Internet Marketing Channels Every Small Business Should Be Using

There are many tools that can be used to enhance your Internet marketing mix, and finding the perfect combination of marketing channels to use can be difficult.  Channels such as SEO, social media, e-mail marketing, and blogging have proven to have significant impacts on businesses.  There are many opinions about what methods of search engine optimization work best; we are going to brush on a few today!

Target Your Audience

Finding the best method(s) really is dependent on what you are trying to accomplish. Are you a “brick & click store”,” brick and mortar” only store, are you selling services, or products? Who is your target market B2C, B2B, women, men, young, or old? What is it you are trying to achieve, brand awareness, increased traffic, education, sales, or a combination of a few of these? Defining your purpose on the internet is where you need to start, after that you can begin to decide what type of Internet marketing channels will best suit you needs.

Focus

Since there are so many different marketing channels, paid, free, low effort, high effort, etc., we want to break down the channels we believe can help every small business boost visibility in search engines, increase brand awareness, traffic, and provide a high return on your investment. Make no mistake, just because these are a few of the methods we recommend, they are the only methods you should use… but they are a good start. As with anything worth the effort, you get out what you put in.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The first method that is critical to your on-line success is search engine optimization (SEO); SEO is the implementation of a combination of techniques with the goal of achieving high rankings in search engine results. If you have put time, money and effort into creating a website, SEO should be part of the expected costs of promoting it.

Purchasing a website is similar to purchasing a car; there are expected costs such as fuel, insurance, regular maintenance, and on occasion major maintenance. You could skip some maintenance to save money, but then don’t be surprised when your car begins running poorly. The more you ignore it, the worse it gets. The same is true for your website, SEO should be an expected cost; you cannot expect to show up in a Google search result if you neglect your SEO. There are several factors that go into SEO including, on-page optimization and off- page optimization. Optimizing a website takes time, know-how, and continuous attention usually best left to experts.

Be Social! Be! Be! Social!

Social media is your next best, and usually free, bet for reaching you target market. Again, this can be dependent on the type of business you are, but using social media has ALWAYS shown to be beneficial. One of the keys to successful social media is to not just talk about your business, or focus on “pitches” i.e. “come check out our new…”, or “get 10 percent off of …,” one rule of thumb is if it sounds like an advertisement don’t post it, because it is annoying to potential clients. Americans, in general, have an aversion to advertisements, and when we feel bombarded, especially in an area like Facebook, or our mobile phones that we view as personal and private, it’s like an evasion of privacy. The best strategy is to figure out what your target market is interested in and talk about that, offering advice, answering questions, and being a tastemaker or an experienced resource.

Email

E-mail blasts and e-mail marketing are relatively inexpensive ways to reach your target audience to remind them who you are, what you are up to, and if you have any specials or promotions going on. E-blasts should be sent to people who you know are interested in what you are offering such as current or past clients, and Opt-in’s etc. Individuals, who have opted-in, especially new opt-ins, tend to have high open rates.  Sending too many e-mails can annoy people, and is considered spam.  Plus nobody likes it! Being reported as a spammer will get you black listed; permanently. When integrated with other marketing channels such as social media, email marketing has strong potential for ROI.

Blogging

Blogging is our final topic! We promise! Websites with newly generated content gets crawled by spiders, and the more content your website has the better!  -Which is why blogging is so important!  If you create a website and never update it, it loses its momentum. Think of your personal Facebook or Twitter account, when you comment to your friends, family and followers, and make regular status updates, they reciprocate by commenting back; if you don’t do these things, they won’t either, because they want to engage with people who they know also want to be engaged. So, think of spiders as your Facebook friends, if your website doesn’t ever update, they will never stop by to search it.  And if they do, it will be deemed outdated.  By updating your site, with quality, useful, and unique content the spiders will crawl and index often. Similarly to Facebook, what you right about should be useful and engaging, and about what potential clients, patients, or customers find value in.

The Rest!

There are several more marketing channels small business owners can use to gain exposure, such as pay per click, affiliate marketing, video marketing, display advertising, on-line public relations, and viral content campaigns. For the ambitious business owner you may be able to take on several of these strategies yourself or at a minimum with a little bit of help from a professional consulting agency. Many business owners don’t have time to manage all the needs of their business as well as their website, so they leave all their Internet marketing strategies to the experts, some can handle a few things like Facebook, e-mail blasts, or blogging, but managing several can become overwhelming for even the most experienced Internet user.

Here at Atwoodz we can help you create a package that work best for you,  whether you need us to handle all your Internet marketing strategies or just some of them , we can help you create a marketing plan that fits your needs,  and helps maintain your websites quality now and in the future.