Small Business Online Marketing – 3 Big Mistakes You Want to Avoid

As you all know, it is crucial for any small business owner to have a presence online in this day and age. There are, however, some mistakes that you could make when creating and developing your website that could hinder your marketing objectives.

Here are 3 big online marketing mistakes that you want to avoid:

1. Your website is not a “direct-response” website. Many business websites simply exist for “branding” purposes, which means that they do not have a “call-to-action” for visitors. When a visitor visits a website, he or she wants to do something. The visitor wants to watch a video, post a comment on a blog, enter his or contact information in return for some information, etc.

You need to decide what the main purpose of your website is. If it is to help you collect leads, you must provide a mechanism for your visitors to provide you with their information.

2. Your website does not have a lead capture form. You need to build your database of prospective customers in order to boost profits. Therefore, you need a way to collect the contact information of the people on your website. You can create a lead capture form by using an autoresponder, such as AWeber.

3. You do not provide an incentive for visitors to give you their contact information. Just because you have a lead capture form on your website does not mean that people will just willingly hand over their contact information. You need to provide some sort of incentive for them to give you their information. Some examples of incentives include free coupons, special discounts, gift certificates, newsletters, or free reports.

Internet-Marketing Hexham: Strategies For Self Employed And Local Business Online Marketing

The mobile media explosion has arrived!

Unless you are so ‘out of touch’; you will most possibly be familiar with the Smartphone gripping the world. iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung Clone and Nokia: Everywhere you look someone will be using a handset to text, email, search the internet and most importantly in the case of small businesses and self-employed, promoting the use of invaluable internet marketing strategies for companies.

Online marketing for local business has become massive and is increasing at a phenomenal rate daily. It is predicted that by 2013 more than 35% of all searches will be done from mobile devices, this calculates to approximately 1 billion local search results to mobile users, the knock on effect being that businesses will benefit with increase in custom through the dramatic rise in clicks and local searches.

iPhone is big business. Mobile marketing, especially locally, is one of the fastest growing means of publicity. 15% of iPhone Applications (Apps), are local. Hence the urge to small or local companies to embrace these new opportunities to develop a simple, yet highly effective means of increasing business in today’s economic climate. Internet marketing for local businesses is at the fore-front of today’s advertising campaigns and as discussed, is evolving at an extraordinary rate.

Various strategies for local businesses to consider when interested in online marketing include, establishing exactly how people are searching for you. A recommendation for this is to ask a few people to search for your business via a local search online. For example, an outdoor shop could be ‘Outdoor pursuits in Hexham’, or simply ‘Camping’. This exercise will provide information regarding people’s search approaches and how easily they differ. For example, on an iPhone they could use a search engine such as Google, or an online application built in to the phone, they could also make use of a local ‘App’. This produces three different approaches, with three different results.

If your business takes action now and remains one step ahead of the competitor; if you implement the online marketing for local business approach and increase your online searches and clicks, then obviously your profits will reflect these actions.

Basically, if businesses register with the most appropriate and best online marketing company for them, and act before this knowledge becomes widely implemented, this knowledge will lead them to literally jump over and take the lead in the market.

Use a local company who know the area: No use enlisting the help of a city dweller if you are a business in a market town. Use a company with whom you can meet face to face to discuss things in detail. Use a company who are experienced in the provision of internet marketing strategies for self employed and small businesses. Enlist the help of a company who do not fob you off with just phone calls or emails.

Prepare yourselves for the rise in publicity, advertising and promotion of your business. Most importantly, get ready for the increase in customers when you see your business hit the number one spot in the rapidly expanding world of mobile marketing.

Small Business Online Marketing – Build a Business Web Presence

When you decide to market your business online, your business website becomes the target destination of your online marketing efforts. It is where you want your customers and prospects to arrive, have a rewarding experience, take action and keep coming back to.

Here are Five Easy Steps to Build a Business Web Presence:

Engage Your Visitors And Create A Community

In order to have a positive impact on your visitors and influence them in such a way that they stick around and follow your call to action, you need to make your website stand out from your competitors. Engage your visitors and encourage them to get active. Provide different ways for their voice to be heard. When they speak, listen! Solve their problems, provide solutions, entertain and inform. Other suggestions to create a community:

  • Include a forum on your website.
  • Post surveys or polls to discover more about your visitors’ wants and needs.
  • Encourage comments and feedback.
  • Host contests and sweepstakes.
  • Take into account other learning styles and deliver your content in various formats such as video and audio. By publishing your content in video and audio format you give your audience choices and add a more personal touch to your content.

