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How A Website Can Help Market Your Small Business
It's not just about advertising anymore
If you have your own small business today, you probably have a website for that business. It's just something which is a given in today's world; your customers (or clients) are going to want to be able to find you online to get their questions answered at a time which is convenient for them. But your website can be more than just a tool for your existing customers to use to supplement their experience with your business; it can also be a means of marketing your small business to the world to grow your customer base.
With a website, anyone in the world can find your small business. This means that you open up your potential customer pool from a small kiddie pool in your own backyard to an Olympic-size pond of options which receives visitors from around the globe. Clients in other cities and countries may not have stumbled across the service that you offer in your little storefront or home office, but they can find you now because you have a web presence. So how can you make the most of your website for marketing purposes?
First off, even though you are theoretically now accessible to the entire world, you shouldn't think that large in terms of designing the content and marketing plans for your website. Instead, you should think specifically about the customers which you wish to draw to your business. Let's say that you have a small business which sells dog grooming products, for example. Your target market is not the entire world but rather the group of people in the world who owns or cares for dogs. You can subcategorize your target markets further by considering dog owners, dog groomers and specialized businesses such as dog walking and pet sitting services. By focusing on your target audience, you will be able to gear the content of your website so that it appeals to each of your different potential customer bases.
However, it's not just having the right text content that will make your website a marketing tool. That's important because once people get to your site, they need to be able to quickly find the information that will keep them there. But you have to get them to your site. A website which is used as a marketing tool will be one which has not only quality content but also a reason for people who aren't familiar with the service to be turning up on the page. Adding a blog to your site can help greatly with this because you can use it to generate updated, regular content that people will want to come back again and again to read, creating more business for your small business. Interviews with experts in your field, video content, and targeted promotional specials can all be introduced on your website to entice those people who are surfing the web to hang ten over to your spot on the sphere. This also tends to improve your chances of being found in an internet search related to your small business and so will bring in new, random customers who have an interest in your product or service.
In order for your website to really be a good marketing tool, you shouldn't rely on just random hits from the web. Instead, your quality content and updated material should be something which you spread the word about, using the web itself. Get involved in online communities, network across the web (and especially the blogosphere) and make sure that people out there know where to find your page. By participating in forums related to the topic of your small business, visiting and commenting on the sites of those people who are likely customers of your small business and otherwise networking online, you create a kind of twenty-first-century word-of-mouth marketing for your company that will help it grow and grow.