Small businesses are exciting and creative ventures which still have a sense of personality about them. Starting your own small business is often a way to realize your vision, but at the same time it can be quite a daunting task. Not only are you starting from scratch, but you also want your small business to look credible. Nowadays, most of us expect any serious business to have a website; a point of contact on the internet is vital to many of today’s customers. However, one challenge is that small business owners usually don’t have the same budget for marketing and advertising as large corporations do, so they need to be clever on how to let the world know that they have arrived. In this post we’ll look at how a website could literally be the key to open the door to your market.
So why is a website so essential to your business?
So as we mentioned above, not all of us have the budget to physically hire premises to open a shop or office. It is much more economical to launch a website, whether it is an online shop or an informative website outlining your products or services. With a website, your running costs are the web hosting monthly fees plus a one-off fee for a professional template. You can run your business from your home, avoid travel costs, and there is no huge initial investment, other than your product(s). Many websites avoid this upfront cost too by waiting to accumulate a certain number of orders, and then producing the product. Once your business starts rolling you can then think about adding a physical location.
Hosting a website is relatively economical, so once you’ve set it all up you need to be clever about using your resources to show everyone your business exists. Here is a list of tricks and ideas on how to get your website seen:
- If your business is local, advertise it!
Local businesses have a massive appeal to the sense of community – your potential customers are just waiting to hear about what their area has to offer. Register your business (website) with all the directories, whether online or physical. This way, with some good SEO you can start being found through local searches online.
- Do things the old fashioned way
Still focusing on the local aspect, why not print a set of introductory flyers and place them in the letterboxes of your surrounding area? For example, you could promote a special offer if it is a gardening service you are selling, such as a free consultation and a 20% discount on the first job. People will start looking at your website and the search engines will see that traffic is starting to flow in.
- Do some local PR
Why not contact local papers and magazines, asking to be interviewed? This is a great opportunity to tell your story to your local audience, and isn’t likely to cost you a cent. Magazines are always looking for great content, so don’t be shy! Radio stations are another media to target.
- Be social
Social media, whether you are a fan or not, is a massive portal to the world. You can’t afford not to be present on major social media channels. Choose three of the big players and open accounts in your business’s name and start posting. You will need great photographs of your product or service in action, and think of funny and relevant material your customers will be interested in. Always remember to include a link to your website. On Facebook and Twitter it might be worth investing in some paid advertisement; you can boost your posts or even just promote your website. Follow relevant businesses and individuals and like their material too.
Once you have jumpstarted the traffic on your website and have a small budget for advertising, it may be worth running a Google AdWords campaign. This can be done in the form of pay per clicks (PPC) or banner ads. If you get your keywords and competition right, this can really help bring relevant traffic to your site.
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