Is your business a one-person show? 2 people? 5 people? Then you are probably operating what we call a VSB (very small business). Whether your business is a start-up, growing, or just operating on a scale that you are comfortable with, you need to market your products or services. That means that your business needs to be visible online.
Of course, if you are a one, two or three person shop, then you are very busy running your business and your digital brand is constantly pushed to the back-burner because you have no idea where to start. The other problem you probably run into is a tight budget or no budget. Luckily you don't have to have a million dollar budget to make your brand visible online but where should you start?
Your website is the center of your marketing world, even your printed material should be directing people to your website because it is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. As the center of your marketing hub, you want your website to reflect the quality of your business.
You will want your website to be mobile-friendly because more and more people are searching on mobile devices. You'll also want it be built on a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, which allows you to add or change the content on your website easily. In addition to WordPress, there are many other open-source or free tools that make it easier to build a website for your business. While these tools are available for little to no cost, many websites that are built with free tools look just that way, like your nephew built it for free. This may not be the image you are looking to convey about your business.
Check out CharmLab's VSB program to have a professional website built for your business.
Your website should be the hub of your internet marketing engine and social media is the spokes that connect your business to your loyal customers and also prospects and leads. There are litlerally thousands of social media sites to choose from, which are the best for you to focus on:
- Facebook - The largest social media site, it offers a great way to connect with customers. Beware though, many people who like your page won't see your posts unless you "promote" them. This is usually a reasonable fee but it can add up.
- LinkedIn - More than just for job seekers anymore. Professionals used LinkedIn to connect to others in their industry and prospects, gain knowledge and share accomplishments. Great for B-to-B businesses.
- Twitter - 140 characters or less, Twitter is less personal than Facebook and less professional than LinkedIn but it is a great way for your business to be found. Don't forget to use #hashtags.
- Google - With the demise of Google+, it is technically not a social media site but it is really important to claim your GoogleMyBusiness listing, which will help you get found in local search results and helps your SEO
- YouTube & Vimeo - Videos are a great way of getting your message across. If you able to make videos for your business, these platforms are a great way to get them online for people to find. FYI, Google owns YouTube so your videos will help your business ranking.
- Pinterest & Tumblr - A picture is worth a thousand words. These picture hosting sites are not for every business but are a perfect match for others.
Communicating with your customers and prospective customers is very important. You want them to know about special events or sales or new products. With online email marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp, you can keep in touch with all of your customers and prospects with one email. These solutions do come with a affordable monthly subscription based on your list size. So, as your business and your contact list grows, so does the monthly fee.
These three action areas will give your business a solid foundation to attract new business and delight your customers. But these are just the starting point, you need to keep the lines of communication open by updating your website, posting to social media, blogging and sending out regular emails with specials...CharmLab has always been dedicated to helping start-ups and small businesses in NH. We understand that very small businesses (VSBs) and start-ups need great websites, social media, and a digital presence to succeed but don’t always have the budget for it. Therefore we have launched our VSB program, which offers a mobile responsive website and digital marketing at a budget that most start-ups and very small businesses can afford.