Big Ideas for Small Businesses: How to Expand your Online Presence Like a Pro

Big Ideas for Small Businesses: How to Expand your Online Presence Like a Pro

Creative marketing techniques were previously available to large organizations only, mainly because their implementation required investing a small fortune. Today, a single, jaw-dropping figure can change it all. Namely, 97% of global consumers search the web before making a purchase, meaning that even small businesses can gain global exposure, simply by being present online.

Of course, there’s nothing simple about actually reaching relevant positions online, but this is one of the essential steps towards ensuring a stable future of your business.

Even if you are dealing with clingy budgeting or insufficient experience, there are numerous tactics that can ensure your small business has long and prosperous life. Most importantly, these strategies can even help you turn your local business into a global brand with minimum costs.

In other words, to go big, you need to think big and not necessarily in terms of budget. Remember, regardless of the actual size of your business and your marketing budget, great ideas can change how customers see your product or service.

Think locally, brand globally: Coca-Cola’s insights

Learning how to expand globally from Coca-Cola

Several decades ago, it was practically impossible for small businesses to have their voice widely heard. Today, with the rise of the global village, this has changed a lot. By being present online, you are actually taking your local brand to a much wider, local market. Clearly, you still need to know exactly who your audience is and how to appeal to their most immediate needs, but practically no small business needs to limit itself to a single region.

The perfect example of how the sole nature of branding strategies has changed is Coca-Cola’s survey that selected Australia as the test market for the first non-Coca-Cola drink. The entire idea behind this was to test the new product on the local market. However, the experiment proved to become a great hit and encouraged many people who weren’t from Australia to participate. After all, if it wasn’t the corporation’s initial intention, the strategy clearly failed its purpose.

The Coca-Cola experiment thus proves that if you go wrong initially, your whole strategy can fail. The same goes for your plan on digital expansion whose pillars need to be defined right at the start:

  • Getting to know your target demographic
  •  Keeping in touch with your customers via social networks in order to find what they like and what not about your brand
  • Regularly measuring ROI from social activities

The first step towards employing a digital branding strategy is to make it work for you from the very beginning. What you need to keep in mind is that, with the exposure to the virtual world to such an extent, there are no clear boundaries between your local and global branding plan.

Take Pearse Trust, for example. This independent Irish advisor on corporate and trust structures is just one of numerous examples that prove how powerful branding strategies can be when employed with a plan.  Namely, the company built a strong lead generation program that helped it skyrocket from a small-scale business to an internationally recognized brand. By using landing pages and call to actions in their online channels, they managed to track their campaigns, adjust to their customers, as well as execute new online projects on subjects their potential clients might be interested in.

Just having a website is not enough. You need to make it valuable, too.

Just being online is not enough, you have to make your presence valuable too.

Launching a website is just a beginning of a more comprehensive online strategy. You need to make it searchable and shareable, which requires a great deal of research, time and creativity. Furthermore, the mere presence on social networks can hardly bring any traffic to your website unless you have something relevant to share.  This is why you need to think in terms of building a long-run reputation by consistently providing something valuable to your users – content, giveaways, promotions all need to have a strategic focus.

However, not even this is necessarily enough if you don’t have a plan how to achieve it. You need to understand specific rules of content sharing, keep developing insightful graphics and engage in as many communications as possible.

Personalize, optimize and analyze in order to be noticed

Those who started small businesses several years ago can consider themselves extremely lucky. All they need to do is to get technologically savvy and the millions of options will be at their fingertips.

With a wide range of effective optimization tools, exploring digital arena and expanding your online presence has never been simpler. Here are some aspects you should keep in mind:

1) Power your site with WordPress

Lately, WordPress and its CMS alternatives have become critical for small businesses. Moreover, WordPress is used by the majority of small business websites in the United States. Being free, SEO-friendly, web-based and expandable, it provides you with the opportunity to create, personalize and design your website on a shoestring budget. Here are several WordPress essentials:

Pick a domain name. Your domain name stands for your brand and everything you offer to your customers. For this reason, you need to keep it short, simple and effective, preferably with a catchy domain.

Sign up for WordPress hosting. Since WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, there’s a huge demand for the best WordPress hosting.  Although there are millions of hosting providers, only small number of them meets all WordPress requirements. Remember, your WordPress site needs to be cost-effective, as well as able to serve millions of pages per day and scale out dynamically.

Install WordPress. Although there are dozens of WordPress alternatives, it has rightfully become the obvious choice among small businesses. Namely, it simplifies your content management and optimization activities, giving you the opportunity to better relocate your resources.

Choose a Small Business Theme. WordPress offers 10,000 themes for small businesses, helping them virtually give any sort of website a boost. Furthermore, all the themes are developed and sorted out in accordance with a particular niche. For example, if you own a restaurant, enter keywords in the ThemeForest and numerous options will be offered to you.

Fill your website with quality content. Always keep in mind that content is still king and that its quality directly influences your website traffic and customer conversion.

2) The truth about your audience you can learn from Facebook and Twitter analytics

You don’t have to be an experienced marketer to understand how important social networks are for your online presence. In fact, everyone knows about it today. However, what’s really beautiful about your exposure on these online channels is that you can measure almost everything.

By tracking your social media ROI, you are ensuring that your marketing efforts are really working. This is exactly why numerous social media analytics tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Analytics can help you understand your brand’s performance and competitive position, measure your customer service efforts, as well as track your activity in context of other social networks.

3) Optimize your site for mobile devices

If you still haven’t optimized your website for mobile devices, it’s about time for you to do so. According to the latest studies, approximately the half of mobile traffic comes through a mobile device. This is the main reason why mobile marketing has become the most powerful tool for getting more traffic, boosting brand engagement, increasing conversions and reducing bounce rate.

Although you should always dream big, there is nothing wrong with starting small. Keeping all these aspects in mind, you will be aware of all potential roadblocks for your small business, as well as find the best strategies to turn it into a large, international brand.

Author:

Sarah Green

Sarah Green explores the latest web trends and covers stories related to technology, startups and digital life in general. Writing professionally since 2012, she has developed a sixth sense for trending topics in these fields.

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