Every business owner knows the importance of digital marketing. With rates of internet and social media usage increasing every year, the web is an area of tremendous potential for marketing efforts in Singapore. Businesses that fall behind the curve run the risk of giving their competitors an edge, and it is nearly impossible to optimise marketing efforts without relying on some form of digital marketing.
With that said, given the array of buzzwords and marketing tools out there, it can be overwhelming for businesses to know where to start. Not everyone can afford to hire an in-house marketer or has the budget to outsource their marketing efforts, especially if your business is just growing.
If this resonates with you, stick around. Today, we will be covering simple, low-cost and do-it-yourself digital marketing strategies for enhancing your business’ digital reputation.
Your Customers Are Looking You Up
Staying completely offline is no longer an option. 83% of Singaporeans begin their research online when they are looking for a new product or service, and 49% of them conduct online research in-store or at the point of purchase. Even for brick-and-mortar businesses, a potential customer’s first point of contact is likely to be online, making it more important than ever for businesses to maintain a digital presence.
Luckily, there are a range of tools and services that small businesses can use to expand and enhance their presence online. Leveraging on these free and low-cost options is a simple process, and today we’ll go through some steps you can take to get started.
What Does Google Know About You?
The majority of consumers online seek information first from Google. Hence, what Google knows about you determines what a potential customer knows about you.
When your company is listed on Google My Business, a quick Google search makes the company name, address, business number, opening hours and other information pop up at the top of the page. It also allows you to show up on Google Maps, increasing the likelihood of direct foot traffic to your store.
Once your business is listed, make sure that the information is accurate and up to date. Typos make you seem less credible, and you don’t want a customer to call an outdated number, only to find it out of service.
You can beef up your Google business listing by adding photos or videos, if relevant, as well as encouraging customers to leave reviews and upload their own photos. If you already have a sizable amount of reviews on Facebook or HungryGoWhere, make sure your business name is consistent and Google is more likely to display that information.
Best of all, listing your business is completely free on Google. Unless you are looking to advertise your business, you won’t have to pay a single cent.
How Does Your Facebook Page Represent Your Business?
In Singapore, Facebook is the most popular social media app after Whatsapp, and it has dominated advertising and marketing in the social media space. Even if you are not looking to advertise on Facebook at this point, maintaining a Facebook Business page provides several benefits.
Having a Facebook Business page with basic company information increases your credibility, especially if you do not have a separate website, as it will show up in Google searches. A company logo and relevant cover photo gives your business an attractive front.
Increased opportunities for customer engagement is another key benefit. In today’s social media environment, encouraging your customers to Like your page and leave reviews gives you social proof, increases online visibility and improves your online reputation.
That said, not every small business has the capacity to devise a content strategy to pull in more Likes and Shares. Focus on the aspects of Facebook that are beneficial to you - whether it is the option for your customers to leave reviews and message your business, or for you to keep track of visits and searches of your company.
Do You Need A Website?
Depending on your business needs, a website may not be necessary. As mentioned earlier, a Facebook page can serve to provide basic information about your products and/or services, completely for free. If you do choose to create a website for your business, however, there are some important things to note.
A business website can be likened to a digital storefront. Even if you do not conduct business directly on your website, visitors to your website are expecting to learn more about your products and services, and more importantly your brand. Thus, before diving into website creation, you should consider investing in a professional team to design and build your site.
It may be tempting to do up a simple website in a site-builder, but you should know that such solutions make it harder to build on and expand your site in the future. If you are going the DIY website route, we would recommend looking into Wordpress, which can be used to manage simple sites but also offers a range of upgrades and plugins.
Show your DIY site to friends, family members and employees to get their thoughts. Better yet, look for someone with some design training, or hire a professional web designer for a couple of hours to look through it. While taste is subjective and you should not change everything that they tell you to, a second opinion will help you see what can be improved.
With the convenience of services such as Google Analytics, you will be able to access valuable information like the number of visitors, visitor demographics, best-performing content, bounce rates and more.
What Other Platforms Should You Consider?
Thus far, we have covered the most popular ways in which businesses maintain an online presence. There are, of course, countless other platforms on which businesses can promote themselves. Two key ones we would recommend for certain businesses are Instagram, and Linkedin.
Instagram is best utilised if you have something to take pictures of, for example fashion or food. It can also be a great way of increasing engagement by encouraging your customers to take pictures and tag your store.
You can also repost select images from your customers and fans for increased engagement.
LinkedIn is more than a job site - touted as a professional social media network, its value is very much in the last word - networking. If your business is built on a network of referrals and customers, consider moving these connections and recording them on LinkedIn.
If you already have a blog for your businesses, you can also link to those articles from LinkedIn, widening your exposure to a larger market.
The Importance of Your Online Presence
As 2017 nears its end, digital marketing remains at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. It doesn’t have to be difficult. One of the easiest things to do is to establish a strong digital presence and, from there, look into various digital marketing techniques to enhance it.