Thriving as a small or mid-sized business in Austin can be incredibly challenging. In fact, simply surviving is a challenge in itself. To do so, you need to advertise your products and services to attract buyers. That’s easy enough to understand. But to grow your business and to truly thrive, you need to market effectively — and to do that, you need to go online. This doesn’t mean just throwing up a website or creating a Facebook business page –you need to create and implement a complete Internet marketing strategy.
Here’s the thing: as a small or mid-sized business owner in Austin, you’re going to face stiff competition from day one. There are going to be dozens (if not hundreds) of competing businesses in your area. These competitors may be small or mid-sized as well, but they are already established, which means you’re going to have to work hard in order gain exposure for your business.
And that’s not even considering the big boys — larger businesses have larger budgets. They can afford to produce TV commercials and radio ads that not only play regularly in Austin, but throughout the state and even the country. You simply don’t have the budget to compete on this front. Which is why you shouldn’t.
Instead, focus your efforts on growing your brand online. Think about how many people use the Internet. According to recent reports, there are roughly 3.17 billion Internet users worldwide. Sure, you’re not going to reach even a fraction of those users through your Internet marketing — but the opportunity is there, unlike with the use of offline marketing (such as newspaper ads, TV ads, radio ads and more).
You have a level playing field with your competition when it comes to Internet marketing because you don’t need an enormous budget in order to boost brand awareness. You can reach a sizable audience even with a small budget — all you need is an effective online marketing strategy.
Which brings us to what you’re probably asking yourself now. How can you implement an effective strategy for Internet marketing for Austin businesses? The following are the three main components you need to focus on.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important factor in getting people to visit your website. Basically, you need to optimize your website by using keywords that are relevant to your business and the content you are using them in. This helps Google to recognize what your website is about. When somebody does a search using one of these keywords, Google will list you on their search results pages. The better you optimize your website — which includes using keywords in your titles, meta descriptions, blog content, anchor text, image ALT text (Google can’t recognize images unless you provide image ALT tags to give it context) and more — the better your chances are at ranking higher on Google’s search results pages.
Local SEO is just as, if not more, important. This is a strategy in which you use local keywords such as the name of the city you are in, your NAP (name, address and phone number) and more throughout your website. This will give your Austin business a better chance at ranking higher on search results for user queries about businesses in the Austin area. Another important element of local SEO is making sure your website is mobile-friendly. Many consumers will search for businesses on their mobile devices while they are out and about in the city. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, not only won’t it display properly on smaller screens (leading to mobile users leaving your site immediately), but Google will demote your mobile search ranking.
Optimizing your website for SEO is certainly an important part of Internet marketing, but there’s no point in bringing in more web traffic if you have nothing of value to provide to your potential customers. You need to set up a blog.
You should post blog content that is relevant to your business and that is helpful and informative to your target audience. When you provide high quality content, you’ll help to build a reputation as an authority within your particular industry, which will in turn help you to build brand awareness in addition to trust and loyalty — all important to not only building your customer base but retaining it as well. Blog content is also an excellent way to get visitors to opt in to an email list, which you can use to nurture your leads and turn into long-term customers.
Last but not least, you should set up several social media business pages. One of the factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites is social signals. You can post links to your content on social media that your followers can then like and share. In fact, you should embed social share buttons onto your blog to make it even easier for readers to like and share. Additionally, social media allows you to engage directly with customers and potential customers, thereby helping you to build a more intimate relationship, which is important for your reputation and for retaining and expanding your customer base.
As you can see, the importance of Internet marketing for Austin businesses cannot be overstated. The facets of Internet marketing we have listed is only the tip of the iceberg — the more strategic elements you use, the more effective your campaign will be. Find out how you can improve your company’s Internet marketing strategy today by contacting us at Austin SEO.