Online marketing has carved out a niche of its own quickly in the last decade. The spread of the Internet has opened a multitude of avenues for small business owners and marketing their businesses is no more the same shackled-down-to-the-earth kind of dependency on conventional marketing techniques.
Small Business On The Internet
Marketing your small business online is not exactly running an Internet business. You have an up and running business or one which is still trying to find its niche. Having an Internet presence is a low cost, multipurpose front for your business which customers use to locate you, your products and communicate with you.
How Can I Promote My Small Business Online?
Various online promotion options are at your disposal. Lets say you are still not prepared to run a website; this should not deter you from taking your business online. Lets take a look at some of the popular online marketing options:
1. Listing your business in online business directories is a good option to begin with. Although there are firms that let you list for free, paid versions serve you better in terms of site rankings, page views, site traffic etc. Some of them promote their directories vigorously, and those results apply to independent businesses as well as online ones.
2. Using free/paid classifieds online is another option that you can consider for good results. Generally, free classified ads allow a short period for advertising, such as 15-30 days.
One advantage is that both of the above options alert you when a prospective customer is interested in your product or service. However, these have a disadvantage in that they lack the full functionality that a website could provide.
If you have a website, either a fully functional or a static one, you have better options. Then, online marketing activity is a two-pronged one: driving more traffic to your website and then selling the visitors your products or services. For small businesses, the most trusted online marketing strategy is a series of the following activities:
1. Optimizing your website for higher ranking on the search engines with the right keywords used in the Body and Meta tags in the right doses.
2. Submitting your website to online directories and search engines
3. Using PPC (pay per click) ads served by search engines and advertising agencies like Commission Junction. These PPC ads are triggered by keywords used by surfers over search engines
4. Article marketing is an emerging strategy used to promote your site online. Here, you can publish articles about your services or products on free article directories. Article directories let you leave your signature at the bottom which you can use for signing off with your URL. URLs entice article readers to follow the link into your site. This results in targeted customers, not just tire kickers.
5. Convincing online customers does not involve a much different technique from that of offline marketing techniques, but it is more difficult. Unlike offline attempts, here you have just one chance to convert visits to sales. Simple designs, effective but genuine words, money-back offers, customer service and toll free numbers help a lot.
It is possible to convert over 10% of visitors into customers with sustained campaigns. Your best bet would be to increase your repeat customers for sustained sales.
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online ( http://www.sixsigmaonline.org ) offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.