Top 5 Online Marketing tips for Small Businesses

September 11th, 2009 by

As a small business owner marketing is one of those things you can do to increase sales, revenue and even customer retention. Online marketing in particular is fast gaining popularity amongst marketers and small businesses. This is probably because unlike traditional marketing strategies (i.e. Radio, Direct Mail, TV, Outdoor, Trade Shows), online marketing strategies are more cost effective, environmentally friendly, and are very easy once you get your head round it.

I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 online marketing strategies which I think are a must. Not only have they been proven to boost sales, but I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy implementing them as well. 🙂

5. Email Marketing
4. Affiliate Marketing
3. Search Marketing
2. Social Marketing
1. Website

5. Email Marketing

At number 5 I have one of my favourites – Email Marketing. Well, I’m sure I don’t need to explain what emails are; if you’re reading this blog post then you probably know a few things about the internet already. 😉 Email marketing can be likened to the traditional direct mail (numerous letters you get from your bank in the post), but you can do so much more with emails. Email marketing helps you communicate effectively with your customers for little or no cost at all.

As a small business owner, customer retention is very important to you and one of the ways you can do this is by being in the forefront of your customers mind so they don’t get blown away by your competitors. What better way to do this than via emails? Bear in mind that most people check their emails everyday.

So you might be wondering, right what do I say on the emails? I say – Loads!

1) Send your customers confirmation emails. If a customer makes an order, why not send them an email to tell them when their order will arrive, or that payment has been successfully processed? It’ll save your customers time contacting you to get this information, and they’ll appreciate your effort.

2) Send regular newsletters, an email newsletter will help you build up on your relationship with your customers. Newsletters are not just offers and news about your company, send your customers information they will find useful so that they look forward to reading your emails.
You can send them relevant tips and information. For example I receive regular newsletters from organic fruit and veg company Abel & Cole; they send me recipes, tips on healthy eating, and even information on seasonal fruits and vegetables.

3) How about sending an e-brochure? Instead of spending hundreds and possibly thousands of pounds on print brochures that might get chucked in the bin, why not send an email with images and descriptions of your new products and services? You could even include special offers as an incentive for customers to buy.
You’ll save yourself a whole load of cash, and even better your customers will get the email in real time, let the sales begin!

4) Changed your address, phone number or launched a new website? Drop your customers an email to inform them of these changes. It’s much better than hoping they’ll make the effort to get this information if you don’t send it to them.

You can generally send two types of emails – HTML and Text. HTML emails are the fancy emails you get in your inbox with images, colours and sometimes even links to videos. Text emails are the bland emails you can send via hotmail, yahoo, Gmail.

There are companies out there that’ll allow you to send out HTML emails through them for free, a good example is MailChimp. MailChimp will provide you with free email templates, so you don’t have to be a designer or a techie to create a great looking HTML email. They also allow you to send HTML emails to 500 subscribers up to 3,000 times a month, all for free.

Can’t be bothered with sending an HTML email? A text email is just as effective, the most important thing is you are in touch with your customers.

Before you start sending emails to your customers, make sure you get their permission first; otherwise you will be spamming them. Also make sure you allow them to unsubscribe from the emails if they wish. Also, there are some legal stuff you need to be aware of before you start your email marketing campaigns.

Well that’s me finished rambling. I hope you have fun trying this out, and please feel free to post any questions if you have one.

If you enjoyed this, check back next week Friday for my blog post on Affiliate Marketing. 🙂

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Top 5 Online Marketing tips for Small Businesses cont’d – Affiliate Marketing

9 Comments

Engraved plaques
# 2nd October, 2009

Such a useful and insightful blogwow !!!!

Brian Lee
# 14th October, 2009

I have just sent out my first e newsletter, and was disappointed not to get any kind of response. Perhaps people read it, but dd not see anything that grabbed them too much. I run an agency that provides musicians for events, and it’s hard to know what to offer in terms of advice. I want people to get interested, and I’ve written things in my blog that I thought might do that – but it’s hard to know how to start a dialogue – which is ironic, because I love talking to people, and language in general…help!

Natural Ways To Health
# 14th October, 2009

Affiliates is also a great way to make an extra income. Your ideas are also an inspiration. thanks

http://www.all-about.tv/
# 4th November, 2009

Good article, I wil post a link from my website to your blog 🙂

Men's Citizen Watches
# 22nd December, 2009

Great write up – five stars. I bookmarked this page.

Zoe
# 14th January, 2010

Hi Brian,

A good idea is to read through your newsletter before you send it out (just in case you didn’t). If you find it engaging and useful, then it is likely your users will feel the same way and vice versa. You could also get a friend or colleague to read through the email for you. They’ll tell you exactly what they think, and you could learn a thing or two from them which could improve your email content.

Another way to ensure you’re sending emails people want to read is to run a survey asking your customers or readers what they’ll like you to send them… maybe offers, updates on their account, tips, industry news? Let them tell you what they are interested in reading and you won’t go wrong.

I hope this helps.

Zoe

Beverley Hall
# 1st February, 2010

I finally used my client database to email that I had kept my prices at 2009 rates … the phone rang, emails came in and I suddenly realised that it is simply the act of keeping people in the loop that makes electronic marketing work so well.

Thanks for a really good article, very informative.

Bev 🙂

Brian Lee
# 24th February, 2010

Hi Zoe,
Thanks for your comments – good point about reading. I suppose one of the things is that people often use my services just once – for their big wedding day. So sometimes keeping them informed after that seems a bit unfair. We all get so many e mails all the time, there’s barely enough hours in the day to keep up with the amount of info. No harm in trying though.

farouk
# 2nd January, 2011

thank u for the tips :))

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