The internet offers small business owners an amazing opportunity to grow and flourish.
The best part?
Making a big splash online is entirely possible even for businesses running on shoestring budgets.
Learn the nuts and bolts of internet marketing, figure out your content marketing strategy, and implement it consistently — always with the aim of being helpful to your readers.
That’s it? Well, there is more.
There’s entertaining your audience, making it worthwhile for them to stop by and hang out on your blog. And yes, take care to establish the voice of your brand. Don’t forget to pay attention to what your audience likes by minding your analytics. But the biggest thing is to simply give your audience what they want.
Find that happy place where you’ve earned your audience by being helpful to them and you’ll have made your big splash in no time.
Still not sure it’s worth the effort? Here are a few important benefits to consider.
- Internet marketing offers a cost-effective opportunity to market a small business in a targeted way that gets results.
- Small businesses aren’t competing against big businesses with huge marketing budgets. Their competition is the other guy in the same industry, who isn’t doing internet marketing well or at all. Do it a fraction better and your return on investment will have been worth it.
- Before people buy from you, they will investigate more about you online. They’ll decide in roughly three seconds whether to contact you or move on. If your online mojo isn’t working, you’ve just lost a sale.
OK, so now you know how to establish an online reputation and why it’s so important. The time and effort you will put into your online marketing strategy is, in fact, an investment. Naturally, you’ll want to protect it.
Risks To Your Small Business’ Stellar “Rep”
Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but your reputation as a small business owner is one of your biggest assets. Rocking it can lead to big results. But there are some risks to being out there, and they are due to the democratic nature of the world wide web — the very thing that makes it so wonderful. Anyone with an internet connection and a computer can converse freely online, share opinions, write reviews, and share information on social media about any business in the world.
Likewise, anyone out there can easily target a small business. They can write unfair reviews, rant, rave, sabotage and mastermind cyber attacks. No matter how crazy, untrue or unwarranted a facebook message, article or message board comment may be, the damage to your reputation is instant.
So what can a small business owner do?
Be sure you are always participating in the conversation. Search the name of your business and see what comes up. Check the major review sites, too. If you see something harmful to your reputation, address it. Keep your emotions in check and just respond to the facts. If a person has a valid complaint, acknowledge the issue — then make amends with an offer of small compensation. Your audience is watching, and if they see you doing your best, you’ll have at least controlled the damage.
Of course, as your business grows, it will be more challenging to manage your online reputation. The larger a company is, the greater the risk that someone out there will have something negative to say. In the case of a severe attack on your reputation, or if there is more maintenance required than you can handle, it might be wise to find a company who can help you manage your online reputation for you.
If you’re ready to make a big splash online, it’s time to dive in! Create a strategy to build, maintain and protect your online reputation — and get ready to enjoy steady growth and limitless possibility for your small business.
Nicole Breit runs a small content marketing company in Vancouver, Canada. She’s a fan of reputation.com, wordpress, and sugar-free caramel Americanos with cream.