Monday, June 8, 2009
Marketing your Business on the Internet - The Basics
Even if you know how important it is to market your business on the internet, you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend each month, and you may not be an expert on Search Engine Optimization or Keyword Advertising (yet).
This article is about using consistent, free (or cheap) marketing strategies that you can start using today to make a difference in your business.
The Goal of marketing your business on the internet is to get consistent traffic to your site from your target market.
The three key words to remember about internet marketing are Consistent, Targeted, and Smart.
Consistent marketing practices will help you build a trusted presence on the web, and catch people who visit the same sites regularly. New people are always suspect, and you may not start to get results until you’ve been around long enough for people to trust you.
A Targeted strategy will focus on the type of person who is most likely to be interested in your product or service. If your ideal customer is a truck driver between 40 and 50 years old, you should not be marketing to young single moms on Myspace.
Smart marketing means using the tools the big kids use. Find out what successful marketers are doing to get such high traffic and do what they do. My mentor Walter Hailey always told me that “It’s easier to copy genius than to create mediocrity.”
It will take time to create the kind of web presence that will generate consistent traffic (and revenue) for your business, but as long as your effort is targeted, consistent, and smart, you will attract quality customers without spending thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours of your time.
Let’s get down to specifics - what can I start doing in my business tomorrow that will put me on the path to generating more traffic for my site and putting more money in my pocket?
I will assume that you already have a website for your business, and a professional email address with a unique url (not generic like yourname@gmail. com or business@yahoo. com). If you don’t have one yet, you can get one free from Google. Your next step is getting your business name, image, and content onto the web where your target market will find it and become a customer/client.
There are three main categories of marketing strategies to investigate as you are creating a marketing plan: Networking, Blogging/Article Writing, and Advertising.
1. Social or Business Networking.
Become a part of a networking community where you can build your own profile or web page and interact with others in the community. There are a ton of networking sites on the internet, some of which are mostly for socializing about niche topics, others are more focused on doing business. Choose 3-5 networks to join, and make sure all of them are connected to each other, and back to your website.
Here are a few to get you started: Facebook, Myspace, Squidoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Direct Matches, Shmoozii, Biznik
2. Blogging and Article Writing.
They go together like peanuts and raisins. Every article you write for the blog should also be published on the web to as many article directories as possible, with your link included in the resource box. The more places your link appears on the web, the better. Update the blog frequently, put an RSS feed on your website and social networking profiles, and tell your friends about it. Search engines love fresh, new content that matches keywords, so including keywords in the blog content can help searchers find you.
For the beginner blogger, Google’s Blogspot is a good way to get started. Wordpress, Squarespace, Typepad, and Thoughts.com all have great templates and can be set up in a day.
As for Article Directories, you can submit by hand, but I wouldn’t recommend it. People getting real results with article writing have an automated service that submits articles to hundreds of directories automatically. I have found two: SubmitYOURArticle (web-based) and Article Submitter Platinum (Software). They are not free, but they are worth it if you choose article writing as one of your marketing strategies.
3. Advertising using Adwords, keywords, pay-per-click, or traffic exchanges.
A much less personal approach, advertising can give you access to a huge number of people for a relatively small cost - and most sites have free trials or sign-up bonuses that can help you create an ad that works before you start paying for it. Use the same keywords that are on your website and blog in your advertisements, and search engines will like you even more.
My short list of Advertising sites would include: Adland Pro, Bananapile, ReaLook, Spiderjump, and HitsFrenzy. Also look at Clickable - a service that can manage advertising campaigns on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others simultaneously.
Using a few of the services from all three of the above categories in tandem will create a tight web to capture your customers and send them to your site. As long as you update Consistently, Target your campaigns accurately, and be Smart about where you spend your money and time, you can see results in a little as a few weeks and secure your long-term success.
Best of luck with your research, stick with it, and remember that even in the tedious moments, owning your own business is so much better than going to work at 9am in a job that doesn’t fulfill you.
Do Good and Be Well.
Colin Turner has been an entrepreneur since the age of 17, and is a regular blogger and writer about home based businesses. He has become a mentor and trusted source for information on Internet Marketing for Home Businesses. http://www.marketingsystemforsuccess.com