For small business owners the Internet has proved to be extremely beneficial. Unlike traditional forms of advertising and marketing the Internet provides several advantages that helps small business to reach more potential customers and also get better value for money. While traditional advertising requires organizations to spend thousands of dollars on branding and promotional activities, with online advertising and effective search engine optimization better results can be achieved at much lower cost. Moreover results achieved in the Internet media offers more lasting benefits than conventional promotions.
Small business owners can reach a large customer base with the help of effective search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategies. More than 80% of people searching for goods and services start with Internet to find them. Therefore if a small business can attract even a small part of these potential customers to its website and eventually convert then into actual buyers it can increase its online revenues significantly.
Internet marketing, which includes SEO and SEM, requires formulating and implementing effective strategies to draw more targeted traffic that can eventually be converted into customers. Although every business must consider optimizing their websites in the search engines, for e-commerce website it is an ‘absolute must’.
Small business enterprises engaged in e-commerce face fierce competition nowadays. To stay ahead of the competition they need to be visible to the targeted visitors and quickly draw their attention. Ranking higher in the search engines is the first major task, followed by successful branding campaign.
For a small business owner to achieve their highest and best return on investment, it is crucial to first formulate a strategy before starting an internet marketing campaign. Then you can begin taking advantage of comprehensive SEO tactics involving various proven methods for driving more traffic to your site.
1. Know your Audience
This is the most important task since your entire internet marketing campaign is directed towards your niche audience. If you fail to know your audience you will target the wrong people and subsequently lose business. A little research to identify who are your customers and also to know how they look for goods and services in the search engines will help you make the right strategy.
2. Set a Goal
Unless you have a well-defined goal, you do not have a direction. Therefore it is important to set the right goal. Once you have your goals clear you can use the optimal amount of resources and channelize your efforts in the right direction. The budget for small business marketing can be estimated once the goal is set.
3. Select the right SEO techniques
There are several SEO techniques that will prove helpful for your internet marketing efforts although the amount of benefit you can derive from any single technique can be difficult to ascertain. A mix of various techniques is necessary to have a balanced SEO campaign. Basic SEO will include a balanced
combination of Niche Directory Submissions, Social Media Marketing, On page optimization through effective Meta tags, great content, a working internal link structure and a site map to name a few. Other important techniques include link building campaigns and excellent PR and article marketing strategies. Oh, and don’t forget about analyzing your competition! What are they doing differently than you? What’s working and where can you make changes to your strategy to achieve similar results? Use Alexa and other traffic/competitive measurement tools to check up on your competition.
3. Measure the Results
Without measuring the results and properly analyzing how your website is performing you cannot know if the search engine techniques are bringing positive results. However, it generally takes around 3 � 6 months to get tangible results from an organic online advertising and marketing campaign. Measuring the results periodically will help you identify if anything is wrong in your strategy or if you need to intensify your campaign. I strongly recommend incorporating a measurement tool such as Google Analytics to provide the tools necessary to measure your
5. Make proper adjustments
After measuring your results to determine what’s working and what’s not you will need to make adjustments. Internet marketing is a direct response medium and A/B testing is crucial for success.Make changes to improve your results. This will be an ongoing process, not a one time deal. Google, Yahoo and even the smaller search engines continually change their algorithms. So, what worked one month may not work as well the next. Simple testing and making minor adjustments when needed will keep you ahead of the curve.
David Peters is a recognized internet marketing specialist and co-founder of Net Point Marketing , an internet marketing and web design firm specializing in helping small business owners gain greater online visibility. For more advice on improving your websites traffic, contact David here or visit Net Point Marketing or David’s blog, Internet Marketing for the Rest of Us.