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6 tactics whitepaper
1. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing By Nigel Milne Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC. 419 Lafayette St., 2nd FL New York, NY 10003 T (888) 234-0118 www.spectrumim.com
Contents Introduction - Develop a Tactical Action Plan 1 Tactic 1: Website Design The Essentials of a Great Small Business Website 4 Tactic 2: Business Listings The Importance of Local Business Listings & Profiles 6 Tactic 3: Local SEO Simple Changes Provide Powerful Local Search Results 8 Tactic 4: Paid Search Advertising Targeted Paid Search Ads are Efficient & Effective 10 Tactic 5: Social Media Tap Into Social Media for Cutting Edge Marketing 12 Tactic 6: Tracking & Measurement Keep a Close Rein on Your Internet Marketing with Detailed Tracking 14 About SIM 17 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 1 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Developing a Tactical Action Plan The Internet has undeniably become a huge part of every day life. In light of that fact it’s amazing that only a handful of small local businesses are taking full advantage of the Internet as a primary customer acquisition channel. Sure, more and more businesses are hiring those “don’t ask how, just sign a 12 month contract” local Internet marketing companies. But at the end of the day (or contract) these businesses have no sustainable marketing assets and are not benefiting in the long run. Today’s consumers want information fast and often while on the go. That desire together with wireless technology has made thick, paper phone books a thing of the past. Now when they are searching for a business name, phone number, location or store hours, consumers simply search for that business or service online and all of the information is at their fingertips within a few clicks. No more flipping pages and choosing eye-catching or sizable ads. Today it’s about the customer being able to find your business online and quickly. To survive in today’s world local small businesses need to implement a holistic marketing strategy that targets their customers through the Internet. With planning and specific tactics, businesses can ensure results, quality leads and even cost savings over the long term. Many small companies are surprised to find out the untapped potential out there and are pleased to learn how straightforward it is to get this marketing plan in place. As your business grows, your Internet marketing strategy can also easily grow with it using the tactics outlined here. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 1 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
There are six proven tactics for turning the Internet into a primary channel for small business sales and lead generation: 1. Have A Clean, Intuitive Website - A company’s website is its storefront to the world and the first impression potential customers have of the business. A good small business website should be easy to navigate, have useful information, communicate professionalism and when necessary, funnel visitors to complete an action (leads/sale). 2. Post Business Profiles & Listings - Customers are everywhere on the Internet and as a result businesses need to be everywhere. Businesses should ensure they are listed in as many business directories, local search engines and digital databases as possible to attract new customers and increase overall exposure. 3. Take Advantage of the Power of Local Search Engine Optimization – By making the necessary on-site SEO enhancements and embracing a relevant link building strategy, small businesses can generate a lot of free qualified traffic to their website. 4. Leverage Micro Targeted Paid Search Advertising – Pay-per- click advertising on major search engines is the fastest way to increase web traffic and grow a business. With accurate targeting and careful management paid search engine advertising can quickly become the primary business driver for a small business. 5. Establish and Maintain a Strong Social Media Presence - Social media has become a necessary tool for small business success. Social media channels provide the opportunity for small businesses to build relationships with both customers and prospects. Those relationships can have a direct effect on sales. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 2 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
6. Track and Measure Online Performance – By effectively tracking and measuring website activity and media performance businesses can continually refine and optimize their efforts to lower costs and increase conversions. The effect that the Internet has had on businesses is as limitless as the Internet itself. An online presence has allowed businesses to reach larger, global audiences while maintaining relatively low costs. Businesses that are able to implement the right Internet strategies and solutions face a much better chance of success. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 3 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
1. The Essentials of a Great Small Business Website As the first of our Six Proven Tactics for Small Business Marketing, having an impressive and easy to use website is essential. Not only is it often the best chance your business has to make a good first impression, it’s also a major online gateway. You need to make the experience a pleasant, helpful and memorable one. The Internet is quickly becoming the consumer’s method of choice for researching, shopping and even communicating with local businesses. Consider your website to be your online storefront. It must have all of the features and details that the ideal physical storefront would have. And with today’s technology and a well thought out plan, your business can have the best online storefront possible for a relatively low cost. Simple Navigation Browsers who make their way to your website are generally there for a reason. Even if they simply stumble on your site, it’s important to have well laid out information that is easy to navigate through. Clear instructions, a logical order and links that lead to useful information are all necessary elements to good navigation. Can your potential customers find their way around the site and gather the information they need to make a sale or initiate further contact? Or will they encounter dead ends and get lost in a maze of useless links? A site map and search functions are both handy tools to include. Make sure your small business website includes simple navigation, encouraging your customers to visit again and again. Helpful Information All data, pictures, facts and figures on your website should be as up to date and accurate as possible. Decide the information that will be relevant to the browsing customer and make sure that is front and center on the page. