The internet can serve as a great leveler between big businesses and small companies. Internet marketing does not have to cost a fortune and done correctly and consistently a small concern can get itself noticed online as easily as a huge corporation. Understanding what techniques work best though is essential for any internet marketing strategy to be successful.
Ask ten different internet marketing experts what the most effective online marketing strategy is and you are likely to get several different answers. However, there are some tried and true methods that work well for any small business, whichever niche it is operating in.
Whether the world likes it or not, Google has become the place that any small business needs to be found and they need to be featured prominently. Small businesses may not have the capital to mount a large paid Google AdWords advertising campaign but with a little clever Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can get similar results for far less expense, although it does take longer to achieve.
SEO begins with your website itself. Specific keywords should be highlighted by the use of original content on the site. You can use free tools like Google’s own Keyword Tool to determine exactly what those words and phrases are for your unique website. Do not overuse your keywords though — this is known as keyword stuffing and the search engines may downgrade your site and its rankings will suffer as a result.
The way your site is set up is important as well. If you are confused by terms like metatags and metadata, consult with a website designer who understands the way that search bots crawl a site and how best to set yours up to be easily found by both humans and bots. Do make sure the designer understands this thoroughly as many surprisingly do not. Every page on your site needs its own unique set of metadata that is directly relevant to the page content.
Once your site is properly optimized, it is time to start work on raising its profile through some offsite SEO. One of the main things the search engines take into consideration when ranking a site is the number of links to it from other sites. This is because people are only going to link to sites that they find interesting or useful. All off site SEO is essentially link building of one kind or another and fortunately, there are many ways to increase the number of links to your site.
The first method is to identify sites that are related to yours but not direct competitors and ask them to add a link to your site. For example, an online magazine will usually be happy to add a link to sites that are relevant to its subject matter.
Article marketing has been popular for several years now and done correctly can be very effective. Your work needs to be compelling and interesting though, not just a rehash of someone else’s work. Duplicate content or plagiarism of any kind is a sin in the eyes of both the search engines and the public and is never worth the risk. There are hundreds of article directory sites that will publish good content and include a link back to the contributing site.
Blogging is huge in the Web 2.0 era but again, your content needs to be as original and engaging as possible. Write interesting content for human readers, not the search bots and you really cannot go too far wrong. Most blogs and forums also allow links in comments or forum threads, but do not overdo it as you risk being banned as that scourge of the internet, a spammer.
One of areas that companies large and small are just beginning to leverage successfully for marketing purposes is social media. This is one arena that is changing all the time but any small business serious about internet marketing needs to get started on developing a credible presence on at least one or two of the most popular social media sites. And by credible presence that means a Facebook fan page or Twitter account that is more than just a series of links back to your own website.
These are just a few examples of the way that small businesses can leverage the power of the internet for marketing purposes. If you can come up with an organized marketing plan and then actually implement it, you really can build your brand without having to spend a fortune.