Provide Value

People go online for two primary reasons, entertainment and information. Pretty much every online activity will fall into one of these two categories. If your website can provide both the information and entertainment people seek, the value provided will be rewarded with a return visit, a purchase or follow through on your call to action. Here are a few ideas on how to provide value for your customers and prospects:

  • How to articles, videos, and audio
  • Tips articles, videos, and audio
  • Case studies
  • Workbooks and reports
  • Interviews with experts
  • Product reviews

Design An Easy To Navigate Website

The average person will take less than 20 seconds to decide if your website is worth sticking around for or leaving for one of your competitors’ sites. First impressions make a difference and time is of the essence. When designing an easy to navigate site consider the following:

  • Simple is always good
  • Keep your look and options consistent throughout the site.
  • Organize your content, make use of categories and if need be, drop down menus.
  • Offer a search function where users can quickly and easily locate what they’re looking for.
  • Make it clear to your visitors where they are on your site and provide easy access to quickly return to previous pages and/or the home page.
  • Test the appearance of your website on different browsers to make sure every visitor has a good experience.

Design A Warm And Inviting Website That Is Easy On The Eyes

Have you ever visited a website that was hard to read, confusing, and distracting? Readability is critical to keeping a visitor on your website.

  • Use colors that are easy on the eyes.
  • Use graphics that aren’t distracting.
  • Keep formatting like underlining, bold and italics to a minimum.
  • Make sure the spacing between sentences and paragraphs are adequate.
  • Use a font size that is large enough for people to read and a font style that is easy to read.
  • Make sure your website loads in the shortest amount of time possible.

Inform, Educate And Provide A Solution

While people may expect you to be selling something, nobody likes to be sold to. Instead of hitting website visitors with a hard sell, inform, educate, solve their problems and show them the benefits of your products or services. Provide them with the knowledge to make an informed decision and they’ll be much more receptive and appreciative. Turn their visit into a “what have I been missing” experience. Overdeliver on everything you offer from the content to the customer service.

Essential Concepts to Know for Your Small Business Online Marketing

Online marketing is constantly moving towards more innovative ideas and strategies. The concepts that were a big hit yesterday may not be applicable today. So, it is imperative for every online marketer to keep himself updated with the changing trends. However, there are some essential concepts of online marketing which are the basics and will not change with time. Every small business owner should be aware of these concepts and make it a practice to learn and apply them in order to succeed in the online space. We discuss here the concepts briefly.

Users’ intent
Behind every search query on the Internet, there is an objective on the part of the searcher, which is nothing but users’ intent. Your target audience will be actively looking for some information/solution related to your business. So, if you are able to figure out the reason behind their search, you will be able to serve your target markets better.

List everything that your company offers. Look at the search queries that bring your customers to your site. All these things will give you a better picture about your user’s intent, by which you can design your online marketing strategies.

Authoritative content
There are so many businesses specific to your niche on the Internet. One thing that helps you differentiate your business from your competitors or other similar businesses is authoritative content. Well, what is authoritative content? Authoritative content, unlike regular content is more insightful, in-depth, practical, relevant and easy to understand. Keep these things in mind and use your expertise to help your target audience’s through your content.

Publishing authoritative content on your website helps your target audience identify you as a credible online business. It helps you to earn trust which is important to make customers loyal to your business.

User experience
Starting from the basic website design to making an online transaction you need to give a good experience to the user. Good user experience greatly helps your online success. It helps you create long-term relationships and encourage loyalty among customers.

Buying cycle – consumer behavior
Buying cycle of a customer has different stages like, some customers are searching on the Internet for awareness, and some are looking for solution while others want to directly purchase a product. Between awareness and purchase there are different stages like education, comparison, etc. So, unless you are aware of the complete buying cycle of your target customers you cannot acknowledge their needs at every stage of buying cycle. Based on the products/services you offer you should try to figure out all the queries your target customers have and try to provide a solution through your website.

Visitors’ point of view
Thinking from the visitors’ point of view is also an essential online marketing concept. If you put yourself in your target audience’s shoes, you will get a clear idea about what they want, how they feel about your website, products/services, brand, etc. This will help you make the necessary changes in your online marketing strategy.

People come to your website to find information, to find solutions for their problems or to make a purchase. If they find something not relevant to what they are looking for, they’ll leave and never come back to your website. This context explains importance of relevancy. Make sure you are including only the things that are relevant to your business/industry. May it be an image, text content, video or any other thing, it has to be relevant.

As mentioned earlier, these are the basic concepts every small business owner should follow while designing their online marketing strategy for their business. Ignoring these concepts and spending hundreds of dollars on online advertising and not focusing on online marketing will leave you in trouble. If you are new to online marketing, take help of a professional SEO service provider who is aware of these concepts and has the ability to design your online marketing campaigns around these concepts.