Congratulations! You've decided to take your business online, now it's time to get about some marketing. We're assuming that you've got the basics: a website with your own URL, not built on anyone else's platform (i.e. Blogger, Wix, etc). You want to own your business, not have it exist at the whim of someone else.
Online marketing isn't a dark art reserved only for those wearing Black Hats and frequenting hacker forums. The slick SEO consultant who comes calling will be charging you a lot of money for a lot of things you can easily do yourself.
When you're starting out, you need to watch your money! Let's have a look at some first steps when it comes to starting to market your business online.
5 First steps to small business online marketing
Begin with a Blog – A blog is a great way to start building an online following for your small business. You can go a long way toward branding yourself and gaining the trust of people by being both available and knowledgeable.
Take social media seriously – We live in a world where social media rules the day. That's where the people are, and if choose to not be there, you'll soon be eclipsed by your competition.
Monitor your online reputation – Set up alerts so that you can be aware of and respond to any social or website mentions of you or your company. It's far easier to do this and catch something when it's a small spark before it ignites into a firestorm.
Start building a list from Day One – One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not begin building a list of leads from the beginning. Your list is your lifeline to a lasting and profitable business. Don't fail to start one!
Make use of online directories – Get your business listed in all the major online directories for small businesses, such as Yelp, Google My Business, Merchant Circle and others. One very important must-do on this is to be sure that your NAP info, (name, address, phone) is consistent over all of these sites. Make it easy for people to find you!