If you are a small business owner, then we do not have to tell you what kind of an economy we are living in today. You know better than we do everything about all the pitfalls of running your own business these days when every single sale is a matter of luck, combined with everything else that should be enough for running a successful small business. You will also agree that the owner of a small business these days needs more help than ever before and this is where, we believe, internet marketing can be of great service.
First of all, internet marketing is incredibly cheap when you compare it to other forms of marketing, even if you are operating on a strictly local level. When you compare the costs of internet marketing with other, more traditional types of marketing, it is very clear that we are talking about costs that are nowhere near as high enough. So, there is the financial aspect that makes it attractive.
In addition to this, it is much more precise. When you put out an advert in the local newspaper, you are wasting precious marketing power on people who were never your target customer base to begin with. With internet marketing, you are directing all your advertising efforts towards a potential market, not wasting a single penny on people who will take a look at your advert and then look elsewhere.
We also have to factor in the fact that internet marketing is reaching a constantly increasing number of people, wherever you live. Five years ago, we would not be recommending internet marketing to everyone. However, these days, when so much business comes from online sources, it is essential that you advertise on the internet. There are hard, factual numbers behind this. This is not just our opinion. There is a lot to be gained from online exposure and you simply cannot afford to miss out on it.
In conclusion, there is just too much to be gained from internet marketing that makes it essential for your small business efforts. In fact, you might actually take advantage of internet marketing options where you pay for a service only if you make a sale. If that does not sound attractive, then we do not know what does.
When it comes to winning you will need to define your goals of winning. Is it to make money off of your website or to rank high for a particular word or words? You can define your goals on your website pretty quickly. But is it really a good idea to build a website and then try to define your goals? It pretty much goes against what I try to teach everyday. The fact that you went out registered a domain and built a website tells me that you have not done proper keyword research. This is the single most important aspect of any project. I call it a project because that is what it is until it takes the form of something else. Without proper Keyword Research your project will take the form of a mess. An out of control mess that will suck the time and money right out of your life. It is most certainly like a gas guzzling car. The more you drive it the more it will cost you. Until the day you decide to get rid of it.
What do you want users to do after they see your advertisement? And how do they know that's what they're supposed to do? Your call-to-action should be more than just asking viewers to go to your website. Tell them to go to a specific landing page, one of your social media accounts, or your blog. After you make them want more, let them act on it with a compelling call-to-action. A great tool for connecting your print calls-to-action to your web presence is QR codes. QR codes enable mobile users to easily access the information/web page you're trying to direct people to. They're very easy to create (see here), and they're a great way to generate online leads from your offline efforts.
To expand on the previous tip, be sure that all your efforts are integrated. A successful campaign cannot exist alone, so connect the pieces of the puzzle. Want to introduce a new M&M character during the Super Bowl? Great! But how are the other M&M's reacting to this new little lady? Showcase a series of each M&M character reacting to their new friend's debut. For example, an M&M marketer could post a series of photos on Facebook of other M&M's reacting to the new M&M, and ask users to write a caption that matches the photo. Now you have an online campaign that relates to your offline effort and lets you continue reaping the benefits of your offline campaign for a longer period of time -- and for far less money.
Yeah, why not? A hashtag is another avenue for peering into the actual effectiveness of your offline efforts. Make a hashtag that is specific to your offline campaigns so you can track how many people are actually having a conversation about it. You can't monitor word-of-mouth, but you sure can monitor word-of-tweet! The easiest free way to do so is to use HashTracking.com. It updates the number of times a hashtag is used within the past 24 hours, so be sure to check after your event to see how the hashtag performs over time.
It doesn't even have to be a conventional event, like a trade show. Is a new version of your product hitting the shelves tomorrow? Are you expanding your services to a new location? It's okay to balance your blog content with information about your product or service. Your blog shouldn't be paragraphs of spam, but that doesn't mean you can't brainstorm brilliant blog content that will connect your offline and online efforts. HubSpot does this with blog posts about our Twitter chats -- for our lead generation Twitter chat, for example, we posted a blog post about lead generation concepts as helpful content that still promotes our events. You can apply this concept to any of your offline events, too!
When doing research for customers I have found many times that when it comes to keywords that the customer knows their products but doesn't know their customer. I was working with such a customer selling cartridges for check printing. When asked what the customer called the product they responded that it was called MICR. Come to find out MICR stands for magnetic ink character recognition. Now that we have the product name how was I going to implement a strategy to sell this product. What I found was most of the time the customer didn't know what kind of machine they had so they would just type in MICR Toner Cartridge into the search. This work's for the customer, but really didn't define for the vendor what they wanted beyond check printing cartridges.
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