Resources and Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Online marketing solutions are easy when you have the right resources in your tool set. Whether you outsource your marketing or do it yourself, the key objective is to make your business stand out above the competition. The quality of the products, services, and resources you use will determine the success of your online presence. For this reason, I recommend the following companies to enhance your online marketing efforts. I personally use these companies and stand by their services.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Small businesses can enhance their digital marketing strategy by following a few simple guidelines. First, create an eye-catching web site that targets your demographic market. Second, make sure your business web site is mobile friendly with a responsive layout that is easy to navigate. Third, provide valuable content that is beneficial to your clients that will simulate a call to action. With that in mind, let’s dig deeper on how to make your web site a profitable online sales platform.
1) Make sure your web site is on a reliable host site that offers excellent customer service.
After learning about Bluehost at the 2015 Women in Travel Summit, I signed up to create www.tasteandseelife.com. From start to finish, Bluehost’s account setup was easy and hassle-free. Bluehost’s support teams were accessible via email, phone, or chat. Their professional 24/7 customer service, clear write ups and instructional videos addressed all my questions.
This fall, I moved www.michelle-carr.com domain to Bluehost to consolidate my domains and billing on one host provider. I paid extra to have Bluehost migrate my existing domain and WordPress files, and I’m so glad I did. My site was up and running without any downtime. It was a seamless, worry-free transition. I highly recommend Bluehost for their first-class service and affordable pricing. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a reliable network for your online marketing lifeline.
2) Do your homework upfront and invest your money designing your web site.
If you manage your own site, research topics on branding, demographics, color schemes, key word selection, and SEO. Your web site is the visual representation of your business. Branding with colors, fonts, layouts, logos, and corporate head shots will attract potential clients to read your content and stay on your site. But, the real value from your site traffic is the data. You can analyze the data to determine trigger points and conversion goals. This valuable information gives you insight to know what is not working vs what is working, and how to improve your marketing efforts. If you want to expand your online marketing knowledge and learn which marketing techniques will work for you, I suggest taking a few courses on Lynda.com. Lynda.com offers a 10-day free trial and month-to-month plans so you can learn at your leisure.
3) Hire a graphic designer who understands the techniques of branding.
A graphic designer will work with you to customize your logo and find the right fonts and colors to visually communicate your company. There are plenty of sites to find a freelance graphic designer like Upwork or Etsy. For my Taste and See Life blog, I hired a professional graphic designer by the name of Alyssa Setia, the founder of Adjust Your Focus. Alyssa was able to walk me through the process and advise me on the best color scheme for the logo. The moment I implemented the new logo on my blog, I noticed a huge difference in web traffic and my online presence. However, when you consult with your graphic designer, make sure your graphic designer knows how you will be using the logo and where the logo will be placed on your web site. If you plan to use the logo on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Business Pages profile image, consider the logo size constraints. Make sure to get some ideas how the new logo will look in various scenarios. I found out the hard way when I tried to use the Taste and See Life logo for my social media profiles. The Taste and See Life logo didn’t fit in the circular social media profile area because my logo was a rectangle. So just do your due diligence and ask questions before you engage in the project.
4) Find a photographer who specializes in professional head shots.
The right photographer will understand what lighting, background, and attire you will need to create the perfect professional head shot. Head shots function as your first impression to show online viewers who you are. It’s a way to put a face to the company and your brand. Professional head shots are necessary for your web site’s “About” page, your LinkedIn profile, and any other marketing materials. If you are a public figure, a C-level executive, lawyer, doctor or author, professional head shots are used for citations on other web sites, professional organizations, and presentations. This is one marketing asset you need to invest in. In Houston, I use Michael Carr Photography to capture my best face for my profile images for my Facebook, LinkedIn, and my web sites. For clothing tips on what to wear to your head shot session, check out Michael Carr’s link to Clothing Tips.
5) Make your web site your primary marketing vehicle to generate leads.
By creating targeted landing pages, providing valuable blog post content, and linking your social media feeds to your site, your web site becomes the central base to see exactly what is going on with your business. Potential clients can read your promotions, view your online store, view a menu, or view your latest Instagram photos. Use social media to attract visitors to your web site so they can engage and take action. Review your current web site from a potential client’s perspective. Test the mobile and pc view. Then conduct a Google search of your web site via your key search words. When you view your site on a mobile device, is your phone number and business address easy to read? Look out for design landmines. One of the web design features that annoys me the most are the opt-in pop-up boxes that don’t go away in mobile use. When I see this on a mobile site, I exit the site and visit another web site. So think about these things when you are designing your own site or talking with your web designer.
I will continue to add to this Resources page to help you with your marketing efforts. Enjoy!