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Online Marketing Basics for Small Businesses

By Chris Allen

Companies often do not devote enough of their time and resources to consider how to digitally market their small and medium-sized businesses. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to grasp the basics of digital marketing, and simple tips like updating your website can have a tremendous impact on your business.

Website. The website of your business is the gateway to your brand. Too often, companies do not want to spend money on a great website, or they don’t want to spend time optimizing the website with SEO content. This is a mistake. The website is the first place where potential and existing customers will interact with your brand. It needs to be concise, engaging and easy-to-navigate. You want your website to be at the top of the search rankings when potential customers type in specific keywords in a search. It’s worth an investment (sometimes only a few hundred dollars) to work with a company to create or update your website, and to produce SEO web copy content to drive your company to the top of the search rankings.

Google Analytics™. One invaluable tool for merchants of any size is Google Analytics. This free tool allows businesses to track the number of visitors to their website and gather demographic information about who the audience is for your brand. Google Analytics can show you the average amount of time someone spends on your website, the average number of pages viewed in a single session and the bounce rate, which shows how many people leave the website without visiting other pages on the site. The information gleaned from Google Analytics is a gold mine for business owners.

Social Media. It’s important to examine your customer demographics and see where your customers are online. Some customers are more active on Facebook™ than Twitter™, and depending on your business, Instagram™ and Pinterest™ or Google +™ may be where you want to establish a presence. In order to have a strong social media presence, it’s important that you have someone on your team that is dedicated to monitoring the social media sites daily and posting new content frequently. The purpose of social media is to interact in real-time, so if a customer has a question or a complaint this can be addressed quickly on social media and then the conversation can move offline. Look into boosting some of your Facebook posts (this can be done for only a few dollars) and see if that gains you more online followers for your business.

Read Reviews. Reading online reviews on sites such as Yelp™ can be helpful to your business. Keep an open mind and never engage in any sort of negative correspondence with a negative reviewer or on social media. See this as an opportunity to positively engage with the reviewer and also to examine if the complaint is a valid one and adjust your business operations accordingly. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to work on a basic digital marketing plan for your company. A few thoughtful hours each week dedicated to digital marketing can yield tremendous results.


Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest and Google + are registered or unregistered marks belonging to one or more unaffiliated third parties that do not endorse or sponsor Vantiv Integrated Payments, LLC.

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