The 3 Online Marketing Essentials for Small Businesses

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I’m preparing for an interview to be on The Browser, a Salt Lake tech radio TV show, and they’ve asked what this crazy shift to mobile means for business owners. The shift to mobile means business owners have more marketing essentials to care about than ever before. To get started, here are what I’m calling “The 3 Be’s.”

Be Discoverable

In order to be a small business, there is a basic set of things that you just have to have:

  • A mobile first website
  • Claimed business listings
  • Social media presence

Without these 3 things, you could be leaving your customers angry and confused. If they want to find your business but you haven’t taken the time to make sure you have good business listings, their phone could direct them to the wrong address or a bad phone number. Your customer’s won’t have any patience for shoddy online presence. They’ll just go with a competitor that has it figured out.

Why go mobile first? In case you missed our infographic, check it out, I’ll wait because it’ll blow your mind. Ok, you back? The crazy thing about all those stats is that they’re 3 years old. In 2010, it was crazy to think that you wouldn’t be ready for the mobile web; in 2013, it’s leaving customers unhappy.

Be Sharable

Content marketing has become the standard way to connect with new customers. The easiest way to approach this for business owners is to be a storyteller. Tell your business’s story. If you’re lost, then start by making a list of the questions your customers ask all the time. If you’re a dry waller and people keep asking you how long it takes to dry wall a room, then there’s an opportunity for you to write some killer content that’s going to answer the question. The result is much bigger than learning how to answer questions better; all that content on your website is going to help you show up for more searches and bring in more customers. Make it engaging, and when you’re done, ask the question, “Would I share this on Facebook?” If the answer is no, then it needs to be improved until you would feel great about sharing it.

Be Charming

The Internet has made the successes and failures of businesses a much more public affair. If you’re charming, if you really take care of your customers, they’ll talk about it. This means training employees to spot edge cases (things that don’t happen that often), and teach them to go above and beyond to make sure customers are happy.

This can be as simple as spending a few extra minutes to walk a customer through a question, forgiving some fees, or carrying something to their car for them. At OrangeSoda, we’ve had great fun surprising fans with free t-shirts, hand written notes, and even original artwork. One of our account manager’s recently went above and beyond for a client, and the response was amazing. The client actually sent a gift basket!

The flip side of being charming means helping customers when they’re not happy with you. Always respond to negative reviews. A recent study found that responding to negative reviews is huge. When business owners take the time, 33% of negative reviews become positive reviews, and 34% of negative reviews are deleted by the poster. The bonus of this is that if you’re listening to and engaging with your customers, then you’re going to learn how to improve your business in a meaningful way.

Goto, and be successful!