Eyeglasses, a mug of coffee, and a keyboard laying a tabletop around a white phone whose screen displays a graph and reads, “Online Marketing”.

Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses work hard to compete with large corporations, particularly when it comes to digital marketing. These businesses may have smaller marketing and advertising budgets, and may struggle to reach their audience online due to limited resources.

While online marketing can be difficult for small businesses, in many ways, it represents an opportunity to outperform the competition and gain a competitive advantage on a smaller budget. There are a few simple steps you can take in order to ensure that your online marketing strategy is successful.


Analyze Your Audience

The first step to improving your online presence is to form an understanding of who your audience is and what you can offer them. It’s a good idea to come up with several different customer profiles, analyzing their wants, needs, and behavior patterns. Your audience will likely be specific to your industry and product types, so don’t be afraid to get specific and hone in on who your customers are and what they want from you.

When analyzing your audience, it’s a good idea to consider potential customers from every angle, including demographic information like age and gender as well as what services they might be interested in and what problems you can help them solve. You should also consider where you’re likely to find your audience online in order to optimize your marketing efforts. Maybe your customers tend to use Facebook more often than Instagram, or maybe they’re more likely to search for your business on Google. An audience-centric approach to online marketing can help ensure that your marketing strategy meets customers where they’re at.


Claim Free Listings

There are a variety of free business listings available that can help you build your online presence. You should create a free business email ID so that you can build a Google plus profile and claim your free listing on Google My Business. This listing gives customers the option to review your business, and also lists key information about your business such as your website, phone number, and physical location. Google My Business also allows businesses to post updates related to sales, news updates, and featured products.

You may also want to investigate any other listings that may be available to you. Many state and local tourism websites feature and promote local businesses with free listings. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and FourSquare are other free platforms that may be relevant to you depending on your business.


Optimize Your Content

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to building your online presence as a small business is to optimize your content. This means tweaking your content so that it performs well in organic search, and so that it provides a seamless, customized experience for your customers. In order to optimize content, you should consider rewriting and formatting blog posts in order to target relevant keywords and improve your rankings in organic search. This can help to build your reputation as a helpful resource and increase your audience online.

Optimizing content can also include formatting emails and newsletters in order to increase clicks and conversions. You should try to write compelling copy that is clear, positive, and easy to understand. It’s a good idea to be honest and informative when interacting online with your customers, without promising more than you can deliver or pressuring them to make a purchase. When optimizing your content, you should be sure to put the needs of your customers first, and make sure that all content is helpful, informative, and easy to navigate.


Promote Using Social Media

Social media is another important tool in your online marketing arsenal. Social media is constantly evolving, and more and more businesses are promoting their brands using social media posts and paid advertisements. Common social media platforms you may want to consider include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Depending on your industry, you may also want to consider additional platforms like Pinterest or Linkedin. Posting helpful, engaging content on a regular basis can help you to grow your online following and build relationships with customers.


Ask for Reviews and Feedback

By asking for online reviews and feedback, you can help to address the areas where your business may need special attention. Reviews and feedback can help to secure your online reputation and provide social proof of the services and products you provide. Positive reviews can help to raise your overall score and make a better impression on potential customers searching for you online.

Even when you receive a bad review, you should respond courteously and take any constructive feedback into account. When asking for feedback, make sure to utilize customer suggestions in order to improve your business. If you receive feedback on Google, Facebook, or other review platforms, it’s a good idea to address any concerns that customers may raise and assure them that you’re doing your best to meet their needs. Responding to reviews can also help you to retain customers and solve any issues they might be experiencing.


Cleanup and Re-organize Data

For best results and increased efficiency, your database should be well-organized and easily accessible. In most cases, it’s not enough to do a yearly or seasonal “spring clean” — you should be constantly organizing and maintaining your database in order to make the most of it. Information you may want to list in your database can include customer information, sales records, statistics, and more.


Utilize Marketing Automation

As your business grows, or when you run across aspects of a business that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to outsource work. As a small business owner, you can’t expect to be able to do everything, especially as your business continues to grow and flourish. Instead of trying to tackle everything yourself, you should invest in people who can add their expertise to your business, whether in the form of employees, freelancers, or lead-generating companies. In many cases, you can also automate routine tasks and enhance sales using technology for increased efficiency.

While it can be a challenge to succeed in online marketing as a small business, in many cases small businesses have just as much of an advantage as large corporations when it comes to carving out a sizable presence online. Nimble, technologically-savvy businesses can even out-compete larger companies when it comes to marketing their products and services online.


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