Every small business NEEDS some form of Internet Marketing
Small business owners are generally at a disadvantage when it comes to marketing their business. Why? Mainly because you are too busy running your business to learn about marketing. You probably don’t have an IT and marketing department that can help you through the process of Internet marketing. You may not even know anyone who is knowledgeable about the Internet and the techniques used to incorporate it into your marketing.
We have prepared this report to give you the information you need to get started.
Nike, the world famous shoe manufacturer came up with the greatest slogan ever, “Just do it.” This slogan can apply to any business, any endeavor, or any situation. The thing that stops almost everybody from achieving success is simply doing it. Most people can’t take the first step. That’s what puts you, the small business owner, light years ahead of the average person on the street. You took the first step, you started a business and you are running it now.
How many mistakes did you make when starting up? How often did you have to go back and change things or go in a different direction? How many times did you wish you had done something different or began something sooner? The point is that you always did what needed to be done to keep moving forward in your business. Even when you weren’t sure you had the courage to “just do it!”
That is what you need to do now. Internet marketing is becoming more and more necessary to the small business owner who wants to succeed. The days of putting an ad in the yellow pages and having people find you are coming to an end. The Internet is becoming the preferred search tool to find local and global companies. It has become a way of life for many people. Smart phones allow you to search for a business and then GPS leads you to them. The old ways of marketing are no longer as powerful or essential.
Internet marketing levels the playing field for all businesses large or small. A small business can dominate search engine rankings just as easy as a large company. You can survive an economic crisis by using Internet marketing and email marketing strategies. You can be the leader in your field and crush your competition by putting into place proper Internet marketing strategies.
You can learn everything you need to know by searching online. All the answers are out there. The problem is that you must sift through all the information and determine what is good and what is not and then implement it. In most cases you do not have the time, energy, learning curve or resources to do this efficiently. That is why we suggest you hire a professional company to help you in this area. However, as we said this article will give you good and valuable information on how to get started yourself if that is what you prefer.
It is important for you to understand what Internet marketing is and how to implement the different strategies and techniques available so that you do not spend money needlessly or make to many mistakes. You don’t want to waste your money or not see any benefits from your marketing efforts.
So let’s get started with the basics of what you need to know and implement in order to begin a successful Internet marketing campaign.
First off, you must have a website. If you do not then the first thing you must do is have one created. Do not use your friends or family member. Hire a company that is experienced in marketing as well as web design and development. You can use the list of things below to help find the right company for the job.
If you do have a website here are a few things that you need to check:
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Does your website have a map to your place of business?
- Does your website have a way to capture visitor information?
- Is your contact information easy to find?
- Is your website optimized for search engines?
- When searching for your product or service does your website show up on any of the first 3 pages of the search engine?
- Do you utilize analytics to see what pages your visitors are actually visiting and where they are coming from?
- If you sell products are they easy to find, do you have a shopping cart, detailed photos, optimized photos, pricing on every product, etc.?
- Is there continuity from page to page in your design?
- Are your website graphics optimized so your site loads quickly?
- Is your website scalable so that as your business grows so can your site without having to create a new one or spend a lot of money to add to it?
- Can you update your website or do you have to pay someone to do it?
- Do you have an automated system to contact and answer customer inquiries?
These are just a few things that are important to have on your business website. Most of these are common sense but you would be surprised at how many small business websites are missing a majority of them. Your website is your first priority when it comes to Internet marketing. It can provide you valuable lead generation, information for your customers, and future marketing efforts via email capture.
When it comes to creating a website we feel that a content management system is the best choice for almost any type of business. It allows the developer to separate the design from the function and it allows for easy growth, easy search engine optimization efforts, easy navigation and many, many modules that can be added as required. Modules such as galleries, forums, directories, news channels, e-commerce systems, help desks, feedback mechanisms, polls and surveys, just to mention a few.
Blogs today offer many of the same capabilities of the content management systems and may be a good alternative for some businesses.
Now that you have a website you must be able to drive traffic to it. The important thing to remember when trying to bring traffic to your website is that quality is better than quantity. It is much more important to convert a high percentage of your visitors to customers than to simply have thousands of people visit. It’s no different than when you advertise in the newspaper. If they come to your business and don’t buy then you have wasted a portion of your money. Below you will find methods that you can easily do yourself or have one of your employees do. They do require a little time to take effect but they are tried and true methods that work.
This method is very easy to get started. The key is to write articles on your products, services, or whatever it is you offer to the general public. At the end of each article you will include a resource box that contains information about yourself, your business and a link to your website. These articles are then submitted to article directories. Once an article directory has accepted your article they will post it online and make it available for anyone to read. They are also available to other websites that may want to use your articles as content for their own sites which gives you even more exposure. Every article that is posted will have a link back to your website which allows people and more importantly search engines to find your website.
