Not so long ago, radio and television were the major mediums used by large companies to reach their target audience, whilst smaller businesses would turn to local radio, newspapers, leaflet drops etc.
Whilst there is still a place for all these methods in business promotion, the internet has drastically changed the way we share information. With a little bit of knowledge businesses of all shapes and sizes can market their services directly to their target audience, and in the 21st Century it is becoming increasingly important to have a strong online presence.
The most common online marketing tool is your own company website - a centralised location where you have the opportunity to present every aspect of your business to potential customers and/or business associates. A website can be as simple or as complex as you choose, and you can select just how much information you divulge online before requiring a customer to get in touch direct (e.g. you may not wish to publish your prices online) but it must be easy to navigate and well designed. A professional website designer can ensure your website is suitable for your target audience, and more importantly that your target audience can find it.
So obviously you have to ensure your SEO is effective and updated. Probably half the people reading this have just gone back and re-read SEO and are still none the wiser (it’s ok, I did it on purpose, and I didn't know until fairly recently either!) Search Engine Optimisation is, in simple terms, the art of getting your website to work better with the search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing by using relevant keywords and key phrases that appear naturally in your website content. Effective SEO can make a huge difference to the amount of traffic driven to your site via the search engines.
Blogging can be a great website addition. Firstly, you are contributing to and updating your website's SEO. Blog posts can take various forms; they need to be of some benefit or value to your target audience, not just company news but industry updates, relevant local information, product development etc. By providing a comment box for your readers you are opening up a direct line of communication between you and your customer.
Facebook. The idea that Facebook is a teenage network, suitable only for posting dodgy photographs, arranging wild parties and 'poking' each other is now wildly out of date. Facebook currently has over 900 million active users – over 30 million in the UK – and a significant proportion of these are businesses. Facebook is highly cost efficient and far more personal than many other marketing mediums and is an excellent platform for reaching current, new and potential clients.
Likewise, Twitter hosts over 250 million tweets daily. Though slower to take off than Facebook, it has gathered pace significantly in the last couple of years, with the help of celebrities, high profile sports and media personalities and politicians tweeting prolifically alongside ‘Joe Public’. Companies have cottoned on to the benefits of a Twitter account. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so are quickly read and updates can link directly to your website, generating leads, traffic and orders.
For networking and B2B opportunities LinkedIn has over 135 million professional users. Company profiles allow businesses to connect with each other and with individuals, giving networking and recruitment opportunities. There is also the potential to connect with others in similar or complementary industry by joining group memberships.
Whichever form of internet marketing you plump for, presenting a strong, consistent brand image is vital. Now you may think that branding is only for large, multinational companies, but even the one man band can use branding techniques with great rewards. A brand is a constant, unique business identity that will create a positive, recognisable and memorable perception of your company. Good branding can promote customer loyalty, and project an image of quality. Research has shown that if you present two identical products to a consumer, one branded and one not, they will automatically assume the branded product is of higher quality. If you offer multiple products or services, you can put your brand name on all of them, more often than not meaning that the customer whose house you quickly and efficiently rewired is more likely to come to you when it sees a familiar brand on the burglar alarm service.
Establishing your company on the internet allows your business to develop its online presence and reach towards potential customers, giving you the opportunity to boost sales and business.
I wouldn’t blame you if you thought this all sounds a little scary. Fortunately thebestof Southend can count amongst its members some of the most experienced and creative businesses, experts in their field and ready to come to your aid!
Revive Digital Media of Southend provides a first class web design service to businesses of all sizes, developing unique websites designed to maximise your audience and subsequently your customer base. With a comprehensive knowledge of Search Engine Optimisation they know exactly what is required to ensure your website is easily found on Google and other well known search engines.
Thompson Social Media Management will work with you to design an effective social media marketing strategy. Their expertise in Social Media can transform the way you do business, and enable you to take advantage of the opportunities available through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Offering a set up and consolidation service they can either take care of everything for you, or offer full training to enable you to confidently control your own social media strategy.
Emily Hewett is a designer who provides creative and impactful design solutions for both print and web. Based in Southend i am emily offers creative marketing solutions for businesses large and small, new or established. Branding and logo design, website and online solutions, banners, brochures or billboards, i am emily will make it work for your company. And right now through our Offers page you can get Logo design and business card design for only £200!! - a massive saving of £150!! A variety of logos will be provided to choose from and then implemented into a business card design! If you're just starting out or need to revitalise your existing brand, Emily is the person to turn to.
And of course thebestof Southend is here promoting and supporting local businesses all the way. A link to us could be a link to you; if you're not already listed in our business pages, go to our Contact Us page where you will find details of the many ways we can help promote your business.