Harnessing The Internet For Business Marketing On A Budget

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Key areas of online marketing which smaller and growing businesses can implement on a budget.

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Harnessing The Internet For Business Marketing On A Budget

  1. 1. ness the internet Har es s ma rketing f or busin on a budget
  2. 2. With tighter marketing budgets during the recession, many businesses are turning to the internet for a cheaper solution. Almost every business, even those with a local customer base, can benefit from marketing on the internet. The key is to keep things simple and to look for the opportunities that offer the best value. This tutorial covers some of the best options for small and growing businesses for marketing online. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  3. 3. Public Relations PR represents one of the cheapest ways to promote your business online. • Remember, it’s not just about press releases, it’s about building relationships with online publishers and journalists • Create interesting news related to your business or make a comment on current issues. Send this out in a press release to contacts you’ve made at relevant online publishers and to journalists • Use a press release sharing service such as www.responsesource.com – your press release will land straight in a journalist’s inbox. You’ll have to pay to subscribe to the service but if you keep up your PR activity it will pay for itself • Search for sites which let you upload news stories and press releases for free. • Write articles and find websites that will publish them and give you a link from them back to your own site. This will not only drive traffic but will also give you back-links to boost your search engine rankings. • If you get any coverage in your local paper, try to get it onto local websites too www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  4. 4. Optimising your website If you have a website, it’s important to optimise it for listings on the major search engines. This is time consuming but it’s free! • Structure – how is your site set up? Is the good content buried deep? Are your pages in a logical order? • Navigation – your main navigation menu is the most important. Make sure all your major pages link from this menu. Make sure the menu contains your most important keywords • Page names – make sure each page URL has a page name that is relevant to the page content. Use keywords in the name where possible. A string of numbers after your domain name won’t help the search engines identify the page. • Keywords – identify the keywords that your potential customers are most likely to search for and then use them in the wording on your site. Specifically, put a keyword in the page header, the first paragraph and use it on any relevant links. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  5. 5. Optimising your website For more in-depth information about how to optimise your site for search engines, visit the Simply Business Website Marketing Guide: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/website-guide/ Remember:  Keywords are highly important. Investigate which ones are relevant to your business using this tool: www.google.com/sktool or www.vretoolbar.com/keywords/  Keep it simple. If your site is too complicated you’ll have a difficult time optimising it  Content is king. The more relevant content you create for your website – articles, guides, lists etc. the more likely those pages are to appear in search engine listings www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  6. 6. Creating content Great content is essential for any website. Creating news, articles, product guides, videos, webcasts, blogs, forums etc has the following benefits: • It helps search engines to index your website and your pages to appear in the listings • It gives other internet users something to link to from their own websites, blogs, forums and social media sites • If others want to link to your content this generates back-links to your website which are another essential ingredient for getting ranked in search engines such as Google • It keeps your existing visitors coming back to your site – as long as the content is updated regularly • It acts as leverage for your own social media activities www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  7. 7. Paid search listings – Pay-per-click Pay-per-click can be a very cost-effective form of online marketing. It can be very cheap if you pay for keywords that aren’t very competitive or popular, but even for the more expensive keywords it is often still cheaper than your regular advertising campaign. • Try Google and Bing as a starting point • Identify the keywords that are relevant to your business and then check them regularly, weeding out ones that aren’t giving you any return on your investment • Create a separate campaign with its own ad text for each keyword group. For example, use the same ad for variations on phrases like ‘business insurance’ &‘insurance for business’ and a separate one for ‘accountants’ insurance’ • Create a landing page on your website for each of these campaigns, which is directly relevant to the keyword or phrase. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  8. 8. Directories and review sites A large proportion of people now search online if they are looking for a service, product or even a high street shop. Can you afford not to be listed on the directories that these people search in? • Try traditional directories such as yell.com as many people still use this as a fall-back • Newer directories such as bview.co.uk help out local businesses as well as national ones. You can post a profile and users can post reviews. This site also allows you to post discount vouchers. • Review sites can be very helpful for those looking for services or specific products. Try to get your business listed on sites like qype.com, welovelocal.com, ciao.co.uk, reviewcentre.com • There are a plethora of industry specific sites on which users can search and leave reviews, including for restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, builders and tradespeople www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  9. 