5 Key Concepts of Small Business Internet Marketing
June 20th, 2012
Starting a small business internet marketing program can seem overwhelming. This is why so many first-time marketers fail to get past the starting gate. They are dismayed by the endless variety of marketing tips, tools and techniques. It’s a condition commonly referred to as analysis paralysis, and it’s all too common among small business owners.
Not to worry. Once you understand the key concepts of internet marketing, you’ll have a much easier time plotting your course — and following it. Here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Use Multiple Marketing Strategies
There are many ways to promote your business online, and choosing between them can be difficult at first. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start with one technique and then branch out as your resources allow. In fact, this is usually the best way to go about it.
Here’s a partial list of small business internet marketing strategies you could pursue:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click marketing (PPC)
- Blogging / blog marketing
- Social media marketing
- Email / newsletter marketing
- Online lead generation (often in conjunction with other strategies)
Bear in mind you may not have to use all of these strategies. You may enjoy a great deal of success with two or three. Generally speaking, it’s best to employ at least two internet marketing strategies. We recommend starting with search engine optimization (SEO) and at least one other strategy.
Using multiple strategies gives you an added layer of protection. Imagine a scenario where you relied entirely on pay per click (PPC) search engine marketing. What would happen if you no longer had the budget to buy all of those clicks? Your entire marketing program would evaporate overnight. Poof. Gone. It’s a bad position to be in, and that’s why we recommend using a mix of small business internet marketing strategies.
2. Focus on Search Engine Visibility
Any business with a long-term internet marketing strategy should be using SEO. Aside from social media, it’s the easiest way to reach a large audience with minimal effort. That’s not to say SEO is easy. It’s a time-consuming process that requires a lot of research, writing and networking. But the rewards of an SEO campaign far outweigh the effort required to attain them.
There’s a lot to be said for appearing on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo for relevant industry terms. It can produce a steady stream of website visitors, many of whom will turn into customers. Search engine optimization is the way to achieve this goal. Elsewhere on this website, you’ll find a wealth of tips for boosting your SEO performance.
3. Tap Into the Social World
Social networks have evolved to be a valuable marketing tool for small business owners. In fact, they can help you level the playing field between your company and your bigger competitors. Your small business internet marketing program will benefit from having a social component. It’s a way to turn strangers into customers, and customers into advocates.
Start with Facebook and Twitter. You can use these sites to grow an audience of like-minded fans and followers. Just don’t preach to them. Social networks are not the place for heavy-handed marketing. Instead, use them to connect and share with people who are interested in your industry, your company, and your products or services.
4. Track and Monitor Everything
When it comes to internet marketing, almost everything can and should be tracked. You can use a website analytics program to see which keywords and phrases people are searching to find your site. You can use social-media monitoring tools like Sprout Social and Trackur to see how your company is being discussed on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Tracking is vital, because it helps you learn which of your internet marketing strategies are giving you the best results, and which ones need to be modified or expanded.
5. Outsource When Needed
There will come a time when you have to outsource one or more pieces of your internet marketing program. Even if you’re the highly motivated DIY type, there will be certain things that are simply beyond your grasp. It’s better to outsource an important task than to neglect it due to a lack of knowledge. It also frees you up to focus on what is most important, like running your business. As your marketing program evolves, consider outsourcing such tasks as link building, search engine optimization, and content development. These are some of the more time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks.
Small business internet marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Yes, you have a seemingly endless array of tips, tools and techniques to choose from. But you don’t have to use all of them. Nor should you. Focus on building a strong core with proven strategies, and grow from there. It’s the key to overcoming analysis paralysis.