Online Marketing

Entrepreneurs and small businesses often struggle to work out the best way to begin an effective Internet marketing campaign for their business. The answer isn’t immediately straightforward because as any good online marketer will tell you, the marketing you do depends on what you want to achieve.

In addition, many people shy away from aggressive marketing because it requires, to some extent, that you put yourself out there. Opening yourself up for criticism or disparaging comments is an especial concern for people who are not used to creating content online. Accordingly, many small businesses stick to less effective techniques because they are perceived to be “less likely to attract personal criticism“.

While it can be hard to take the plunge and start getting your name out there, it is really important you do so as quickly as possible. The sooner you start writing content regularly, the sooner you will get better at it, and the sooner you will build up a good base of SEO enhanced, useful and relevant content that will generate organic search traffic and boost your PageRank.

Small business owners often shy away from writing content because they aren’t confident in their writing skills, feel they don’t know enough about SEO, link bait, social marketing and so on. Again, by not taking the plunge and creating high-quality content, you are never going to learn how to create great content and drive traffic.

If you have shied away from creating content and spreading it around the major websites because, for one reason or another, you are uncomfortable with the whole idea of opening up your skills, writing and knowledge for the world to see, then here is something that should help to allay any fears you have:

  1. Most people are delighted to read useful, non self-promotional content
  2. You don’t have to get everything right the first time
  3. There will always be people ready and willing to criticize what you do. So what?
  4. Gaining knowledge, skills and expertise in Internet marketing will lead to success only if you try it

I guess you can summarize the relationship between small business and Internet marketing by saying the following:

There’s no guarantee you will succeed with Internet marketing. Only a guarantee that you will likely fail without it.

Before you do resolve to start creating great content, it’s important that you concentrate on making it:

  • clear
  • concise
  • relevant
  • engaging

Make sure the material is at least intelligible and will be useful, funny or generally conversation worthy to at least one interest group out there. Don’t write overtly marketing oriented copy. Make your content genuinely informative. The less marketing and sales oriented it is, the better (in the long run).

By spending time gaining knowledge and experience of your target audience, you will find that writing great content becomes easier and easier. People will begin following you on twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. They’ll retweet your content and ultimately start contacting you because they are familiar with your knowledge and expertise.

This is when you start generating proper revenue and succeeding online.

Some very true points in this article.

If you’re not depending on social media alone,  you probably rely on search engine marketing (SEM) to bring customers and referrals to your Website. Actually, you’re probably using some combination of the two. That’s good! It means you’ve got a good grasp on what it takes to get attention for your business in the global online marketplace. Our first link in today’s Small Business Trends roundup looks at the common ground between the two approaches. Enjoy!

Overview

Why your business needs the best of both worlds. In the era of Facebook and Twitter, the importance of search engine marketing can often be overlooked. One reason business blogs have remained popular despite the repeated reports of their demise is that they stand with a foot firmly in both worlds, able to be easily shared through countless social media formats yet also strong tools for SEM. BizSugar Blog

Tools

Using the Google Keyword Tool. When approaching Search Engine Marketing, your first step will be an application that should be in every search marketer’s tool box and will put your online business ahead of the game when it comes to attracting customers and referrals. Chris Hamilton’s video is a great introduction, but you’ll want to experiment with the tool yourself to harness the real possibilities. A Sales Tip A Day

New search marketing from the cloud. Software tools like this one allow an “organic search management” approach to marketing on a global scale and are easier to leverage than ever before as they become part of the suite of software applications available through cloud computing. How difficult will it be for your small business to compete with global giants in this landscape? Sys-Con Media

Strategy

What SEM is not. Search Engine Marketing is many things: a great way to drive traffic to your site, a great tool for reaching customers seeking your product or service and a great way of targeting your market and tying it to your brand. What it is NOT, argues Josh Shatkin-Margolis, is advertising. Here is a new approach to thinking about search marketing for your business. Ad Age Digital

SEM and social media both important tools. Both businesses moving into online marketing and those already there know the importance of a search engine marketing approach to develop targeted search engine traffic. This approach is different but in many ways just as important as social media marketing. Here, digital chief operating officer Kalli Purie of India Today Group talks about her company’s focus on both “Facebook and SEM.” Shouldn’t your business do the same? techcircle.in

Human Resources

How to hire a Search Engine Marketer. Seriously, this might be one path you might wish to  consider if your small business is looking to start maximizing search engine potential. The truth is that if your business needs to reach customers online, it will be a consideration sooner rather than later. Here Kelly Gillease, vice president of marketing for Viator, gives some no-nonsense advice. Search Engine Land

