Effective Marketing Methods for Small Business Owners (Part II)

In part I of this series, we looked at three of the most effective offline business promotional methods. Here’s a look at four of the best ways to market your small business online:

Claim your Business Listings: Let’s start with the basics. It is a fact that over 60% of small businesses have not claimed the free listings on high traffic local directories such as Google Places, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages, SuperPages, and Foursquare. These are directories that millions of consumers are using every day to find businesses like yours. And when you have not claimed your listings, people searching these directories see nothing but your name, address, and phone number; no brand logo, no photos, no details about your business, no communication whatsoever from you to your prospective customers.

The end result is that most prospects see your (mostly blank) listing and move on to the next business. Clearly, if you fail to take the 2 or 3 hours necessary to claim your free listings and put in some information about your company, you are leaving money on the table.

Press Releases: One effective way to promote your business online is using press releases. You may believe that you have nothing newsworthy to talk about. But the reality is that virtually any business can come up with something they can write a press release about. Some examples may be an anniversary, the release of a new product or service, launching a new website, or just a special promotion.

The key to an effective press release is that it must read like a news story without overtly promoting your business. Within the story, include quotes from someone in the business. Within these quotes is where you do most of the selling. The rest of the article should be primarily informational.

Email Marketing: Emailing your customers on a regular basis is a great way to stay in contact and let them know about special offers or other things going on in your business. Make it a practice to send out emails on a regular basis (once a week or once every couple weeks is best) to disseminate useful information that your readers can benefit from.

Get Social: Popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter are used by over a billion consumers worldwide. A market this large is simply too big to ignore. It is important for small business owners to develop a social presence on these sites and interact with local consumers. This will keep your business in the front of their minds and help you build a positive online brand.

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