9. Generate leads online There are more websites springing up for business and consumer services. These offer businesses a way to generate leads from customers searching online. Some examples are: www.mybuilder.com www.ratedpeople.com www.cleanersregister.com www.ukaccountingfirms.co.uk www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  10. 10. Social Media There are a lot of social media sites and some can be used effectively to promote a business if done in the right way. • Forums – there are many different forums for all sections of society from mums to the disabled and for all areas of life. This is great news for a business. • What to do? Get involved in the discussion. Use your expertise to answer people’s questions, post links to useful information and articles and start discussions around key issues. Do this and you will then get the opportunity to tell other members about your business. • Social networks – choose networks that will allow you to connect with others who might be good business contacts or who would be interested in your business, such as linkedin.com or ones specific to your industry • What to do? Create a profile with information about your business and your personal experience. Reach out to other users to make connections www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  11. 11. Social Media • Blogging – setting up a blog gives you the opportunity to have your say on key issues relating to your industry and on any other topic you’d like to cover. Popular blogging sites are blogger.com or wordpress.com. With a good blog you can build up a reputation and regular readers. • What to do? Plan out your blogs in terms of content and frequency. If you don’t post consistently you won’t attract followers. Link to other useful sites and content from your blog. Post your blog on your website via an RSS feed. • Twitter – many people don’t understand Twitter. It’s 140 character status box and invitation to say ‘what’s on your mind’ confuse people with what is actually an excellent tool for connecting to others in your industry, getting involved with discussions and promoting your web-content. • What to do? Set up an account and then search the site for terms that relate to your business or to things you are interested in. Follow people who you think would be interesting or helpful. Follow people who have lots of other followers. Then create several posts that you think will catch the interest of others. Use keywords with a # before them. Post new content every day. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  12. 12. Social Media • Facebook - the daddy of social media sites, facebook has now also introduced features for businesses, such as the ability to advertise to targeted segments of the users. Most brands concentrate on the social side of it, however, and create profiles and fan pages. • What to do? Think about how you could promote your business without making it too obvious. Remember, people like to connect around issues that are important to them, not necessarily to products and services. Unless you have a big brand such as Coca-Cola you’re unlikely to build a following from your business name. Instead, start groups and fan pages around more relevant issues. For example, when promoting their tampons to teenagers, the company didn’t set up a ‘Tampax’ fan page, they set up a group to talk about women’s issues. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  13. 13. Easy e-commerce Selling online can be expensive to set up, however there are quick and cheaper options to get you started. • Ebay and Amazon. Setting up a shop on these sites to sell your goods is easy and quick. You just need to keep an eye on the fees to make sure you aren’t paying too much out of your profit. • Software – you can buy off-the-shelf software to integrate a shopping cart and payment system into your website. These require varying amounts of technical knowledge. • PayPal – this is one of the most popular online payment services and it also offers a checkout system which can be integrated easily into your website. Remember you need to manage stock and postage as well as taking orders on your site. www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  14. 14. Website Analytics Analysis of your web traffic is one of the most important activities you should be doing and it is free! • Choose a free analytics package like Google Analytics • List all your pages in the analytics software • Useful metrics you should look at: • Visits to the site • Page views • Which pages are most popular • Most popular entry and exit pages • Where you traffic is coming from • How long people spend on your site and how many pages they look at while on there • Keywords generating traffic from search engines • Popular content www.simplybusiness.co.uk
  15. 15. About SimplyBusiness.co.uk SimplyBusiness.co.uk offers businesses of all sizes a way of comparing insurance quotes from a range of insurers, buying the policy and then managing it online. In support of small business owners, Simply Business also offers a library of business articles covering all aspects of running a company. Simplybusiness.co.uk also offers invoice finance quotes for businesses that need help balancing cashflow or with late invoice payments. See our full Website marketing guide for beginners here: http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/website-guide/ www.simplybusiness.co.uk

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