Where’s your bathroom? I’ve never heard an online customer ask this question. But, let’s be honest and admit that some visitors only serve this purpose. Regardless what you offer, some people only care if what you have is: free, immediate, and self-serving. These are visitors, not customers, so “the customer is always right” rules don’t apply here.

As a small business, your bottom line is your income stream sustained with return customers. But, do you know your triple bottom line?  Introduced by John Elkington, your triple bottom line includes three business dimensions: social, environmental and financial. Money is earned in the financial dimension, and return customers are earned with marketing (communicating values to your visitors) in social and environmental dimensions.

small business web marketingYour triple bottom line requires you to be approachable, socially responsive and profitable. As a small business, web marketing is how you welcome visitors in, convert them to paying customers and compel them to return. Think about online marketing as your business plan to be:

  1. Realistic
  2. Open
  3. Effective

Be Realistic and set expectations

When’s the last time a customer offered to buy your entire business?

Yeah, I didn’t think so; in reality each customer ever only buys a fraction of what you sell.

That’s why you need a steady stream of customers. You need to know your customer acquisition cost, and set reasonable expectations for each customer interaction.  To reach your customers, you need to understand both their needs and their boundaries.

You may be the best in the business, but each customer is only willing to pay for what they need. Your web marketing plan should address this head on, by directing your efforts to your ideal customers. These are the visitors who need (and are willing to pay for) a larger piece of what you offer. With a proper web marketing plan in place, you attract paying customers instead of random visitors.

Be Open and recognize opportunity

Leaving visitor arrival to chance is a risky business decision.

The internet is an open environment. Big and small businesses greet customers through the same digital doorways. URL box, search box, social media and advertisements; however they arrive, your online customers arrive unannounced, by their means, for their reasons.

You should care where visitors come from because your business relies on reaching relevant customers. This is the basis for why marketing exists: meeting and satisfying certain needs of people. This means knowing who they are and what they want. Knowing where they’ve been helps you guide them where they need to go.

Marketing competition is another good reason to care where your customers arrive from. Are you open when visitors arrive? Online businesses are always open, but some are more welcoming than others. Simply having a website isn’t enough; your web design needs to be more appealing than your competitors.

Web marketing welcomes them in; web design compels them to stay.

Be Effective and customize your delivery

Developing a web marketing strategy for your business helps secure your professional reputation.

Your ability to reach customers depends on their need for your service and your ability to communicate with them. Reaching online visitors is a challenge, but ongoing commitment to a customized web marketing plan will strengthen your efforts over time.

You may be tempted to do it alone and try guerrilla marketing techniques, but be careful. You want to present an authentic impression of your business. Loud cries for attention get you nowhere if your message fails to reach your ideal customer.

Get help and control your web marketing

Pia created (R)Evolution Marketing to help you reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. Your free 15 minute consultation starts here. You speak one-on-one with Pia and discuss a realistic, open, and effective web marketing strategy customized for your business.

Photo by The-villages-onli… (Clips) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons