What can businesses do to promote themselves online? Well there’s probably a hundred or more ways to promote a business online. But I’ve got it down to my top 10 online marketing strategies to businesses can use to convert leads to sales.
1. Online marketing plan: The first thing a business must do before they start mucking around with keywords and social media is to plan. Every business that either has or wants an online presence must start with a comprehensive online marketing strategy.
2. SEO: Search engine optimisation is a natural follow on from your online marketing plan. From your plan you should have worked out who your target audience is. This will then determine your keywords which you can analyse further to identify the most profitable keywords for your website.
3. Social media: If you have a small business website but you’re not using social media strategies then you only doing a half job for your marketing. Facebook and Twitter are a great way to promote and market your business. Thousands of businesses have worked out the marketing power of Facebook but only a handful are using Twitter. My advice is to learn the marketing power of Twitter and co-ordinate it with your Facebook strategy. it’s not hard.
4. Images: Google has a specific search function for images. These images come from somewhere ie websites. If you sell a tangible product then you it is definitely worth putting images on your website and using image descriptions to describe these with relevant keywords. You may end up being on the top row of images. Images can boost website traffic very well, if used sparingly.
5. Online articles: pretty much what I’m doing now. Small businesses can write a handful of online articles that link back to their website.
6. Trust marketing: This is an online marketing philosophy rather than a strategy. Trust marketing is all about building relationships not flogging a product.
7. Social bookmarking: These are share sites I suppose you could say. Submit your website or online articles to social bookmarking sites such as Digg & Reddit and build a following.
8. Online forums: Research online forums relevant to your industry and post quality submissions.
9. Pay-per-click advertising: PPC as it is known can be highly effective in your overall online marketing strategy. Google AdWords and Facebook have very well known PPC platforms that can do great things for small business.
10. Video for SEO: You don’t have to be George Clooney or Meryl Streep. Using video to promote your business can do wonders for your SEO. Submit videos to YouTube, don’t do the hard sell, rather discuss your services or industry, make it entertaining and include relevant tags.
These are just some online marketing tips for small business to boost their online presence. I’ll end where I started. There are hundreds of ways businesses can promote themselves on the net. Pick the ones that you feel you are most comfortable with in terms of your knowledge and your time.
When Twitter first turned up people were a bit bemused by this website that only allowed people to communicate in 140 characters or less. I must admit I found it a little bemusing and amusing to tell you the truth as to what enjoyment let alone benefit would come of a site that allowed only one sentence to communicate. Now Twitter is essential for online marketing.
How wrong was I! Social media is now critical for most businesses in their marketing plans. Twitter is now used by over 75 million people across the globe. We have now seen the power of Twitter when it was used by Egyptians during their 2011 uprising, and the Queensland Police who used it to maximum effectiveness for information distribution during devastating floods and Cyclone Yasi at the beginning of 2011.
Businesses have now well and truly grasped the benefits of using Twitter and Facebook for their online marketing strategy. Most big businesses tweet and many medium sized businesses do as well. There is no reason why small business can’t use Twitter to boost credibility, find sales leads and boost their website search engine optimisation.
But as a small business, how do you use Twitter to get the full benefit?
Lets’ take a look at some rules of the game that may help:
Tweet often (at least once a day)
Use hashtags to link your tweets to specific and relevant subject areas. This means your tweets will hit a ready audience. For instance if I tweet the following “Check out these killer #onlinemarketing strategies…”.By using the hashtag onlinemarketing now becomes a hyperlink. When people click this link they will be taken to the #onlinemarketing subject page where you will find lots of other online marketing ideas.
Follow lots of people (because they will probably return the favour).
Follow your competitors. This is important because people who follow your competitors are interested in what you both have to offer so they will see you have followed someone they have followed and then they are likely to follow you. Sounds confusing but it works.
Don’t use Twitter to flog your product or service, use it to promote your industry knowledge and therefore credibility. This is all about trust marketing and relationship building.
Make sure you have your website on your profile page.
Put a picture up instead of the default Twitter avatar.
Consider using programs such as Hootsuite to schedule your tweets.
Target niche areas so you’re not competing with hundreds of other businesses.
Try to respond personally to those who are talking on Twitter about your business
These are just a few ways to use Twitter as part of an online marketing campaign for small business to boost website traffic.
With any social media strategy every small business must be aware not to spam ie direct promotion. There is a much more powerful selling tool for online selling known as Trust Marketing. Build your credibility and expertise so people can trust you. This will make direct promotion much easier down the track.