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 4 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Include sub-topic pages with clear links so that customers can dig deeper. Prices, stats, testimonials and accreditations are all useful to have on a small business website. Don’t forget the essential information such as your address, phone number, email contact address and store hours. Geographical details like your service area or range of shipping are helpful in two different ways. Not only will it inform your customer, but it may also help to drive local searches to your website. Professional Appearance You can communicate a lot to your customers by the lay out and appearance of your website. Even if you have a fun and light- hearted business, your site should communicate a professional attitude. Choosing a theme and carrying that through the site creates recognition and a uniform impression for the browser. All images and graphics should be high resolution and the fonts, headlines and links should be clear and readable. Make sure any links and downloadable content are secure. If there are payment features on your site, such as an online shopping cart, be sure to have a verifiable connection with a reputable online payment company. Generate Action Small businesses invest in their website to generate revenue and make sales. Be sure to include a call to action on your site, transforming browsers into leads and customers. Avoid being pushy or seeming like spam and think about the best approach for your specific market. When businesses leave out this important feature they are letting customers loose without taking advantage of a prime opportunity. It is like allowing your customer to leave the store without asking 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 5 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
if they need help or preparing a delicious sample without giving them a taste. If it is at all applicable with your business, include that call to action on your site. With these elements, your small business website is well on the way to generating leads and making sales. The Internet is full of potential and your business deserves to get in on it. 2. The Importance of Local Business Listings & Profiles Getting people to your website is easier if that site is in the places where people are looking. Online local business listings are quickly becoming the go to place for information, putting everything at the public’s fingertips in a few seconds. The days of flipping through an annual book of listings are disappearing and the Internet’s speed and interactive delivery are now the mainstream. Can your small business afford to be left out of the major online listings in your area? Go Global or Stay Close By? Most people use one of the major search engines to find a business. But there are also many local business listings and search engines that can put you on the top of their list while boosting your ranking on the major players as well. Some local listings are industry specific, others are geographical focused. It’s important to be included in the ones that can do your business the most good. They are all striving to make a mark and you can do much to boost traffic on your website by being there when they do. Many Different Benefits Small businesses are often dependent on local customers. Restaurants, personal services and contractors all need to be available when the nearby consumers are looking for a place to find what they need. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 6 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Having your business profile in local listings and digital databases will put your website directly in their path. Not only will more customers find your site, but many of the listings have interactive features that make your company more attractive and give you an edge. Post office or store hours and contact info in the profile. Some sites allow you to list special offers, sales and other timely information. Others will give you space for a portfolio of pictures, providing customers with a visual teaser of your company. Detailed maps and road level photographic views help browsers to find your location easily. The major listing sites are competing to offer Internet users new and ingenious ways to connect the virtual and physical world. Make sure your business is there as the latest features are added and more people discover the benefits of them. In some locations, there are also areas for listing site users to leave comments, ratings and reviews for your company. Keeping tabs on these notes left by your customers (or anyone else) is a smart move and allows you to be proactive if any trouble arises. Management Is Also Important Getting on the local and global listings is only the first step. Once there, you’ll need to practice good management of your profile. Making sure the information is up to date will give you proper exposure and allow potential customers to find your business quickly. Any changes need to be made everywhere your profile is listed. The good news is that the major listings will update for changes within a reasonable time. The local listings might even be instant. Other times, an update can take weeks and should be tackled by your company right away to minimize the effect of incorrect information. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 7 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
At times it may be necessary to delete your profile. Having a constant watch on these listings will allow you to handle that eventuality efficiently. Make sure your Internet marketing strategy includes building and managing profiles in local listings and search engines. Be where your customers are looking, take advantage of advanced, interactive features and keep your information instantly up to date. These steps are essential for your business’s online marketing success. 3. Simple Changes Provide Powerful Local Search Results Besides being user friendly, it’s important that your small business site be designed with the major search engines in mind. Content is king. And with simple changes, the words and terms included in your content can drive traffic to your site. Your local customers are online right now searching for information regarding your product or service. Sophisticated search engines filter their results based on the location of that customer’s computer, placing local and relevant listings at the top. Put your business on the first page by practicing local search engine optimization. It’s a Matter of Words The service area of your business should be prominently displayed on your website. Maps and visual icons are good for the browsing customer. But text that includes the specific local areas needs to be there as well in order to garner more attention from the search engines. Tying your geographical information to your keywords is best. For instance, a home builder in Dallas can put those two terms together in a keyword phrase to be ranked well for both local and industry optimization. The term “Dallas home builder” will bring many more qualified visitors to their website. