The internet and social media have created new possibilities for business. No longer do you need to limit yourselves to one location – you can have a global reach with a small marketing budget. It’s now possible to do business nationwide with a remote employee or branch office. You can even operate a business entirely online, and have no physical location at all.
However, there’s a flip side to this freedom. Wherever you are based, there’s always someone closer to home who could help you if you run into any trouble. Having a local office can be a great way to gain trustworthiness and authenticity, and establish a direct link between a business and the community it serves.
Here is a list of the top marketing strategies that work for online companies that have no local office.
1. Personalised Approach
Marketing to a wider audience is one of the mainstays of the internet and social media. You can target your specific audience and offer personalised experiences by tailoring your content to their interests, hobbies, and past behaviour. If you want to reach consumers who are generally outdoorsy, you can run an online store selling camping equipment, or provide them with useful tips on how to camp in a more sustainable manner.
By understanding what your target audience wants, you can produce content that is more appealing to them. On the flip side, you can also decide what not to offer, which content is not relevant to your business, and remove it. Tailored marketing allows you to remove the distractions of mass marketing, and focus on what is important to your business.
2. Build A Reputation
With no physical location to protect, you must establish your trustworthiness and reliability as a business, in your online community. In order to do this, you must put in the effort to build a good reputation. This means creating and maintaining a good standing in your industry, and actively participating in your trade associations, social media groups and blogs.
Consider creating a YouTube channel to regularly post useful tips and explain your industry in entertaining yet informative videos. Regular posting is important because it creates a constant stream of content, drawing in interested viewers who may have otherwise ignored your business.
Establishing a good reputation in your industry means you can charge a higher price for your products and services because people will be more confident that you will provide a good quality experience.
Search engine optimisation is the process of making your website more visible and accessible to search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Many entrepreneurs are discovering that getting found on the internet is a lot easier than trying to be found in traditional media channels, like newspapers and TV. However, depending on how well you do SEO, you could end up spending a lot of money on paid ads. Paid ads don’t always work, so you could end up wasting a lot of money without getting the results you wanted.
There’s a middle ground between paying for ads and doing nothing at all. Building a reputation as a skilled SEO consultant can lead to more work, and higher payouts. Consider applying for affiliate marketing with a top tier firm, to take advantage of the local SEO opportunities.
4. Content Creation
Creating content is a great way to build a brand, and establish your expertise in a field. However, you must be careful not to flood your site with too much content, or you might lose your audience. Instead, create content on a regular basis to keep the interest of your readers.
The trick is to consistently produce interesting, informative content that is relevant to your target audience. Consider producing a series of guides on your topic of expertise, creating an ever-expanding online knowledge base that you can use to promote yourself and your business.
Creating authoritative content is one of the biggest mistakes that newbie entrepreneurs make. People are much more likely to believe what official sources say, so you must make sure that all the content you post is verified and backed by facts. Ensure that all the content you post is beneficial to your target audience, and takes into consideration their needs, wants and lifestyle.
5. Influencer Marketing
If you’ve ever shopped at Nordstrom, you might have seen their famous infographics, explaining the different styles, silhouettes, and most importantly the pricing of different items. Those dollar signs surely work, because they’re one of the best-known and most-trusted brands in the world.
You can tap into this trust and build a following on social media, by partnering with an influencer who has a sizeable audience and is aligned with your target audience. The idea is to get the influencer to promote your business, in exchange for freebies such as product samples, discounts, or invitations to special events.
The catch is that you must find a way to monetise the engagement. You can partner with an influencer who is already making money from other platforms, like YouTube. Alternatively, you could set up a separate account, and run paid advertising, or offer a bonus to those who click on a particular product or service you’re selling.
6. Email Marketing
Getting email addresses is free, and a great way to build a list of people you can connect with. Once you have a list of subscribers, you can take advantage of the list and send out promotional emails on a regular basis. These emails can contain discounts, sneak peeks at new products, and other valuable information for your audience.
The catch is that you must have something of value to offer, or you’ll end up with a lot of unsubscribe emails.
Traditional email marketing is still a relevant and effective strategy, especially for businesses with a local office. People love to receive discounts and special offers, via email marketing, and it’s an easy way to get in touch with past customers. You should also look towards mobile marketing and email marketing, to establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
7. Outreach To Influencers
If you want to become a thought leader in your industry, you must start by listening to and engaging with key opinion leaders (Kollethi), or influential figures in your industry (Oberlo).
By reaching out to these people, and demonstrating that you’re a genuine source of knowledge, you can establish a connection that could lead to a lucrative partnership. You can use your blog to show your expertise, by publishing useful tips on how to succeed in your industry. For example, if you are a nutritionist, you might start a blog offering useful tips on how to achieve a better looking body.
Pro-bloggers and reviewers are often in the position to recommend products and services that they have tested and reviewed, and because of this, they can earn a considerable amount of money each month, from affiliate sales. You can tap into this, by placing affiliate links on your blog, and earning a commission when someone clicks through and makes a purchase. You can even set up a dedicated review store, where you can find and sell specialist equipment, like cameras and microphones, as well as more standard products like laptops and tablets.
Creating a business that provides value and builds trust is the key to building a successful online company. Wherever you are based, there’s always someone closer to home who could help you if you run into any trouble. Establishing a local office to protect your interests is certainly not a bad idea, and investing in some legal protection can be worthwhile. However, for those that want to operate a business entirely online, with no physical location and no reliance on local offices, finding your target audience and building a reputation as an expert are the paramount focus.