Small business owners have a tremendous opportunity to leverage online marketing to grow their customer base and increase profits. Online marketing is great for small businesses because the cost is primarily effort, time, and creativity and the returns can far exceed the investment. Here are a few suggestions of pitfalls to avoid when executing a small business online marketing strategy.
Hiring an Ineffective SEO Company
If you have a website, you have probably received tons of email solicitations from SEO companies in far away countries promising to help your Google rankings for a very low price. However, these companies often use bad SEO practices that may be against Google’s webmaster guidelines and can result in a Google penalty. Examples of these bad tactics can include submitting rewritten content to article directory sites (known as article spinning), writing spam comments on dozens of blogs, or buying tons of low quality links. It is usually a lot better to look for a local SEO company with good reviews and references.
Not Creating Content on Their Site
Many small businesses are missing a tremendous opportunity to effectively market their business to potential customers for a very low cost. The first step to creating regular content on your website is to start a blog and write blog posts that your target customer would find useful or educational. The more unique and valuable content you create, the better your chances of getting your company in front of people who are actively searching for what you provide in search engines like Google or Bing.
Ignoring Social Media
While everyone has heard about social media, many small businesses undervalue the impact social media can have for their bottom line. A common objection by small business owners is that no one cares enough about what you are having for breakfast for you to post it on Twitter. The reality is that some people do care, and these people are often your fans who are most likely to talk about you to their hundreds or thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Getting involved in social media provides you with a great opportunity to engage with your fans, provide special offers, and building awareness for your brand.
Forgetting About Local Search Optimization
Search engines have found that people frequently search for things with a local intent in mind. So when someone wants to grab pizza and search “pizza shop”, Google and Bing automatically switch to a localized format and present options in their local area based on their present location. This presents a great opportunity for local businesses to get in front of potential customers when they are actively looking to buy a product or service. There are a specific set of tactics that small businesses should execute in order to take advantage of this opportunity like making sure your local address is on every page of your site, claiming your Google Places page, registering for local directories, getting links to your site, and encouraging customers to leave their feedback by writing a review on Yelp or Google Places. A great resource for local SEO can be found at Getlisted.org.
About the Author: Charles Sipe is Managing Editor for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a career site providing distilled information on criminal justice careers and interviews with professionals who share their advice and insights about careers from paralegal to forensic psychologist.
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