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Six Tips for Successful Online Marketing

Wednesday, October 26, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
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Navigating online marketing can feel like sailing the ocean in a leaky boat. Every day new technologies make online marketing more complex and diverse. So how do you keep your business afloat during a recession when online marketing changes every day? With a little elbow grease, some determination, and the right knowledge you can manage your online presence.

1.Create your online marketing strategy

Long gone are the days of the "if you build it, they will come” philosophy. In order to be successful online you have to be aware of all the ways you can grow awareness about your company. So what are the most popular tools available to small business marketers today?

a.Search engine submission to major search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing
b.Local search
through providers like Google Places
c.Social media marketing
through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+
d.Email Marketing

e.Search engine marketing
and pay-per-click solutions

Combine these marketing strategies to maximize your online traffic and increase your revenue.

2.Optimize your website

The idea of optimizing your website sounds scary, but it’s really easy as long as you know where to focus. It used to be very simple, just plug in a few keywords in your meta tags and your website will pull up in the top rankings. Then the internet grew bigger and websites started using tricks to fool search engines into ranking their sites when they weren’t really relevant. Search engine providers had to get smarter. They introduced an ever changing algorithm designed to verify how relevant your website was and rank you accordingly.

So how can you keep up if the algorithm keeps changing? You have to do 3 important things.

a.Create relevant content for your website that accurately explains your products, services and location.
Ensure that your meta tag title contains keywords about your business and no more than 80 characters. This isn’t the place to list your company name unless you feel confident that your customers will use this as a primary keyword to local your products and services. This is not the case with most new businesses.
Create link backs to your site. Just like high school, search engine relevancy is a popularity contest. The more people that talk about and link to your website from relevant sources, the better your ranking will become. Creating a following can really aid in growing your link backs.

3.Create a following

Creating a following is about getting to know your customers so you can help them make purchasing decisions and encourage them to spread to the word to their friends and family. For some this will be the most difficult part of your strategy because it’s so foreign, but you can create a following through email marketing and social media marketing inexpensively and fairly easily just by starting a few conversations. Here are a few ways to build up your contacts:

a.Collect email addresses everywhere possible. Put a sign up list by your cash register and post an email signup box on your website, blog, and Facebook page.
Send out regular emails to your list. Include the popular promotions and coupons, but don’t forget about including helpful information for your customers. For example: If you’re a flower shop, send a newsletter out to your customers about what flowers are in season.
Invite your customers to your Facebook page and actually post! So many businesses have Facebook pages and just don’t know what to do with them.

This is your opportunity to really get to know your customers. Ask questions, pitch new product ideas, post pictures, host contests and share happy news.

4.Target your local market

Local marketing is a relatively new tool in your marketing tool box, but it’s definitely not to be overlooked! Local marketing through providers such as Google Places put your business right where your customers are looking for you. Google Places also provides another location for you to share pictures and information with your customers while also letting your customers comment on and endorse your business.

5.Submit and track your progress

Once you’ve created the infrastructure for your online marketing, you need to submit your website to all of the major search engines. This gets your website submitted, but doesn’t guarantee any ranking, so use tracking tools to monitor your traffic and progress.

6.Update your content

Fresh content is very important to search engine relevancy. Use the tracking data to determine which keywords your customers are clicking on to find you, and which pages are generating the most traffic to make content changes.

These are the essential steps to online marketing, and really the expensive tool in the mix is your time. Small business owners are notoriously short on time because of the focus on their business. You can cut out several of these steps by building a relationship with an expert in online marketing.

Source: NFIB

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