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 8 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Simple enhancements can be made to your website that will result in heavy traffic. Having a qualified professional look over your site to make changes and recommendations is well worth the effort and expense. By altering the coding and layout, as well as the sitemap and content, a consultation can tone up your website for maximum local effect. Find out why the search engines may be missing your site. Look after details such as meta-tags and search engine submissions. Make the changes and cash in on free traffic through local search engine optimization on your site. Link-Building for Support It isn’t just the content on your website that drives you onto the first page of the search engines. Smart and relevant link-building campaigns will do wonders for your ranking. There are two major factors in link-building that make the effort worthwhile. The first is the keywords or anchor text used and the second is the relevancy of the pages your link is placed on. You want those links to include your local focused keyword phrases more often than not. That means our Dallas home builder would want that phrase and others like it to be used in the links. Having your chosen keywords in the anchor text will cleanly link that phrase back to your website and catch the attention of the search engines. Natural, SEO friendly articles are another way to build a quality link-back system. With blogs, social media and article directories, your information and expertise can be easily found and help direct customers back to your website for more. Make sure this outside content includes the same locally optimized keywords and clear links to your site. Choose the location of your links well, paying attention to the page ranking and audience of those sites. Network with other businesses in your industry or in complimentary industries to build links. Find out which social media platforms your target market is 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 9 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
using and put your business there. Ensure the sites that include your links are well laid out and search engine friendly, making it more probable that your link will be found. Being associated with high ranking sites allows your site to improve in the eyes of the search engines. Your Internet marketing strategy can be strengthened and given a boost with local SEO on site and off. A professional consultation and direction is a smart investment to make in the long term success of your online marketing plan. 4. Targeted Paid Search Ads are Efficient & Effective Small businesses are constantly on the lookout for effective methods of marketing that can be accurately tracked. If those methods can also be easily managed and draw customers fast, they have even more value. Internet marketing has brought all these features together in one product. Sponsored search ads on the major search engines will deliver great value and efficiency for your advertising dollar. This strategy for effective internet marketing has many different benefits. Customized and Specific Sponsored search ad campaigns are tailor made for your business. Geographical filters allow for more qualified leads. Eye catching placement on the major search engines will draw attention. And industry specific keywords put your ad right where potential customers are looking. Although the Internet is an enormous platform, there are ways to make your website stand out. With professional and knowledgeable guidance, your sponsored search ads will be targeted directly to your clients and bring in qualified customers that are ready to buy. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 10 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Speedy Outcome Organic search engine results take time. With content changes and link-building campaigns, your business will climb up the rankings and get to the first page after about 4 to 6 months. Sponsored search ads put you there instantly and will bring in traffic right away. Once your ad has been created, it will go live within hours and the traffic can begin. The search engines are busy 24 hours a day and seven days a week, which means they can put your ad to work at any time. Using this tactic together with local search engine optimization gives your business the best of both worlds and will boost sales to your goals and beyond. Cost Control One of the biggest attractions to pay-per-click advertising is the ability to control costs. Once you set a budget, the campaign will fit within that amount and draw in the traffic pertaining to it. Since you’ll only pay for clicks through to your site (and not for impressions), the cost is directly related to the number of qualified leads you receive. There are sponsored search packages available that include keyword research, ad development and management for one low monthly price. This allows you to guarantee a certain amount of clicks every month while keeping the costs well within your budget. Full service packages from industry professionals also offer to handle the cost-per-click bidding on major sites and deliver comprehensive reports on traffic. All of this adds up to good business sense and a well managed marketing budget. Detailed Tracking Business managers need to have a record of how their investments and campaigns are performing. With a sponsored 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 11 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
search ad strategy, you can have reports that display real-time results and allow you to make wise decisions about your marketing tactics. You can tweak the ads, change your budget and increase or decrease the frequency as desired. With accurate, detailed reports it is much easier to make smart decisions and drive your Internet marketing strategy in the right direction. It’s more than worth it to invest even a small amount per month into a targeted sponsored search ad campaign. Small businesses across the globe are utilizing this tool and seeing stellar results. You will feel the swell and growth of your sales right away and will be amazed at the success of this strategy. 5. Tap Into Social Media For Cutting Edge Marketing The explosion of social media continues to shape our culture and your small business needs to get on board. There is incredible potential for generating leads, building customer relationships and gaining exposure through all the popular social media platforms. Your Internet marketing strategy should include a well thought out and executed plan for joining the social media sphere. Not a Waste of Time Put aside any notion you have that social sites are a waste of time. If you think they’re populated by only teens and young people, think again. Whatever your target market, they are likely involved in social media in some way and your small business website can gain a distinct advantage by finding them there. Building relationships with your current clients and potential customers is never a waste. Not only will it increase recognition and give you another platform to promote your products and services, these sites will also give your business a human side. They will open up a 2 way conversation that can go beyond 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 12 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
