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Web Marketing Strategies For Small Business Or How To Get Noticed Online Without Blowing Your Marketing Budget!
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As a small business owner, you have probably heard that the Internet is the place "to be" to get the word out about your products and services. The problem is, to get noticed online among the billions of other websites out there, you do need to implement some web marketing strategies.

It is not enough to build a website and hope people just turn up. It's the equivalent of opening a shop in the middle of a quiet country lane and hoping the word gets out about your business without any advertising. Unless you are very lucky, that simply will not happen.

Ideally, your business website marketing strategy starts before a you publish a single pixel online. However, for this article I will assume your website is live on the Internet and now you want it to earn its keep and start bringing in more clients.

For a steady stream of targeted visitors you will need to incorporate a combination of web marketing strategies. Marketing online is not like your Christmas card list, you don't do it once and then leave it again until next year!

Web Strategy 1. Registering your business on the local online directories. Google Places is the most important directory for your small business online. This is a very powerful business directory that incorporates Google Maps. A well completed listing here can ensure you first page visibility on Google for local searches. For a small business, a Google Places listing is the easiest way of improving online visibility.

There are thousands on online directories and review sites, choose those which are relevant to your business sector and location. Ensure your details are correct and consistent across the online directories. To manually submit your business details to the main directories can be quite time consuming but is well worth the effort so that your listing is complete and correct.

What are the benefits?

  • Business listings from authority sites are often shown in the search results, so they can drive traffic to your website.
  • Links back to your website can improve your website ranking, particularly in Google
  • Your Google Places listing also benefits as citations and reviews from the larger directories can appear there and improve your status.

Web Strategy 2. Online Press Releases News releases are a fantastic way to get noticed online. For best results they should be keyword targeted and written in a news style. What is news? It can be anything from announcing a new product or service, to sharing your knowledge about an event.

For example, an accountant may explain why it is important to complete your tax return correctly. A new computer virus may be doing the rounds and an IT company can explain how to protect your computer systems.

What are the benefits?

  • Press releases syndicated online can drive a spike of targeted traffic to your website
  • Because press releases are often reprinted on blogs and news sites, your website gains more valuable incoming links.

Web Strategy 3. Pay per click advertising For a very quick way to get noticed online, paid advertising can work well. Your ad is displayed across whichever network you have chosen (e.g. Google, Facebook, MSN/Bing etc.) and you pay for each time a person clicks on your ad.

This strategy can get very expensive, very quickly. For best results do your keyword research, be specific with your targeting and direct traffic back to a specially made landing page with a clear call to action rather than your main website. Monitor your advertising campaigns without fail and be specific with your budget.

The benefits?

  • Very quick way to drive targeted visitors to your website

Web Strategy 4. Search engine optimisation (SEO) SEO is a long-term strategy, do not expect results over-night! The basics of SEO is to provide a well structured website that is easily crawled by the search spiders and to use a combination of on-site and off-site optimisation.

On-site optimisation includes using keyword targeted content and correct meta data and tags (the pieces of code the search engine reads). Off-site optimisation is basically linking back to your website from other sites on the internet.

The benefits?

  • Good SEO will increase your website rankings in the search engines, thus providing a steady stream of “free” traffic.

Web Strategy 5. Article Marketing I can't write an article about web marketing strategies without including article marketing! For best results, this method is an ongoing strategy. In its simplest form, you create content articles related to your business and submit to article directories.

Your article should never be a sales pitch, but instead focus on providing information your target audience is looking for. Answer their questions, solve a problem they may have, provide some value or entertainment.

The benefits?

  • Article marketing helps to establish you as an expert in your field.
  • Links back to your website in the resource box or article, both for targeted traffic and search ranking described earlier
  • Articles are often reprinted by other web publishers providing an even wider reach.

Web Strategy 6. Video Marketing You don't need to sit in front of a video camera and talk to use video as a marketing strategy, so if you're a shy retiring type like me, don't worry! There are many software tools available these days that allow you to create video presentations and they don't need to be professionally produced to be effective.

The benefits?

  • Informational videos are a great way to establish your “expert” status
  • Video is a good way to engage with your audience and build relationships
  • Syndicating videos can build links back to your website
  • Keyword targeted videos can be ranked in their own right in the search engines

Web Strategy 7. Social Media Marketing Social media incorporates everything from the social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Reddit, to micro blogging like Twitter to the big social networking sites such as Facebook. Rather than be overwhelmed by the scale of this marketing method and jumping on the latest band wagon, it's worth doing some research as to which platforms will work best for your small business.

Social media is just that, it means being social and building relationships with your audience. It is not a method to set up and forget, it will need regular contributions and maintenance to be effective. Like the above web marketing strategies, it involves more that just constant sales pitches!

The benefits?

  • It is an ideal way to form and nurture relationships, people do business with people
  • A good way to establish your brand and expertise in your business sector
  • An ideal way to naturally build links back to your website

Using a combination of web marketing strategies will increase your online visibility and get your business noticed online. The Internet levels the playing field, your small business can realistically beat the competition in a cost-effective manner.

Not every strategy will be ideal for your small business especially if you are working on a tight marketing budget. Before you pay for your next Yellow Pages advert, or local paper ongoing classified ad, consider talking to a business online marketing consultant and discover how your marketing budget can be more effectively used online.


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