Grassroots Internet Marketing for Small Business

If you have a small business, then it can seem like an impossible task to take on the corporate giants when it comes to internet marketing.  But, with a bit of creativity, you can easily make a presence for yourself online without having to spend too much of your time or money.  Here are some key tips to grassroots internet marketing for small businesses.

Why are you building a website?

If you already have an established small business, you need to think carefully about why you are making a website.  Do you want to use the website to expand your business, such as by taking online orders and delivering?  Or do you want to expand your in-store sales by posting information about sales?  Do you want to increase sales by offering special promotion codes available online only?  Is your goal to increase brand awareness?  Or maybe you simply tired of people calling to ask when you are open and want to post your hours online…

Don’t just build a website for your small business because it is the trendy thing to do.  Make sure your website has a clear purpose which fits your business model and expansion plans.

Know your customers

Big companies like Starbucks or Volkswagen try to appeal to a large demographic. That is, after all, how they became worldwide brands.  If you try to appeal to everyone, then your internet marketing campaign will just get swallowed up by the mega brands.  Instead, you should focus on a small, specific demographic.  To do this successfully, you must know your customers!  For example, let’s say that you own a small coffee shop in Philadelphia where the students from the nearby art school visit frequently.  You will want to play up the coffee shop-art angle as much as possible.

Give Website Visitors are Reason to Come Back

Why would anyone want to visit your website?  They probably aren’t going to come just to admire the fantastic web design that you paid an arm and a leg for!  You have to give visitors an incentive to come to your website and then to regularly return.  This should tie into your original reason for launching a website for your existing business as well as your target demographics.  For example, if you have that Philly coffee shop where art students hang out, you can start a bi-weekly online exhibition where you showcase the works of a student. For instance, students at Success Path Education are encourage to post reviews at the Success Path BBB (Better Business Bureau) site.

Focus on Social Networking, Not Search Engine Rankings

With small businesses, a lot of your traffic is probably going to come from people directly looking for your website – not because they happened on your website through a search.  That is why it is so important to promote yourself by word of mouth.  Social networks are the ideal way to do this.  Make a stunning Facebook page and get started on Twitter.  Post information, such as the sales, new products, or just fun news so people will actually want to visit your social network pages and “like” you publically.