traditional forms of marketing and actually save you time and money in the end. Market Research Social media sites are invaluable for informal market research. Ask questions, browse and listen to what the public is saying about your industry, your company and their world in general. Gather information and make contacts without ever having to leave your office. Some have compared social media to a gigantic conference or convention where every industry can interact and build on each other at the same time. Having a familiar presence on these sites make it much more likely that your target market will open up and be honest with you. The Internet allows anonymity and encourages people to speak their minds, letting your business stay on the cutting edge of trends, opinions and market changes. Local in a Global World Social media sites can also be used effectively in a local sense. With the guidance of a skilled online marketing professional, small businesses can connect with the nearby market and place themselves in areas where they will be recognized and found. Get in on the latest buzz. Set up a Facebook fan page and manage it well. Tweet and retweet to connect with customers, associates and suppliers. Social media has geographical information stored in profiles and that information can help you to focus on a closer group of people. Sponsored and Focused Ads Facebook also has pay-per-click advertising campaigns that can be targeted and formatted to suit your market. Just as with other pay-per-click strategies, you can control the costs of your Facebook ad and improve it regularly to keep it relevant and effective. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 13 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
Your business can also establish a fan base that opens up more features and a better ranking, as well as the ability to instantly update that group. Good Relationships Make For Better Sales Keeping in contact with your target market in an unobtrusive way is made simple with social media. Building good relationships with past, current and prospective customers will translate into qualified leads and more sales. Having a strong social media presence as part of your Internet marketing strategy is a must for today’s small business. 6. Keep a Close Rein on Your Internet Marketing With Detailed Tracking The beauty of harnessing the Internet for your small business marketing is how simple it is to track and measure success. With tools designed to track clicks, length of stay, repeat visits and even the location of the visitor, you can get a detailed picture of how consumers are responding to your online marketing. Perhaps the most important data available is where the visitors came from. Whether it’s through organic search engine listings, sponsored search ads or incoming links from other sites and directories, reports are available that will show which methods of attracting traffic are working and which are falling flat. On the Go Improvements Because Internet marketing is in real-time and doesn’t usually require a long waiting period for updates, small businesses can make changes and tweaks almost any time for little to no cost. That means you can take action right away based on the information acquired in weekly, monthly and quarterly reports. And it also means the action that you take won’t cost you a fortune. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 14 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
For many small business owners and managers, this flexibility allows them to try new marketing tactics out with very little risk. This is contrary to many traditional marketing methods, such as print, TV or radio ads. In those cases you spend the money, produce the ad and put it out there. Generally, there is no way to accurately track the response of the ad without undertaking a thorough customer survey yourself. And if negative results come back, there isn’t much to be done about it. The money is already spent. With Internet marketing strategies and detailed analytical reporting you will have a good idea of how customers are responding to your ad today. And if the results aren’t what you expected, changes can be made almost instantly to improve them. Not only do you have better control of the costs, but you can actually see the return on your investment in black and white. Planning For the Future These detailed reports can be kept on hand for planning purposes, laying out an accurate road map of how well your internet marketing strategies are doing. Allocate your marketing budget for the next few years better by examining trends, seasonal changes and the success of each tactic covered in this series. Reviewing the reports may convince you that certain online marketing methods really do work or that you still need to focus on others. Just as the market is always changing, your marketing strategies should be changing as well, keeping up with your customers and competition. Boost Your Conversions All of the work done to get traffic to your site is worth very little if those visitors are not converting to buyers at an acceptable rate. Through targeted campaigns and comprehensive reporting, your 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 15 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
sales will blossom and profits will grow. With professional local online marketing advice and direction, your conversion rates can be up to 10 times higher within months. Running a small business in our current economy is challenging. Marketing that small business to a fast-paced, savvy public is even more challenging. Using tactics proven to make the Internet work hard for your business and tracking the results carefully, you are well on your way to the growth and success you’ve worked so hard for. 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 16 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
About SIM Spectrum Interactive Media provides proven Internet advertising solutions that deliver new customers to businesses like yours. Whether you need to drive traffic to your website, increase customer phone calls or convert more of your website visitors, we have a simple, proven low cost solution to meet your business needs. For a nominal monthly investment we can significantly improve your business performance. We specialize in micro-targeted search engine advertising, website conversion optimization, local search engine optimization, social media campaign management and marketing performance analytics. With over fifteen years of Internet experience marketing large consumer brands, our team brings their results-proven approach to all our clients. In short, our clients benefit from our vast experience without having to pay for the extensive testing and optimization. Our long tenure in the online marketing industry includes working for clients such as Dell, Philips Electronics, MCI WorldCom, InFocus, Corinthian Colleges, Sun Microsystems, Intel, Agilent Technologies, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Burger King and Oppenheimer Funds. Contact Us (888) 234-0118 firstname.lastname@example.org www.spectrumim.com 6 Proven Tactics for Small Business Internet Marketing | www.spectrumim.com 17 © 2010 Spectrum Interactive Media, LLC.
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