Thursday, 30. June 2011
If you own a small business you know that marketing is necessary, but getting started my seem intimidating. You might not know where to start, or if you have a marketing plan in place, you may not be getting the desired results. So if this is the case, and you’re interested in jump starting your small business marketing, there are a few steps to use to get the most out of your marketing plan.
Many small businesses already have a marketing plan in place, and may very well be using online media to engage a wider audience. This is specifically true for small business selling online. But with so many terms, plans and services, someone may not know where or how to begin. The world of online marketing is an industry unto itself filled with hundreds of companies and services guaranteeing to get you more business. And without proper understanding, you could easily become flustered and give up, missing out on the real benefits of an online image. It may seem difficult at first, but with some general information, it’s actually quite easy to comprehend. And before you know it your business could be reaping the rewards of a good small business marketing.
Online marketing doesn’t have to break the bank, and it also doesn’t have to be convoluted with complex strategies and methods. One of the first things a small business should put into action is their website. A business website is the epicenter of all brand activity and should be made a priority. Many elements create a strong website that goes beyond a pretty home page. Content, keyword optimization and web design are only to name a few, but they all play an important role.
Websites should be optimized for a wide range of connection speeds and browsers. Heavy graphics and animations are nice and do work in some instances, but if they are too abundant, users who may have a slower connection may not experience the website to its full potential, or worse, they may not be able to view it at all because it won’t load. Navigation should be simplified, resulting in fewer clicks to reach key destinations. Also, navigation should be easy and uncomplicated. Therefore, users can find content without difficulty. An added plus for businesses is the use of click tracking. There are some analytics services that monitor web pages, and track where users go, this gives businesses a good idea of which content works and what doesn’t.
A tried and true method of increasing traffic is through the use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM cannot only bring traffic onto a website, but it can also improve the content as well. SEM and SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, shouldn’t be looked at as two distinct methodologies, instead they should be used in tandem with one another to create a better plan. The analytics and tools used with SEM can greatly improve your SEO knowledge base.
Having SEO content placed into a website is necessary in today’s online media. The first step in improving content overall is to use keywords to gauge how customer’s search for the particular services or products being sold by the company. Using a keyword search tool can help you get into the mindset of your customer, and see exactly how they search for your products. Once that is done, adding SEO is crucial. Taking the knowledge learned from keyword searches and incorporating them into the content displayed on the website is a method. This method entails simply, using popular keyword phrases and integrating them into online content. Another method is cross linking pages on the website. This would involve adding links to key articles or blog posts on other articles or blog posts. There are other methods that can also be used, but the outcome remains the same, improved visibility on search engines.
Regardless of the methods used for SEO, content must always remain relevant, dependable and timely to your customers. This comes back to the age-old adage of knowing your target customers and their expectations and needs.
General Small Business Marketing
Through the use of small business SEM, a website’s popularity can increase overtime, leading to more potential customers. In order to do this efficiently, a business has to have a solid grasp on the fundamentals, and create a small business marketing plan that is both goal oriented and realistic. Goals should be set and target audiences should already be well noted and researched. The home website should already be outfitted with SEO content, and attempts should be made to circulate the website around using social networking sites, partners or blogs. Analytics and tracking tools should be installed in order to gauge your performance against set goal markers, and if targets aren’t met content should be researched, and the marketing plan should be amended.
Pay-Per Click (PPC) marketing is a way to advertise the company website, and to help draw potential customers. There are many services to use, and time should be spent researching proper strategies in order to maximize its effect. PPC is an option that should not be over looked by any business, and if time constraints are too tight to dedicate the time to understand the process, companies could be hired to ensure the best outcome.