How to jumpstart your first online marketing strategy – for free!

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This article was written by Kevin Kaiser, Director of Marketing for SuretyBonds.com, an online surety bond company, since its inception in 2009.

We all know that online marketing is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s digital marketplace. If implemented correctly, a strong online presence can give your business a reputation as an industry authority.

However, knowing where to start can be extraordinarily intimidating for small business owners, especially those who are inexperienced with online marketing. Fortunately, the growing use of various social media platforms throughout the past few years allows small business owners to dive right into online marketing with little reservation.

Establishing an online presence for your small business via social media sites is a great way to kick start your first marketing campaign for three key reasons.

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s easy.
  3. You have the opportunity to reach a virtually limitless client base.

Starting with social media allows you to ease into the world of online marketing at your own pace without having to worry about the financial burden. Setting up a profile only costs your time, and deciding to pay for ads later on is one of the cheapest means of monetized services. Getting the hang of social media marketing just takes a little time and effort. If you’ve ever set up an e-mail account before, you should have no problem setting up accounts on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among many others.

When you sign up for an account on a social media site, you’ll have to provide some basic information about your company. Some of the questions will be tailored to help users learn about your business, including things like where you work, what you charge and how you implement your mission statement. Providing detailed descriptions will help potential clients understand what your business is all about, allowing you to set yourself apart from the competition.

After you’ve set up your profiles, try to make contact with all relevant users on the site, such as previous customers, old colleagues and other industry professionals you know. Marketing specialists agree that new social profiles should be used to maintain existing relationships before attempting to attract new clients. From here your social media brand will expand a bit through word-of-mouth advertising, which, yes, still exists just in an online form.

If you have no other online presence established (i.e. a company website) outside of your profiles, don’t expect to gain a ton of new clients right away. Although it’s a good starting point, your social media presence should eventually be used in conjunction with other forms of online marketing to effectively promote your business and attract new clients.

Fortunately, once you’ve developed an online presence for your company using social media, you’ll be better prepared to develop additional online marketing strategies. You’ll know how you want to portray your business online, and you’ll have a way to promote a new website right away. You’ll be able to use your social media platforms that have already garnered an audience to direct attention to a company website, special events or exclusive deals later on.

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