One universal truth business owners learned to accept is that online presence is vital for a business to thrive.

Everybody’s connected to the Web these days. Most establishments make it a point to have even the most basic of social media profiles.

Small companies get by with an in-house online marketing staff. While bigger brands allot a good amount of their annual budgets to dedicated web master services.

Of course, not everyone can afford to pay for such expert services.

Typically, micro and medium-scaled entrepreneurs can’t spare enough cash to pay for a web master. It may not be a long-term problem, especially for businesses that are geared for the local market. But it can be frustrating for entrepreneurs who wish to expand their horizons.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways that SME owners can still make their online presence felt; even with a budget below $100.

Research Says

Making the necessary research before starting your online marketing campaign

There is an old saying that states: Knowing is half the battle. A stockpile of knowledge is as potent as any weapon and ensures a victory for the wielder.

True as it is for war, this saying applies as well to online marketing. Determine your target market and the ideal clients within it, and it’ll be easier to establish your brand’s digital footprint.

Marketing research may seem like a tedious, time-consuming process, but it virtually costs nothing. It can be done during your free time. Plus, it can give you a more in-depth view of your target clients’ preferences.

For example, you can alter the featured products on your business page depending on what most of your target customers need the most, based on the information you obtained from your research.

Researching doesn’t just involve gaining information about the people you are catering to. It also gives you an idea about how your competition is fairing, and what they are doing to adapt to new market trends and needs. When you have a better idea of your competitors’ advantages and setbacks both in the physical market and online, you can make better decisions to take advantage of their weaknesses and get ahead of them in the field.

You’ve Got Mail

An efficient email marketing strategy can help your business

Let’s face it, it can be annoying at times to receive an email from a business establishment, especially when you don’t remember providing your address in the first place. To some people, it’s just spam mail that they send straight to the recycle bin even without opening or checking the contents.

You may be surprised, however, that many online marketing experts swear by the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns in promoting a business and making its consumer base grow exponentially.

When applied properly, email marketing can get you access to the right people who will want to purchase your products or avail of your services. The secret in email marketing is not spamming your target audience with brand offers and updates on their mailbox; rather, it’s attracting the right people who would want to get emailed by you. Recent research indicates that people who want to be contacted by a business prefer to get in touch via email.

Email marketing comes in two phases. First is availing yourself of an email marketing service that handles most of your brand marketing for you.

Brand marketing experts recommend signing up for GetResponse, Campaigner or MailChimp to assist you. These tools usually cost between $20 and $40 in monthly fees, although other email marketing apps provide a ‘forever free’ account that comes with certain limits.

The second phase is proper positioning of opt-in and contact forms to get the most attention from interested site visitors. With the right tools and proper positioning, you can expect to gain more dividends from your email marketing campaign.

Stay Social

Proper social media management for an efficient online marketing campaign

Social media is the very definition of a powerful online presence in today’s world. Every day, people share, like, down vote, retweet, comment, repost and follow on their social accounts. The connections they make with other people forms a wide network of interlaced online accounts that can span the whole world.

For business owners, this interlaced network can mean a larger return of investment if they can effectively use their social media presence. Making a social media connection with your target clients allows you to get a more instantaneous reaction to your offers and posts, making it easier to gauge what your clients think and do in real time. If done properly, you can get free advertising by means of shares and reposts from your business portal and social media accounts regarding your products, services, special offers and the updates.

Keeping an eye out for your social media’s comments section also gives you a big boost in your online presence. Comments give you a snapshot of how your target market really feels about your brand in ways that a simple like or share cannot convey. The things people say in your comments feed tells you what you need to tweak and improve, whether it’s a positive comment or a negative one. Try not to be combative with your commenters to avoid losing more clients!

On a More Personal Level

Connecting with your clients on a more personal level for a more efficient online marketing campaign

There is a mistake that expanding brands can face once they’ve grown up from their small business phase: they fail to maintain an intimate level of communication with most, if not all of their clients.

One-on-one conversations online is a vital tool for individual entrepreneurs and SMEs to stay relevant and connected with their target consumers, since it shows that they clearly pay attention to what people are saying, and are willing to sit down and listen to what they have to say. Brands who fail to do this with their online user base tend to alienate clients, reducing their sales and ROI at a steady rate.

Maintaining an online face isn’t just about getting your brand out there; it’s also about building honest relationships with your audience.

Answering every comment on your newest blogs may take a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves. You get more exposure, you gain your consumers’ trust, and you influence them to share your brand with other people. That’s a lot of free marketing for your business, and you get free extra muscle to do that for you!

Again, try not to be all high and mighty when communicating. This leaves the same impression as outright ignoring their comments and suggestions.

Getting an online presence for your business need not be an expensive and frustrating endeavor. With the right tools, skills and attitude, you can make a name for your brand; even with a shoestring digital marketing budget in the Philippines!