Panoptic is a New York City-based small business; most of our clients are small businesses, too. Small businesses need to understand how to leverage SEO and online marketing more than larger companies, because they don’t have the resources to spend on traditional media channels. Print media and television are costly undertakings! But for online marketing to be successful, a clear and long-term strategy needs to be defined – this is where many small businesses fall short and why so many of them end up on Panoptic’s doorstep.
While onsite SEO is fundamental for every website regardless of the size of the company, it’s only the first step on the road to establishing the kind of visibility that leads to a strong and long-lasting online presence. Scattered, unfocused efforts get poor results at best (and can even damage your online credibility). But when you run a small business you’re time is monopolized by overseeing daily operations and leaving you with little energy to focus on any marketing, much less formulating a comprehensive strategy.
Getting to Know Your Clients
Here at Panoptic, when we set out to develop a marketing strategy for a client our first steps have nothing to do with marketing and everything to do with understanding the nature of the client’s business: what values does the company represent, what are its objectives, who are its targeted customers and how do its current customers perceive its brands, products or services? It’s virtually impossible to craft any strategy or marketing plan if you don’t know what the company is and where it wants to go.
The next step is understanding the market the client is operating in. By conducting a little competitive research, we help small business clients gain a sense of where they stand against their rivals in search rankings and overall internet presence. Any small business owner or marketer can look at its competitors’ websites to take inspiration from what they’re doing right (and note what they are doing wrong). After reviewing a number of competing websites, the small business marketer can also learn how to distinguish its company, products or services from the competition.
Both these basic first steps help define a brand for the company. Branding is too often confused with the visual components that help to identify a company, like its logo or tagline. But a brand goes beyond a visual concept; it communicates a company’s values and objectives, and differentiates it from its competitors. A good marketer can help you with the branding process.