Stand Out This Holiday Season With Cost-Effective Digital Marketing Techniques
Small businesses everywhere are in pursuit of attracting new customers and building brand loyalty this holiday season. And as the global pandemic continues to change the way business is conducted across industries, a great number of small companies are forced to do more with less.
Many small businesses don’t have a dedicated marketing team to promote their products and services and generate new leads, and some don’t have any marketing functions going on in-house at all. Sure, it’s not ideal, but there are still a few budget-friendly ways small businesses can stand out in the fight for holiday season revenue.
Your Site Says it All
Regardless of industry, every business needs a website. In fact, 92 percent of business owners believe that having a website is the single most important asset for digital marketing. Of course, having a website is the first step, but you also have to make sure it’s updated with the latest product and service information, offers easily findable contact information, and ranks well in search engine results pages. That seems simple enough, but oftentimes a small business website just sits for months or even years and collects dust, providing little to no information on what a potential customer is looking for. That’s a real problem because 81 percent of shoppers do research online before making a buying decision. If your site isn’t delivering what they want, they’ll find someplace else to go.
Into the Great Wide Open
With your website serving as your digital headquarters, it’s time to think about how your business appears across the web. Rankings were mentioned earlier, and of course it’s critical to appear near the top of Google search results, but it goes beyond that. If you don’t already have a Google My Business (GMB) profile, you need one. Having a GMB presence allows you to manage how your business appears on Google and provides location/map information, a direct link to your website, and contact information.
And speaking of contact information, you want that to be consistent anywhere a consumer can find your business. For example, say a business has moved to a new location, but its website or listing on various directory sites still has the old address, that’s going to create some confusion. It’s not glamorous, but ensuring your phone numbers, email addresses, and physical location listings are in good order across the web is of utmost importance.
What’s the Good Word?
Another tactic that doesn’t cost anything is to ask your customers for reviews. The truth is, consumers want to hear from other people about their experience with a business, and letting your customers do the talking for you is a great way to build credibility and expand your reach, especially if you take advantage of generating reviews on not only your website, but on Google, Yelp, UpCity, and other review platforms as well.
The Social Surge
Make use of social media channels to get your message out and engage with potential customers. Organic social media still resonates with consumers and it’s another cost-effective way to shine a spotlight on your business. And it works! Seventy-four percent of consumers use social media to guide buying decisions, and those who engage with a business through social channels spend upwards of 40 percent more with that company over the life of the relationship.
A Little Elbow Grease
All of the activities above can be done relatively quickly and don’t chew up a lot of resources. It takes some good old-fashioned hard work to get everything set up. If you need a little help, you can always partner with an experienced web design agency. Making sure your business can be found across the web and through social media is a tried-and-true way to attract new customers and stand out among the competition. Taking the time to bolster your online presence with clear, consistent information your potential customers are looking for will put you on the right track for a holiday season that brings home the positive results you’re after.
Heidi Sullivan is senior vice president of product and marketing for UpCity, a company that creates and empowers successful relationships between businesses and service providers.
Heidi Sullivan is senior vice president of product and marketing for UpCity. Prior to that she spent 13 years in various executive roles at Cision, including as SVP, Product and Managing Director, Canada. She was named as The Hub’s Individual Influencer of the Year in 2014, one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in 2012 and was host of the podcast Influence Pros on Convince & Convert. Heidi is a born and bred Chicagoan, mom, animal lover, and ukulele player.