Internet Marketing For Your Small Business

A decade ago, the internet wasn’t considered an important part of a small business marketing strategy. Today, it’s paramount. That doesn’t mean that your small business marketing strategy has to include a lavish 25-page website with sounds, flash movies, and thousand-dollar graphics. It doesn’t mean that you have to spend $5.77 per click to advertise under the keywords “small business marketing” on Google. It does mean that you need to understand, at the very least, what the internet can do for your small business marketing.To gain that understanding, you’ll need to learn about the four most fundamental pillars of internet small business marketing: 1) websites; 2) search engine optimization; 3) pay-per-click advertising; and 4) affiliate marketing.WebsitesWebsites are the foundation of the Internet. So the logical first step in developing your internet small business marketing strategy is to set up a website. Unless you’re incredibly tech savvy or have a large budget to spend on your internet small business marketing, you’d be better off starting simple.To begin, think about what small business marketing goals you want to accomplish with your website:Do you want to tell potential customers about your products or services?Do you want customers to be able to buy directly from your site?Do you want to offer visitors valuable information?Do you plan to use your website to reach outside of your current network or primarily to communicate with the contacts you already have?No matter what small business marketing goals you want to accomplish with your site, at the very least you’ll have to register your domain name (your website “address”) and sign up with a web hosting service.Search engine optimizationThe cheapest way to optimize your small business marketing website strategy is through search engine optimization (SEO). To understand SEO, first think about how visitors will find your site. There are three principle ways:They’ll know your web address already (perhaps they got it off your business card or other small business marketing materials) and they’ll simply type it in on the address line
They’ll find your website through a link they found somewhere on the Internet
They’ll search in one of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) for a keyword or key phrase that relates to your business.In internet small business marketing, the trick lies in getting your website to rank on the first (or even second, or third) page of results that come up when a visitor runs a keyword search. Search engine optimization is the art of doing just that. The most powerful way to improve your search page rankings (and, thereby, your small business marketing results) is to have relevant keywords embedded throughout your site’s content.Pay-per-click advertisingStrategically placing relevant keywords in your site content and having other pages link to yours are called “organic” ways to improve your search engine ranking. Another way to maximize the effectiveness of your internet small business marketing strategy is to pay for advertising on the search engines.The principle behind pay-per-click advertising programs (like Google’s AdWords) is that you pay to have your website address and a brief ad displayed with the organic results of web visitors’ searches. For example, for $5.77 per click you can have your website address and ad appear on the first, second or third pages on Google when users type in the key phrase “small business marketing.” As with all advertising, the most popular keywords are more expensive than the less popular ones.Affiliate marketingWhere pay-per-click advertising is a non-organic way to get your website listed on search pages, affiliate marketing is a non-organic way to get other sites to link to yours. The principle behind this small business marketing tool is that you advertise your site on other websites and each time someone clicks through to your site from that other site, you pay your “affiliate” site a fee. Affiliate marketing works both ways, too: you can allow related businesses to advertise on your site and earn a commission when viewers click through.Whatever method you choose for your online small business marketing strategy, it’s becoming increasingly important that you have an online presence. Those businesses that don’t may well get left in the dust.