An intro to online marketing for small businesses

Social Presence credit: StockPhoto

So you've purchased your domain name, hired a designer to design a logo and build a website for you. Maybe you've already printed hundreds of business cards and brochures with your URL on them, but still feel like something's missing. So what comes next? How do you get online traffic to your website? How do you generate online sales leads? What is Social Media for?

In this blog post, we'll introduce you to some of the most important online marketing fundamentals so the marketing campaign for your business can get all the attention it deserves.

Establish Your Social Media Presence

Full tweet ahead! First, register a Twitter account for your business. Make sure that you have your business’ mission statement in the bio field, a URL linking to your website, a profile picture with your logo and relevant high resolution background picture. If you are not satisfied with the way it looks, hire a design professional to take care of it for you. Once you are satisfied with the way your account looks you can start networking with others. The more frequent and relevant your tweets are, the bigger the chance to get noticed, get followers and generate online visits.

Likability! Facebook can become a great distraction in the office, but it's also a great way to stay in touch with your customers. You can do that by creating a page for your business that people can like. Just like your Twitter account, you can get more attention if you post frequent and resourceful updates. Facebook Pages are also a great tool to ask contextual and poll questions and get to know your clients a little bit more.

It's a plus! Google Plus pages are very similar to Facebook pages. If you are a Gmail user and you already have established business relationships you can easily mass-invite your email contacts to follow your G+ page. If you are running a blog, posting links to your postings on your G+ page can help you get higher search rankings.

Get pinned! Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site and you as a small business owner should take advantage of it too. Make sure you take pictures of your best products, categorize them in pinboards and pin them so others can get an idea what your business is all about. If you are a service-based business make sure you state that in the “About” section. Pinterest users tend to be quite tech-savvy and to have a good sense of what is cool and what is not, so make sure your pins and pin boards have the WOW Effect when looked at. Below are some samples of awesome Pinboards that can inspire you.

A collection of inspirational and informational posts for small business owners and other entrepreneurs http://pinterest.com/alyssagregory/small-business-blog-posts/

Quotes for Small Business Owners: We could all use a little Monday morning inspiration to get the day started from time to time (or maybe for you it's Friday afternoon motivation?) http://pinterest.com/constantcontact/quotes-for-small-business-owners/

Running A Business Blog

If you already have a website, probably one the best ways to get organic search traffic is to run a blog. Publishing a new article every week can help you reach thousands of people worldwide. It is a great way to let people learn a little bit more about your business model, ethics, philosophy and goals. Blogs help businesses shorten the distance between your existing and potential clients. Whether you want to be perceived as serious, funny, formal, superprofessional, friendly or crazy, blogging will help you define your brand positioning.

When posting your articles make sure you use nice visuals that capture the viewers' attention. If you have a blog this also means that you have an RSS feed that people can subscribe to. Make sure your site links to it. Another way to get more visits to your blog is to submit your RSS URL to your BizPagesAtCA member’s profile. Display summaries of your blog postings that link to your site and update automatically. It is also a good link-building (SEO) strategy, which brings us to:

Link Exchange, or Putting the “Pro” in Quid Pro Quo

Another great way to boost your online exposure is to exchange links with websites in your niche. Make a list of credible and relevant websites and link to them from you website. You can either create a sidebar widget or a “Websites We Love” page. Emailing and informing the owners of these sites that you linked to them can help you establish valuable business connections. You can ask if they would be willing to link back to your website, mention you in their tweets or blog posts. In the world of online marketing, in order to get, you have to give. In the world of SEO (Search engine optimization, more links to your website = higher rankings and more online traffic.

So those are some tips to get you started with online marketing for your small business! . Stay tuned for more online marketing tips. If have questions, feel free to drop a comment below.

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