors; their geographic location, language, how they found your site, and their activity on the site. It is a free tool but you will need your website provider to upload the tracking for you which only takes a few minutes.
Pay per click advertising – Google and Yahoo pay per click services allow website owners to bid on search engine phrases which can appear in the top and right hand side of the organic search engine results. It is beneficial for bidding on relevant search queries that you don’t have positions for organically or to promote a special offer. The visitors’ activity that comes through this medium can be tracked via Google Analytics.
Google webmaster tools – Another free tool that requires uploading by a website designer illustrates the sites perform in contrast to other sites and any problems Google has accessing it to index the site’s web pages in the search results.
All of the above topics are covered in-depth in Aró’s online marketing workshops which run evenings or weekends; daytime workshops can also be arranged in their office in Furbo in Galway. Aró can also provide in-house or bespoke workshops for business networks.
Aró offer full e-commerce packages including web design, website editing software, e-shop facilities and email marketing for SMEs starting from €60 per month plus deposit which gives you full control over your website, with optional e-marketing workshop.