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Cover All Your Online Bases

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 19, 2009

In the current business environment, old and new businesses alike need to digitally connect with customers to effectively cultivate their brands. We live in a digital age, so your business needs to locate and interact with customers wherever they live within the online space.

Industry marketing terms like "search engine optimization," "keywords," and "social media" tend to be overwhelming, but a new wave of technology and services is proving to be highly valuable in helping small businesses achieve measurable results. Here is a quick checklist to get you started:

1. Experiment with an Online Campaign. A well-run online marketing campaign can turn a $1 investment into an additional $5 to $15 of sales. This is a significantly higher return compared to traditional media. Best of all, with an online campaign, you can track results and optimize them. While you can still lose money in online marketing campaigns, the upside is potentially larger and more cost effective than traditional media like local radio or newspapers.

2. Try Social Media. The prevalence of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way people interact online and how brands can communicate with their customers. Get active on any and all social media networks and start talking to your customers directly. You’ll learn their interests, gain an understanding of their business, and build valuable relationships.

3. Tap into Your Network. By linking your Web site to other relevant sites like local business associations or local charities, you will in turn get them to link to your Web site and benefit from all the eyeballs they attract.

4. Start a Blog. Starting a blog will help your company become a thought leader within your industry. It gives your customers insight into what you are thinking, where you brand is headed, and what your core values are.

5. Tailor Your Site to Your Customers. Line your Web site with keywords that match what potential consumers will type into search engines when they are looking for your product. Put yourself in the mind of your customer, what search terms would they use when they begin their online search for a business or service?

6. Learn about Google Adwords. The foundation of the Internet’s current structure revolves around search engines, primarily Google. Google Adwords allows you to ensure your Web site tops the search results for relevant topics. You can buy keywords and pay Google every time someone clicks your link as a result. Don’t worry about paying for 10,000 clicks in a week; Adwords allows you to set limits.

Once you start utilizing the above tactics, you will be connecting with potential customers in a number of meaningful ways and should feel confident that you’ve covered all your online bases.

Allon Bloch
New York

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