Be sure that the articles written are of good quality. You are putting your website and reputation at stake when people are reading them. One of the great benefits of writing articles is that you will begin to be known as an expert in your field (if you have quality articles) which makes people trust what you have to say. When people trust you, they will buy from you. If you don’t want to write articles or you don’t have time, you could assign them to an employee or outsource them to one of the many freelancer sites online. Be sure to review them before submitting them to ensure you are happy with the quality and relevance.
Below are some of the larger and more well known article directories. These are good places to submit your articles because the search engines spider these sites daily. Another place to put your articles are in local or niche directories that are specific to your product or service are:
If you wish to outsource your articles there are many sites where freelancers will provide you bids on almost any kind of project you could ever have. When searching for a freelancer to write your articles for you be sure you explain in detail what you are looking for, how many words the article should contain, and what the payment terms are. Below is a list of some of the freelance sites you could use to find writers for your articles:
- Google Maps
If you haven’t already, stop reading this and go now to put your business on Google Maps.
This is the easiest thing you can do to help people find you online. You can put up a logo, all your contact information including address, and telephone numbers. You can even include a coupon for free. When people use Google maps to search for your business a popup will show when they click on your link and Google will give them all the pertinent information about your business (that you submitted) and will allow them to write a review on your business, get directions to your business, the payment types you accept, hours of operation, your contact information, your logo, heck you can even put up a video. It is the easiest, most cost efficient method there is to get your business information online TODAY.
Social Media Marketing
This is all the rage today. If you have employees in the teen to mid-twenties you already have prime help in getting into this marketing method. It is a little more tricky that others because it is a social environment and most people will need to get to know you first before you can start promoting your business. So if you begin to use this method be sure to tread lightly at first and start forming relationships. Answer questions and show concern for others and this will help you get started. You must not confuse social media sites with social bookmarking sites as they are two different types of websites and should be used in different ways. Here is a link to an article that give Below are a few of the more popular sites that are being used by people today.
- Email Marketing
This is perhaps the easiest money generating, marketing method of all. Once you have created a list you will be able to stay in contact with your customers and provide them with any kind of information you wish them to have at any time you wish to send it. Below we outline the tools and steps necessary to begin an email marketing campaign. However, remember that the body and content of your messages are VERY important in your communication and conversion process. If you are not familiar with writing copy that sells you may want to outsource this part of the process.
You must have an autoresponder. Autoresponders allow you to automatically send messages upon certain triggers or you can use them to send out email blasts to your whole list or segments of your list.
You must have an opt-in form on your website. It should appear on every page so that there is always an opportunity for your prospective customer to sign up. You cannot send email that is unsolicited so it is important to build your list with this form
Don’t send sales messages ONLY. Provide your list with relevant information, relationship building content, event information, product releases, etc. Do not simply hammer them with sales or they will opt out of your list.
Frequency of the messages you send is important as well. If your form says they are signing up for a monthly newsletter then you should only send them a monthly newsletter. Choose your words carefully when communicating with your customers.
Keep track of your statistics. You should know how many people opened your emails, how many of your emails we’re actually delivered, did they click on any links you had in the email and a host of other metrics that are available. By knowing this information you can better tailor your future emails and even segment your list to specific customers based on their clicks and/or responses.
Last but not least is you must always be testing to see what works and what does not. Testing is the key to any kind of marketing you do.
This is a powerful strategy that allows you to distribute your message through many different video channels such as YouTube, Google Video and a host of others that are absolutely free and then link to those videos to your site. Your exposure could be millions of views if you have an especially entertaining video. Even if you do not reach that level you can put your message across to your viewers in a medium that has been proven to convert your visitors.
You don’t need expensive video equipment to create a video. Most computers today have software that allows you to take video from your camera, a power point slide or other mediums and add transitions, music, overlays and other effects to promote your message. Another benefit is that your message is available at anytime the person chooses to see it. You do not have to be there to pitch your product or service. Let your video do the talking!
This is a powerful marketing tool, but it is not for the weak of heart or those with no resolve. Proper pay-per-click marketing requires a special skill set that takes quite a bit of experience or knowledge in order to be successful. However, when done correctly you can receive the most targeted and motivated traffic of any other method. You must be able to do several things well to be successful at this:
Keyword Research – You must be able to determine what your prospective customers are searching for.
Copywriting – You must be able to produce an attention pulling headline in 25 characters or less that will motivate your prospect to click the link to visit your site.
Landing Page – Your landing page is where the customer who clicked on your ad comes to on your site. 99.9% of the time this IS NOT your home page. The page they come to could be a sales page, a product/service information page, an opt-in for free report page or any number of other kinds of landing pages. This page is extremely important because it must convert your visitor from a prospect to a customer.
Generally this method is best left to a professional. However we would be remiss by not including it in the options you have available to you as we feel it is one of the best tools you have at your disposal.
There are many other marketing/advertising methods you can use online but most of them do not provide enough return on your investment to warrant mentioning in this report. We hope this has been of value to you and will give you a head start on your competition.