6 Tips for Small Businesses: Getting Started with Online Marketing

As a small business owner, you know that time is money. You simply do not have the time to devote to online marketing efforts that may or may not generate visitors to your website and convert them to customers. You have a finite amount of time to devote to online marketing efforts. Moreover, you need to see a return on the time investment when you allocate your valuable time resources to online marketing.

Most small business owners agree that internet marketing would benefit their business. However, with limited time available to learn the techniques of online marketing and even less time available to monitor successes that do not immediately translate into ROI, small business owners need a lean, mean initiation strategy to quickly and efficiently implement online marketing.

Six tips to help small business owners get started with internet marketing include:

Land that User!

The most important page of your small business website is the landing page, also known as the homepage. Your homepage must engage the user and compel them to investigate other pages within your site. Your landing page should not include all of the information about your business that you can stuff into one page. Instead, your homepage should give users a taste and leave them wanting more. You can accomplish this task in several ways. You might provide a teaser paragraph from three or four articles with the “Read More” link at the bottom of each paragraph. You have probably seen this technique in action. Once the reader is engaged by the first paragraph, they will click the link to read the rest of the article.

Content, Content, Content
Fresh, relevant and valuable content is essential to engage users. Few small businesses are entirely unique with regards to the products or services they provide. Therefore, you need to offer value in the way of content to your users. Content is not only important for engaging users, content is also a major factor utilized by the major search engines to rank your site in search engine results pages, or “SERPs.” Regularly post content that is of value to those that may visit your site, such as applicable blog posts, articles, and interesting information. If you do not have time to generate new content, several content resellers and freelance authors are available to lend a hand.

Get Social

Social media is a great way to increase the visibility of your business. However, just creating a profile page for your business on Facebook and expecting users to flock to your site won’t work. Create a Facebook “Fan” (business) page instead of a generic user profile page for your business. When you create a business page, you will have features that are not available to profile pages.

Once you create your business page, it is important to engage users. Post fresh, relevant and entertaining content, such as videos, articles and specials for Facebook Fans. Engage users by promptly answering questions, posting surveys and requesting for feedback from your users.

Offer a Clever Call to Action

Users usually don’t freely offer their contact information. However, you can obtain their contact information in exchange for something they view as valuable. Offer a discount coupon and ask that users register with their contact information. Make a white paper available for download and ask that the user provides contact information to access the download link. Get creative with your call to action and beef up your customer contact list.

Keep Your Current Customers Happy

Reward your current customers with discounts, loyalty offers and other incentives. Notify existing companies about any internet marketing campaigns that you might initiate and provide them with an incentive to “Like,” “Follow,” or become a “Fan” of your business.

Discover Monitoring Tools and Never Give Up

When you embark on an online marketing campaign, you may not see the ROI as you would with traditional advertising. However, various tools are available to measure you efforts. Tools that assess the “temperature” of your company’s reputation on social media sites are available. Twitalizer is a tool to measure your reputation on Twitter and TwentyFeet measures your reputation on both Twitter and Facebook. Several other tools are available, both for free and for a fee. You might also use other tools, such as the free Google Analytics, to measure success by new visitors to your site, click-thrus from other sites, and so on.


About the author - Gerad Hoyt is an online marketing specialist with SatelliteBroadbandInternet.org.