Looking for some basic Internet marketing tips for your small business? While there are hundreds of suggestions we can make, here’s a list of 10 tips that we think 90% of small business owners will find useful.
1. In the words of Ron Simon, “What the hell are you trying to do?” What is the goal of your website? Ultimately, it should be to drive more business, but how exactly will it do that? Start with one goal – such as increasing the number of phone calls – and branch out from there. It’s important to set goals, but it’s just as important to come up with a system for measuring those goals.
2. Evaluate your website’s content – Content is King. What does your website say? Is the content unique and useful? Will people learn anything when they visit your site? When was the last time you added new content? Does your website have content worth reading? Does your content match your business goals?
3. The <title> tag. Visit your website. Look at the very top of your browser window. What do you see? Does it describe the page you’re looking at? Is it a unique description? Does it contain the keywords you want people to associate with that page of your website? If you’re a local business, does it contain your key local search keywords? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, check out this article all about title tags.
4. Call tracking and analytics. You can’t improve upon what you can’t measure. Analytics provide a tremendous amount of incredibly useful data, such as where your website visitors come from, how long they stay, and what they do on your site. Google analytics is free and pretty darn good, and we recommend it. We also recommend you make sure you can track every lead that’s generated by your website.
If you don’t have a dedicated phone number for the website that you can track calls on, visit HostedNumbers.com. They’ll issue you a unique tracking phone number and then forward every call you get to your main number while tracking the number of calls you receive, who called, how long the call lasted…etc. It’s surprisingly inexpensive.
5. Take advantage of free local business directories. There are a few great local business directories that are completely free. Visit GetListed.org, enter your business information, then take a moment to submit your business info to each of the directories shown.
Additionally, we do not typically recommend paying for directory placements…we suggest starting with the free listings and then seeing how it goes.
6. Check out your competition. Visit your competitors’ websites. Do searches for keywords related to your business. Find out what others in your vertical are doing and saying. This is a great way to get ideas and take stock of your own company’s online marketing efforts.
Does this dog look ugly to you?
7. Repeat after me – “I have an ugly baby.” A lot of business owners love their websites, but the first step to improving your website is to admit that it has some deficiencies. No website is perfect, and every website can use improvement. If you have a website, you have an ugly baby [sorry]. Just how ugly your website is, however, is open to discussion.
8. Start blogging. Every business, and we mean every business, has something to gain by blogging regularly. The list of benefits is long, but here’s a short list of reasons small businesses should blog.
9. Post online video. Video is still a little cutting-edge for some, but the benefits can’t be understated. Online video is the wave of the future, and every business needs to have something on YouTube, Metacafe, etc. If you’re concerned about expense here, keep in mind there are some low-budget options that won’t damage your brand while still providing concrete benefits.
10. Read as much as you can. There are hundreds of resources online rife with excellent marketing advice. Some of our favorites include:
- The SEOMoz Beginner’s Guide to SEO – If you really take the time to learn the information given, you’ll know as much about SEO as most people in the marketing/advertising industry.
- The Complete Guide to Link Building with Local Events – An excellent blog post explaining why every local small business owner should invest in small business marketing.
- Online Video 101 for Small Businesses – This is a free eBook that makes a great intro to marketing your business with online video.
- 6 Effective Small Business Social Media Strategies – There’s simply too much to talk about when it comes to social media, but this post is a good intro…reading Mashable.com’s Social Media news category is a great way to learn as well.