The online marketing funnel of your local small business

Marketing your online business is about showing that you have something to offer your visitors that your competitors don’t have. Marketing your small business online means reaching your current customers as well as potential customers and differentiating yourself.

Successful small business Internet marketing is all about establishing relationships. Just as customers of your brick and mortar store have the opportunity to come in and get to know you, online customers need to have the opportunity to learn more about what you do and decide that they want to do business with you.

This is where the concept of your little biz online marketing funnel comes into play. Your small business online marketing funnel is a means by which you can – over time – find new customers and increase the sales of your small business.

Your small business online marketing funnel is not unlike the local small businesses you started when you first opened your business in your physical location. First you needed to choose a location and have it ready. You ordered the supplies you needed. Then you started advertising. On opening day, you probably had a product gift – a keychain, a cup of coffee or even a T-shirt – as well as a gift certificate, something that would attract your customer to come back.

Your little online marketing funnel works the same way: you choose a domain name and build your website, or have your website built for you. You’ll get everything you need in order – including a free or low-cost gift. And then you will start marketing your small business online.

It is important to remember that your website is your virtual business. All the Internet ads you post will attract traffic to your page, so be sure to use it wisely.

Use your home page to inform potential customers about your business – share your mission statement, share customer compliments. Use a page from your website so your current and potential customers know more about who you are and what you believe in. Focus both on your business and on building a relationship with your customer.

Attracting potential customers to your website takes them to the larger part of your small biz online marketing funnel; by allowing them the opportunity to get to know you, you begin to lure them into the funnel.

However, you don’t want them to get to the second level of the funnel and stay there, just as you don’t want customers in your physical location to come and go again. This is why you should plan – as part of your small business Internet marketing campaign – to attract them to the next smaller area of your small business online marketing funnel.

You don’t need to offer a physical gift. Instead, continue to build relationships with your site visitors by offering them something of value. Offer them free articles about the products and services your small business offers. Establish a newsletter that will allow you to communicate valuable information (as well as special offers) to them at specific intervals.

This allows you to take an important step towards increasing sales: it allows you to establish a relationship. By constantly providing your subscribers with information or coupons that are valuable to them, they will begin to recognize you and your company as a company they want to do business with, and look forward to hearing from you.

You can encourage them to do business with you by promoting low-cost products. Now, instead of a free article that gives your potential customers some information, turn them into your new customers by offering low-cost products. Low-cost products like e-books that provide useful information on important topics within your industry – and that also establish your credibility and customer trust – will help attract those customers to the smallest level of your small biz online marketing funnel.

For example, let’s say you own and operate a local flower shop. A perfect low-cost information product that you could offer your customers to lure them further into your sales funnel would be an e-book with tips for planting flowers in your local area. Customers who buy your low-cost e-book will find value in the information, increasing the likelihood that they will buy additional products at higher prices from you as well.

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