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Guide to online marketing for small businesses in Singapore

by Kirby Poh, Eng8ge

Small business online marketing done right can help create huge advantages over big corporations for boutique-sized firms.

Writing for The Huffington Post, Kara Mulder believes small businesses need online marketing.

How small businesses benefit from internet marketing

Internet marketing can benefit many small companies across an extensive range of different business fields.

  • International businesses. Being relatively small in size doesn’t necessarily mean independently-owned companies are small in scope. Small firms targeting overseas markets can make use of the Internet to promote their goods and services, 24/7.
  • Local businesses. If you own a retail shop, food and beverage outlet, or service business, like a hair salon or spa, web marketing can help your shop get found by potential patrons searching online for an establishment near them.
  • B2B (business-to-business) businesses. The purchasers of your potential customers are using searching engines, such as Google and Bing, to look for suppliers. Search marketing helps you to connect with these procurement executives.
  • E-commerce businesses. All online marketplaces require internet marketing.
First, understand your market standing

Before embarking on any digital marketing channel, you’ll need to understand your business’ current standing in the marketplace, including brand image, demand for your products or services, and potential business opportunities.

Although smaller companies lack the financial capabilities of larger enterprises to conduct a comprehensive market research, there’re a few free online tools you can use to gather consumer intelligence:

  • Google Alerts. Receive notifications when there’re mentions of your company on the Internet.
  • Ubersuggest. Use it to determine how your potential customers search online for the type of products or services you offer.
  • Google Trends. This tool shows you the level of interest on specific search terms over time.

You can then work out what’s best for your company by experimenting with various platforms suited for small business online marketing.

Internet marketing systems for the SME

Generally, online marketing can be categorised into:

  1. Website
  2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  3. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  4. Social marketing
  5. Email marketing
  6. Content marketing
  7. Affiliate marketing

Small businesses would benefit from the first 5. If you take an integrated approach to utilise them in a marketing campaign, you can reap benefits that are greater than the sum of its parts.

The larger SMEs (small and medium enterprises) could also incorporate content marketing and affiliate marketing. However, they’d require greater investments to develop and maintain.

Leverage your website for online marketing

A website designed by professional digital marketers will reflect your business’s brand image and competitive advantages, creating a strong connection and building trust with potential customers.

Google, which runs the world’s largest search engine, says the vast majority of consumers use search engines to do shopping and research goods or services before buying. In its “Small Business Online Marketing Guide”, the tech giant spells out the benefits of having a website that connects with these consumers.

Your website has to help to generate more business for you

Create a website that speaks to prospective customers directly and on an emotional level, highlighting how your goods or services can enhance their lives.

Ensure your website is future-ready by keeping up to speed with how the latest advances in technology affect consumer behaviour. Currently, your web design should take into account the increasing popularity of mobile devices.

Most importantly, your website should constantly create sales leads for your business.

Social marketing helps create connections on a personal level

Many small business owners use social media to build awareness, maintain customer relationships, and acquire new customers – because it’s usually free. Of course, whether the outcome is positive is something else.

The most popular social media platforms include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • WeChat
  • Pinterest

Social media marketing is effective in establishing connections with your target audience.

Therefore, 80% of your effort should be spent on creating and sharing non-promotional, informational, and relevant content with them – so as to gain trust. The remaining 20% can then be used on marketing your products or services.

Picking the correct social channel to reach your potential customers is critical to your social marketing success.

If you want free, try email marketing

Your customer email list is a tremendous asset.

Contrary to what “visionaries” have been saying, email isn’t dead… yet. Hence, email marketing still has a place in your web marketing arsenal.

The factors to consider when you’re running an email marketing campaign are:

  • Establishing the goal of your campaign.
  • Segmenting your email list; and sending the email to the relevant group.
  • Having a pro write content of the email.
  • Testing a few subject lines, and determining which has the highest click-through rate.
  • Including a call-to-action in the copy.
  • Not sending out emails too frequently.
  • Measuring the results.
  • Considering to use an email marketing service provider, such as AWeber and Mailchimp.
  • Adhering to Singapore’s Spam Control Act.

The right internet marketing agency can value-add to a small business

Although web marketing is technical in nature, a strong internet marketer should also have a solid background in sales and marketing.

Further, when crafting your website, they’ll first ensure they understand the intent of visitors to your site. Answering the questions your web audience are likely to ask will tell search engines that you’re providing beneficial content. This will go a long way in helping your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages.

Here are a few questions you could ask a digital marketing firm before hiring them:

  • How will you ensure my marketing campaign reaches out to the right people?
  • What will you do to maximise the chances of my website having high visibility?
  • Will my website truly reflect the image of my business?
  • Do you have people qualified in SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising?
  • Will the website work on mobile as well as desktop devices?
  • Can you give me a clear scope of the work you’d be performing for us?
Eng8ge helps small businesses become more successful

As a bijou operation ourselves, Eng8ge understands how small businesses in Singapore work. Our Online Presence Managed Services harnesses the power of small business specific digital marketing systems to help them gain more customers and earn higher revenue.

Eng8ge’s expertise in the technical aspects of sales lead generation for boutique-sized businesses is supported by a wealth of knowledge in tried and tested marketing fundamentals. This powerful combination enables us to engage directly with your potential customers to create quality leads ripe for conversion into sales.

What’s more, we regularly share effective online marketing strategies, tactics, and tips that can be adopted by small businesses without breaking their bank.

How to start

Eng8ge’s Online Presence Managed Services is currently available in Singapore only.

Engage us by phone, email, or through our contact form, and our client services specialist would get in touch with you within 2 working days.

10 Anson Road, #27-18
Singapore 079903