The complete guide to marketing your business online

The rise of digital has made marketing your business easier and more cost-effective than ever before. Armed with nothing more than a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, you have everything you need to promote your business online. 

But it's easy to be overwhelmed by online marketing. Navigating the pitfalls while keeping your efforts in-line with business plans can put many people off getting started. 

However, with a potential audience of 4.5 billion people, it's worth investing your time in learning about online marketing. 

To help, we've put together this all-encompassing guide to get you informed. Read it, digest it, and get your small business growing.

Embrace social media

It's no secret that social media has become a valuable marketing channel for businesses. The simple act of setting up a profile and joining the conversation can be enough to get extra exposure for your company. 

You should have a planned approach for each social media platform, though. Here is a summary of how to tackle the major social media channels:

LinkedIn

Known as the go-to social platform for business, LinkedIn is extremely valuable for networking and advice from industry thought leaders. You'll build a strong following by sharing your ideas, relevant articles and industry views. Plus, be sure to write and publish your own articles regularly for an engaging feed. Concentrate on having plenty of information in your profile and posting at least three times a week. 

It's worth noting, though, that LinkedIn is much more useful for building your personal brand than that of your business. Of course, having a strong personal brand will, in turn, help your company—so it's worth investing time on the platform.

Twitter

Although it often gets bad press as a channel full of arguments and complaints, Twitter is a great place to build a community. Gathering an audience can take a while—you'll need to consistently post at least once a day, and paying to promote tweets isn't usually good value for money. 

That said, you'll find a broad audience for your business if you're willing to put in the time and effort. 

Facebook

With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, a Facebook presence is crucial for any brand. Unfortunately, Facebook has monetised its channel by making brands pay to get their content seen. 

So, in short, if you want to get the most out of Facebook for your business, you'll need to pay.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, and it deserves your attention. Its highly visual format means you can showcase products easily and enticingly. Be aware, though, that Facebook owns Instagram, so you'll probably need to invest in your profile to see significant growth.

Build a great blog

Blogging is not quite as fashionable as it was a few years ago, but it remains a powerful way for you to promote your business and the cornerstone of any content marketing strategy. Not only does it allow you to elevate your expertise and products, but it's also a great way to get more people to visit your website or social channels.

The first thing you'll need to do when creating a blog is to find a place to house it. You might have a dedicated blog section of your website, or you could choose an external blogging platform such as Medium. Whichever route you take, it's essential to stick to one publishing method. Switching between channels will dilute the potential power of your posts.

Once you've got your platform sorted, it's time to build a schedule. This can be as simple as a calendar app containing the titles for any upcoming blog posts. Whenever you come up with a new title, note it down and add it to the schedule. Before you know it, you'll have a year's worth of content ideas ready to be written. 

Remember to post regularly. Once a week is ideal, but even a blog every month will have a positive effect on your business. And don't forget to promote your posts on social media, too.

Struggling for titles? Here are five prompts that should kickstart some inspiration for you: 

  1. How did you make your [insert product or service] dream into reality?
  2. What are ten office hacks that have made our business more productive?
  3. What does the future of [insert product or service] look like in the UK?
  4. What can you learn from the morning routines of these five iconic entrepreneurs? 
  5. According to your CEO, what is daily life like as a business owner?

Then all that’s left is to start creating content. 

Start an email newsletter

Email is often ignored by business owners, due to a misconception that it’s an expensive and complicated way to market a product or service. But this couldn't be further from the truth. When done well, email is a highly effective way to grow your business. 

Before starting your journey into email marketing, you'll need to put together a strategy. This doesn't need to be anything fancy, just be sure to have in mind what you want to get out of your email efforts, whether that's engaging an audience with great content, promoting products, or demonstrating sector expertise with industry insight. 

Of course, you'll need to build an audience for your emails. While some people advocate buying email addresses, we would never recommend this strategy. Instead, request that customers opt-in to emails when making a purchase, and include an email sign-up form on your website. This is the most surefire way to build an email list of people who are actually interested in what you have to say. 

Once you've got a strategy and an audience, it's time to send out your email. Luckily, the last few years have seen a rise in email platforms to help entrepreneurs to handle this in-house. Two of the big players are Mailchimp and sendinblue. Both offer tons of functionality, with different price packages to suit any budget. 

Also, please be sure to pay close attention to your subject line copy. Research shows a short and engaging subject line can increase the number of people who open your email and engage with your brand.

Finally, remember to sign up to other mailing lists to see how the best in your industry are doing it. To get you started, we'd recommend the outdoor retailer Huckberry and the author Tim Ferris as two shining examples of just how good email can be. 

Optimise your website for search

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the craft of refining the content of your website to get it ranking at the top of search results for certain words or phrases. 

For a long time, SEO meant little more than carrying out 'keyword stuffing', a practice whereby words or short phrases are repeated numerous times on a webpage to get ranked by Google. 

Fortunately, those days have passed. Today, SEO focuses on highlighting quality content that helps users answer the queries they have. So, in short, make sure that your website is full of interesting, useful information and Google will favour you when it comes to search. 

That said, there are some products that can help you. If you want to find out some in-depth research on the kind of queries your potential customers are searching for, a tool such as 

Answer The Public is incredibly powerful.

If you want to dig into how your site is performing in search results, try the Google Search Console. It's straightforward to use, and you'll get lots of insight about how your website is doing—and what could help it perform better.

Build trust with customer reviews

There was a time that word-of-mouth was the only way for people to share their opinions on products or services. Today, though, online user reviews have transformed the power that individuals have to promote brands they hold in high esteem. 

Whether you're a restaurant looking to hit the top spot on Tripadvisor or a mechanic wanting to elevate your business through Yelp, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your ratings. 

Firstly (and most obviously) make sure you're excelling at customer service in the workplace. A single one-star review can decimate your digital customer review average for a long time to come. 

Secondly, remember to ask customers to leave a review on your chosen site. Don't hound them, but a gentle reminder can work wonders. If you provide physical receipts for your work, it could be a nice touch to add a 'please leave us a review' card stapled to the receipt itself. 

Don't be tempted to pay for positive reviews. Not only are you painting a false picture of your business, but you also risk getting banned from the customer review platforms altogether.

Harness the power of digital video

Since the rise of the smartphone, video has become an ever more popular form of content. Now, with social media platforms such as TikTok showing just how viral video content can be, it's time to implement it into your digital marketing strategy. 

Many brands are scared off video due to concerns about cost and quality, but they shouldn’t be. The most important thing is to produce regular, entertaining, high quality and informative content for your customers. 

If you're struggling to think of videos you can produce that are easy to record and quick to put together, here are four ideas to get you started:

  1. An unboxing video of your latest product
  2. An update from the CEO on the latest innovations in your business and the wider industry
  3. Fortnightly 'meet the team' videos, where an employee talks about their role within the business
  4. A video diary following the build-up and launch of a new service or product offered by your business

Marketing of any form requires commitment, time, and strategic thinking. But, if you implement the methods we've discussed here, you can take advantage of the online landscape to build your business in a robust and resilient way.

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.

Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.