Trends

Investing up for marketing on the Net. Spending for both SEO and paid search are up, say a recent report, demonstrating a greater interest on the part of businesses with an online presence to invest in SEM. For those involved in Search Engine Marketing this is good news, of course. If your business offers SEM services, it’s time to get out there and market what you do. If your business needs more search engine traffic, it’s an investment to think about. Vertical Leap

More on SEM investment trends. Here’s a sample of the 2011 UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report referenced in the post above plus info on how to purchase a copy of the complete version. Suffice to say that what is true of the UK search market can probably be assumed to be more broadly true as well. What are you doing to make SEM work for your business today? Econsultancy

SEO

How Google changes affect strategy. After the latest update frokm the world’s largest and most influential search engine, search marketers should again be rethinking their strategies, improving the quality of their efforts and learning how to avoid trouble that can cost them big in the long run when it comes to search. Here are five tips that can help an online business owner or marketer, no matter how small, to cope in an every more complicated search environment. Inc.com

SEM goes social? After all this focus on search in a social media and social networking landscape, it is possible the twin worlds of search and social will collide again, this time with reports that search engine Google is planning a “social search” option that will marry the two concepts once and for all. How would you add a social dynamic to your search marketing campaign. Stay tune as this story develops… WSJ

Some interesting ideas about search engine marketing.

We’ve talked about social media marketing and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your business. Now it’s time to look more deeply into the mechanisms that make SEM and, to a lesser degree, social media work for your Web presence. We are talking here about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is the overall method for getting more traffic to your Website from search engines, and it starts like this:

Basic Overview

Getting the most out of Google. Since the latest Google update, online businesses and other Web publishers have been focusing on what they may be doing wrong to incur the wrath of the search engines. As it turns out, however, there are also some things you can do that are very right when it comes to improving the way your business shows up in search results. Here’s Aaron Wall to tell you how. SEO Book

The problem with keywords. When considering SEO, the first place most small business owners should start is with the content creation they do for their Website, blog or social media presence. And the most important aspect of this process from the search engine’s perspective is perhaps the use of keywords. Mastering keywords is the first step in learning about the connection between search engine results and the content you create. But many first time content creators may need a bit of help along the way. Leading Results

Marketing

All about inbound marketing. The thing we call inbound marketing is evolving and often has more than one definition. In this case, think of it has the combination of good content, SEO and social media that helps potential customers find your Web presence and eventually buy from you. But how does inbound marketing work, and how can your small business use it effectively? Virtuosi Media

SEO run amuck! Here are five things you definitely want to avoid in your small business SEO when starting out. Learning the basics of SEO to use on your small business Website can be a real challenge. It isn’t always obvious what to do. Plus it takes some practice and some good old fashioned experience to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Here’s some advice to get you started.  Small Business Trends

Public Relations

The power of PR. While many public relations folks may know zilch about SEO, Conrad Saam, marketing chief for online legal directory Avvo, suspects the same is true of Search Engine Optimization experts when it comes to PR savvy. But why is it important to interest mainstream journalists in your latest online marketing efforts? Three words: high value links. Search Engine Land

Tech

Blending search with apps. A new startup is blending two of the most powerful concepts of the Internet in a new approach that may dramatically change the nature of search. How might such innovations change your search engine marketing and the way you manage SEO to keep your brand and Website on top? WSJ

Advanced Techniques

Small biz SEO. Techniques for maintaining good SEO are the same whether your business is large or small.  Though the size and resources of your company may determine how you implement them. Here are ten tips for link building no matter what size your company may be. Small Business Marketing

Getting creative when managing search marketing. There is no one way to market your business effectively on the Web. Though certainly there is a body of techniques proven effective in this respect, the fact is that individual creativity can play a huge role. Duplicating someone else’s approach may not always yield the same effect. Be creative. Be innovative. Stand apart. Search Engine Watch

Research

SEO more science than magic. To prove that the techniques used to make Websites easier to find by their target audience attracting more organic traffic from search engines is not a dark art but in many ways a simple, beneficial and helpful science, Danny Sullivan introduces the comprehensive “Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors,” a helpful chart that may have the unfortunate side effect of making you think you’re back in high school chemistry. Search Engine Land

ROI

How much should online marketing cost you? Whether you’re doing it yourself or outsource the efforts to an “expert” or “guru,” one SEO firm claims small businesses should pay for online marketing efforts based on the results they receive. Main Street SEO provides a free report to guide small businesses when buying SEO services. Whether you outsource or do the work yourself, what is SEO costing you? Web Wire

Some good resources for learning more about marketing your business online.