Whether you want to start a side gig or it’s time for you to take the leap into business ownership, setting up a business in the comfort of your own home can be a lucrative move. If you can learn how to do internet marketing right, you can bring in as much revenue as you would working for someone else, but it’s even better ’cause it’s yours.
Small business owners who opt to run their companies from their homes have no shortage of marketing tools to use.
If you are ready to set up shop in your living room or a home office, here is a quick guide to internet marketing to help you get started.
1. Set Up a Google My Business Profile
Since the internet is basically run by Google, getting a presence on Google quickly is essential. Before you register a URL and build a website, create one of these profiles. You can use your Business Profile to create a sort of mobile-optimized mini-website that you can use in the meantime while you get your real one set up.
Your Google My Business Profile is a business listing that will show up when people use Google to search for your business specifically or they search for the products/services you offer in your geographical area.
The following information and features are part of a My Business profile:
- Your business’ location along with a Google Map showing the location
- Your phone number and/or a contact form so people can email you
- A button that takes people to your website
- Information about your business, like:
- Service category
- A short description of your business
- Photos of your business (uploaded by either you or others)
- The aforementioned mini-website that is already mobile optimized
Since most people are probably using Google for searching purposes, you are already a step ahead of any competitors who don’t have a My Business profile and it displays all your pertinent business information.
To get started with your Google My Business profile, visit their Business page and click “Start Now.”
2. Okay, Now Set Up a Website
A website gives your business legitimacy. And not just any ol’ website, either. People want to see a well designed site. In fact, 75% of people use a company’s website to determine if the company is legitimate or not. That makes sense. When you go to a company’s website and it looks sloppy or terribly out of date, you get suspicious. If the company were legit, they’d have the resources to put into a decent site, right?
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of do-it-yourself site-building tools you can use for just a small fee. These drag and drop site builders allow you to create a decent looking site without requiring you to have extensive coding knowledge. For more complex websites, you may have to hire a web development firm.
A website is your interactive business card, giving people the first impression of your business and giving them an opportunity to start interacting with it right away. You could create a blog that gives people helpful tips (like the one you’re reading right now), or offer them some kind of free content that they have to register their email to receive. Give them a contact form and invite them to get in touch with you and ask them to check out your social media accounts and talk with you there.
Your contact form should:
- Be “above the fold,” meaning people shouldn’t have to scroll to get to it
- Have few boxes to fill (best case scenario is just one for an email address)
- Match your branding
- Use a lead magnet that promises some kind of benefit for signing up (a newsletter or something else of value)
- Go through some A/B split testing to find what works best
Here’s a lead magnet with an amazing benefit right here:
3. Create Some Social Media Accounts
These are pretty important considering that nearly 70% of American adults and 83% of adults over 50 use social media. For a lot of people, being online is being on social media. If your business isn’t on there, it’s invisible to a lot of eyes.
Unless you’re a mega brand that has a lot of reach, you likely won’t need to be on all the social media accounts. You only need to be on the ones that your target audience is on. If you’re targeting young people between 18-24, you’ll need to be on Snapchat. LinkedIn is more popular with professionals who fall into the 30-49 age range.
Some companies even conduct most of their business on their social media accounts rather than through their websites because most of their customers contact them via social media.
Regardless of the social platform you choose, make it professional looking and make it consistent with your brand. Put your logo on it, create some header photos you can use and make sure they show up crystal clear. Post at least weekly and make sure your posts are consistent with your brand identity and your core audience’s values. And do not ignore people who reach out to you on social media. (It’s called social for a reason.)
A lot of people actually prefer to communicate with companies via social media rather than on phone or by email. One out of three, to be exact.
So, give people a reason to interact with your brand on social media (asking questions and opinions is a good place to start) and pay attention to people who are trying to reach out to you directly.
4. Send Some Emails
Email will be an integral part of your online business. You can interact with clients via email and send them appointment reminders, but you’ll also want to nurture leads via email, as well. People are more likely to see special offers sent to them in an email than an online ad.
Have a way to collect emails and have a way to keep engaged with people. A monthly newsletter is a good option and sending out emails with specials once in a while will usually drum up some business with leads and past customers.
5. Learn the SEO Ropes
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps determine where your website and social profiles rank in search results when people look for terms related to the products and services you offer. For example, if you were a wedding photographer in Boise, ID you would want your website to show up at the top spot in the search rankings when people searched for things like “wedding photographer boise” or “boise event photographer.”
SEO helps you do just that. It is a bit of an art form (and it gets pronounced dead several times per year), but the basics are that you need the key search terms that you want to be ranked for present in your website’s content and in the behind-the-scenes places on your site. Key search teams for our above example would be things like “wedding photographer,” “event photographer” and “Boise.”
Check out this handy dandy beginner’s guide to SEO from Moz to get started.
6. Make Some Videos
Videos are now essential for online marketing, even for a small business that you run out of your home. You can create simple, but professional looking videos to guide your customers through the buyer’s journey for an affordable price by getting some inexpensive equipment and using do-it-yourself video creation sites . For animated videos, it helps to hire a professional animation studio who can walk you through the process and give you an amazing animated video that will capture people’s attention and also help with your SEO.
Following these six steps will help get your at-home business noticed and generate the revenue you need to really get your online marketing going. Click here to schedule an appointment with WizMotions to see how we can help you make the perfect business video.