Author: Tracy Sibiya
Last updated: 21 October 2019
How to market your business online
Online marketing exposes your business to new markets. Simply relying on your local market to generate revenue for your business limits your company's growth potential.
One of the ways to connect with markets outside of your local business district is to utilize digital platforms. These online platforms allow for instant interaction and feedback. According to Hootsuite, the typical South African spends 8 hours and 23 minutes on the internet each day. This makes the online space a huge marketplace for small businesses. Companies that have an online presence appear more reliable, tend to get more business and generate better profit.
Marketing your business online can also present an opportunity to grow your company beyond South African boarders. This can open other streams of income.
Know your target market
Knowing your target market is the most essential step of the marketing process. The greatest product on the market is useless when there are no customers to buy it. It is easy to make a sale if you know who you are selling to.
Start by assessing who your current customers are. The people that are currently buying your product can be an indicator of who your target market should be. Asking questions such as who? what? how? why? is an easy way to personalize who your customer is. Who needs the product or service that you offer? Who is currently purchasing your product? How are they purchasing or using your product? Why are they paying for your service? What other similar products are they buying?
You can personalize your target market further by identifying demographic information such as age, gender, race, income and household type. This will help you in deciding which marketing tactics will be beneficial to your business. You should be able to define who your target market is and what their characteristics are. More importantly, you should know what type of content appeals to them. This leads to the next step in marketing your business online.
Create a website
Seriously, you need a website for your business. A website has the following benefits:
- Increases the credibility of your business
- Helps to build your client database
- Allows you to promote your products and services
- Allows you to tell your story
Create a professional website that appeals to your target market. You can use a free website builder that can serve your business well. Depending on your business needs, a better idea would be to invest in a professionally created, fully customized website that is designed specifically for your target audience.
Include information about your, products, services, company and your contact details. Plan the design of your website with the end-user in mind. Make it easy for them to navigate through the site.
When your website is up and running, it's time to let people know about it. This is where you need to generate traffic to your site.
Social media marketing
It is reported that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. 84% of them trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Your aim should be to collect as many positive testimonials as your customers are willing to give.
Connecting with your market and providing great customer service is the only way to get great reviews. Sign up with your local directory and set up social media pages for your business.
You can use social media platforms such as:
These platforms can be used to deliver brand related content to your customers. The instant feedback you receive can help you with your marketing efforts.
Post content that is related to the services your company offers. Interact with your followers by replying and engaging with them.
Take into account the diversity of your market when creating your content. Steer clear of potentially offensive content that may offend some of your customers. Let the market research guide you.
Do not limit your content to text, customers are more likely to view content if it has an image or if it is in video form. So, include image and video formats.
The goal is to get as many people as you possibly can to engage with your brand. This increases the number of potential customers that can be converted to loyal paying clients.
Be uniform in how your brand is presented on your company’s social media platforms. Things such as profile pictures and headers should be the same on all your company’s social media channels. This way your brand remains easily recognizable to your market. Be consistent and reliable with the updating of these platforms.
Most small businesses do not have a company blog. This is a missed opportunity. Blogging can be used as another method to market your business online. Companies that blog get 55% more traffic to their website.
Blogging communicates to your customers how knowledgeable you are about the industry you operate in. It can position your brand as an expert in its field. Blogging also personifies your company which makes it more relatable to your clients.
Updating your website with regular blog posts grows your company’s online presence. Linking your blogs to your company's social media platforms drives traffic to your website This can promote client engagement on those platforms. Blogs keep the company up-to-date with current industry trends and can also act as a source of information to your clients.
Create an Email list
Creating an email list gives you the ability to get hold of your customers outside of social media platforms.
Mailing lists can be used to alert clients to business updates, new posts, blogs or to communicate product information. They can be used to generate traffic to your website and to your company's social media platforms.
For your emails to be effective however, you need to be considerate of the people that are going to receive them. The number of emails you send to your consumers should be reasonable.
Make your emails stand out and give your customers the content they want to read.
The steps mentioned above are a great place to start when attempting to market your business online. A lot of work goes into generating traffic and leads via digital platforms. It is worth remaining consistent and investing time each day on growing your company’s online presence.
If you do not have the time to spend on online marketing, contact us at Imanu Digital. We can create and manage your company’s online presence by using content that is tailor-made for your target market.