Small Business Internet Marketing Strategies…
Internet Marketing is a now a must do marketing activity for any small business wanting to prosper in the so called Information age. However, with this being said, marketing your small business on the Internet does not need to be expensive, nor does it need to be complicated.
Opportunities to market your small business are many and varied, just like in the real world.
As a small business owner you just need to choose from the variety of Internet marketing options available to you, and then consistently apply these systems and strategies to get measurable results. In fact, small business Internet marketing can be a very cost-effective way of promoting your bricks and mortar business locally and/ or to the world.
So, let’s hear these strategies I hear you say. And, how does one apply them?
For the average small business there are only THREE approaches to Internet marketing that one needs to consider, being…
1. Paid search marketing (Pay per click marketing, and its numerous variations), and… 2. In-context link marketing (being commercial links within content on a specific topic), and… 3. Natural search marketing (SEO, content marketing, blogs and its numerous variations).
So, with these different approaches, what are the pros and cons?
1. PPC SEARCH MARKETING:
Paid search marketing works a little like the marketing you (as a bricks and mortar business owner) already know. It’s paid advertising. You pay for placement of your ad, and it’s placed before potential prospects who then find your PPC advertisement while searching the Internet for solutions to a problem. Who sees your PPC advertisement is determined by the keywords and keyphrases YOU chose for your individual PPC campaigns, and the effectiveness of your PPC ad.
The benefits to you (the pros). Well, when correctly targeted, you’ll reach prospects, fast.
The CONS: A) This is a specialist skill. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can lose a lot of money, fast! B) Hiring a PPC specialist can be expensive. C) You have to continue to run your PPC ads. D) Competition for commercial keyterms is fierce. This continually drives their cost up, and you only get to play as long as you continue to pay.
2. CONTEXT within CONTEXT LINK MARKETING:
This model utilizes other people’s existing web content (for your advertising benefit). The text links are placed within their keyword focused web pages. So, let’s say you’re selling financial services. Your keyword-related hyperlinks are run within the content about (guess what) financial services. People click on that hyperlink and end up at your offering about financial services.
The PROS: Information is the currency of the Internet. When you use these embedded hyperlinked, and within context ads correctly they can be a very effective advertising medium for small business. The clickthroughs may be lower than the PPC model, but the quality of visitor is usually much higher.
The CONS: A) Best results are achieved by utilizing specific landing pages, different landing pages for different ads. To be effective one needs to use a search path specialist. B) Competition for the profitable commercial keyterms is fierce which drives costs for these keyterms up. And, you only get to play as long as you continue to pay. C) You have little control over where the in-context links are placed within the web pages. The system places the ads for you.
3. MIMICKING NATURAL SEARCH MARKETING:
Think about this. How do YOU use the web? I’ll guarantee you that if you’re looking for a solution to a problem that you do what millions of other people do everyday. You go to your favorite search engine (usually Google) and type in your problem (a.k.a. keyphrase). Then, your search engine presents you will likely answers. When a small business interfaces with the fundamental reality of the way people use the Internet THEY win.
Note: Search marketing is different from SEO. SEO (search engine optimization) relates to the optimization of existing web sites to make them search engine friendly to the search engines.
The PROS: Natural search marketing is about being found FIRST when people search the net for a solution to a problem. This type of web marketing actually benefits the searcher, and it is never viewed by them as an advertisement. Search marketing allows savvy local businesses to compete on a global level, because there is no shortage of niches one can dominate using search marketing strategies and methods.
The CONS: A) Search marketing strategies require more effort than the potential throwing money at the wall techniques of the other strategies. B) It can be a slower approach than the other methods discussed. However it has been proven time and again that search marketing is an ideal and cost effective method for small businesses to use on the net.
To summarize… Marketing on the Internet for small businesses no longer needs to be seen as a mysterious event. There is still be a great divide between those businesses who are using the web properly, and those who don’t. However, armed with this information, you now have a choice.