Are you struggling to make your first sale? Or increase the number of sales? Whether you are a newbie or an incumbent looking to expand your business, there is one simple rule: Your revenue is proportional to the number of people you reach who are interested in your products. The rule applies to every business, across industries. And there is simply no better way to reach people than through internet marketing.
The key to success is increasing the reach of your business.
The more, the merrier.
You might be a manufacturer of leather goods in Kanpur, a retailer selling furniture in Bareilly or an auto service provider in Jaisalmer. You just need more customers to grow.
But how do you do so?
India is a growing economy. With 860 million people of working age, India is one of the most attractive markets worldwide. With the boom in the internet penetration, more people are indulging in online shopping. The internet has broken all the physical barriers. People shop products from businesses that are miles away.
Online shopping among Indians increased by 83 percent in 2016.
This number is set to go up in the coming years, according to a report by PayPal and Ipsos.
The iron is already hot — you are just a strike away from your new customers. You just need to discover the way to get found by the potential buyers on the internet.
The answer is internet marketing. Internet marketing refers to any form of advertising on the web.
Find more customers with these internet marketing ideas
If you have a smartphone, you can promote your business online. Here are the top five strategies to try.
A website (if you don't already have one).
At least one active social media account.
Now let’s talk about each of these digital strategies in detail.
List of internet marketing ideas
Let us dive deeper to understand how internet marketing can get you more customers.
1. A website (if you don't already have one)
You cannot implement internet marketing if you don’t have an online presence. Having a website is the most direct way to get found on the internet (read this for instructions on building a website). It is also the most basic requirement for any business (big or small) these days.
On your website, you should mention all the necessary information about your business:
- Details about products or services
- Location and hours
- How to contact you
- The story of how your business began
- Links to your social profiles if any
Anything that can be crucial in the buyer’s decision-making process should be present on the business website. This includes customer reviews.
Customer reviews are an evolved form of word-of-mouth advertising.
They are the positive or negative comments left by actual users of your product or service. Reviews are a digital form of customer feedback, one that most people consider reliable. To potential customers, reviews are as convincing as personal recommendations.
Editor’s note: Website Builder from GoDaddy provides a template suitable to your industry, pre-built with all the most important sections. Simply customise the template to suit your business and publish your site. You can even add customer reviews.
2. Content marketing
People are continuously looking for information and help on the internet. Content marketing refers to the practice of publishing content that would-be customers consider useful or entertaining. It helps in building trust and establishing a relationship by educating the potential buyer and helps them make an informed decision.
Content marketing can take many forms such as:
By sharing helpful or entertaining content that’s relevant to your customers, you can catch the attention of potential buyers who are already looking for this information.
By linking all content back to your website, you bring customers to you.
Hence, with the help of content, you can increase your website visitors. It also helps you convert them into customers, as they perceive you as an authority. What’s more, it’s effective. Blogging for example can get you three times more leads than outbound marketing like pay-per-click ads.
3. At least one active social media account
With a good website and customer reviews, you can easily convert website visitors to customers. But only people who know about your existence would search for you on Google using your business name. You need traffic from various sources to increase the number of customers who find your business online.
Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp — you should have an active business account on at least one.
Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing. It involves creating and sharing content on social media networks to achieve your marketing and branding goals.
Choosing the right social media platform for your business depends highly on your customers. Study your target audience to learn the social sites where they hang out. Pick one and create content optimised for that network.
Know your audience
The key to effective social media marketing is understanding your customers.
Suppose you make beautiful leather bags and your target audience is females between 18 and 24 years of age. You might select Instagram as your social media channel, since 15 percent of global Instagram users in this age group are females. You can take high-resolution pictures of your bags and share them on Instagram. Be sure to include links back to your website.
On the other hand, if you are an auto service shop, your customers might like to understand basic maintenance through short videos. So you could create YouTube videos on how to handle minor automobile issues on your own. Your video can lead them to your website, where they can learn about your location and services.
4. Email communications
Sending regular emails to your customers (also called email marketing) is one of the most effective internet marketing strategies. It keeps your business top-of-mind among your customers. So the next time they need what you supply, they will naturally think of your business.
A list of customer emails is a real marketing asset for your business. It gives you access to people who already know and like you.
A significant advantage of email marketing over social media marketing is that you own the content and list of subscribers. Subscribers are the people who enrolled/agreed to receive information from you by voluntarily sharing their email address. That’s why people say “Money is in the list.”
For growing your email list, you can ask your customers to sign up with their email ids. This could be done in exchange for some reward programme or informational content such as a white paper.
Once you have built your list, the next step is creating email marketing campaigns. The objective of creating a campaign is to keep the subscribers engaged. Sending weekly newsletters or industry reports can help you engage your subscribers. An engaged community is more likely to react positively to your promotional offers and new product launches.
Editor’s note: Website Builder includes a built-in email marketing tool. You can add an email signup form to your website to start collecting email addresses with just a few clicks. The tool will automatically send emails you’ve created (when a visitor signs up, for example).
5. Pay-per-click advertising
With so many people using the internet to search for products and services, where your business appears in the search engine results matters — a great deal. Most people won’t look beyond the first page of search result, but appearing on the first page of Google results is difficult.
For people with the funds and the patience, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising works.
PPC ads are the ads you see at the top or on the side of the search results page. This online marketing strategy relies on services like Tyroo, Adadyn, adChakra and Google AdWords to promote a business.
With PPC ads, when a person tries to search a keyword related to your business in Google search box, your business advertisement appears in the top few search results. You pay a fee to the provider whenever someone clicks on your ad.
PPC advertising requires a budget and a willingness to wait a minimum of six months to see results. But it definitely works.
No business is too small
Regardless of the size of your business, use these internet marketing strategies to bring more customers to you. Remember, each one requires a consistent effort. So select one or two from this list, make a plan and stick to it. In time, your efforts will pay off in more leads and more sales.
Small businesses need to adapt to the changing business practices. By leveraging the online world in the right way, you can increase traffic to your business.