As a small business, the internet affords you many opportunities to increase sales and raise profitability and keep your business successful. There are many tactics to implement and these are cost-effective compared to offline tactics like direct mail, print advertising and so on.
So, to get started, here are some important internet marketing tactics for small businesses to implement:
Create a USP
A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is what sets your business apart from your competitors and is a benefit that is highly valued by target customers. The reason you need this is because competition on the web is at its highest for a wide range of industries – in both consumer and business sectors. So, you should build on your strengths and minimise your weaknesses and focus on building a competitive advantage that leads to greater profitability.
Consumers are also more tech savvy and will shop around to find bargains on a wide range of intermediaries like shopping comparison sites like Kelkoo and Shopzilla. This means you should focus on delivering quality that your competitors can’t match and that will convince target markets that your products or services offer greater value.
Also, competitors are only a few clicks away and your visitors will quickly leave your site if you don’t create a unique experience that keeps them engaged.
Boost ‘word of mouse’
It’s not enough that your business can satisfy customer needs and prevent them from defecting to competitors. You should look to extend the relationship that you have with them and turn them into advocates. The web facilitates this easily and using channels like social media and blogs, your top customers can be ambassadors for your brand and bring new customers to your website through ‘word of mouse’.
Also, encouraging your most valuable customers (MVC) to write positive reviews that highlight the quality products and service you provide will help to increase customer acquisition online. You should consider partnering with review sites like Feefo that help you collect reviews from your customers. So if you run Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns for example, you will show these reviews with your ads – and this is possible because Feefo, Trustpilot and others are Google partners and provide review data to their PPC platform, Adwords.
Cross-sell and Up-sell
Cross-selling is about promoting related products or services that your customers will likely be interested in. This help to increase share of customer and increases your profitability with existing customers and reduces defection too. Email marketing is effective at cross-selling to an existing email list or database and the conversion rates are usually higher than for new visitors because a relationship exists already and trust has been built.
Up-selling is about encouraging customers to upgrade to a premium version of your product and this is evident in all kinds of industries – and an example is a software company like Symantec encouraging you to upgrade from antivirus software to their full total security. Email is effective here too and customers can be contacted at specific times through automated messages encouraging customers to upgrade or update.
Amazon.com is a champion of mass customisation and their strategies can be implemented on any website. Mass customisation is promoting products to specific market segments that they are likely to be interested in based on other customers in that segment. An example is showing a visitor to a category on your website, products that other people have purchased in that category. These will be popular products that many other visitors have shown interest in and are likely to be of benefit to new visitors and customers.
It differs from online personalisation in that with personalisation, customers receive recommendations based on their past purchases, or products they’ve bookmarked and this will often be emailed to existing customers.
Implementing these tactics will help your business to increase its customer base and boost customer retention. There are many online tools and channels to help you achieve this and I recommend planning your strategy with a digital marketing strategy template.