The web gives us the capability to quickly connect with people around the world and have immediate access to vast amounts of knowledge and real time information and has subsequently given rise to many online marketing opportunities for businesses to advertise their products and services. Online marketing for small businesses should be an essential part of any entrepreneurs marketing strategy to reach their customer base.
Small business owners can heavily leverage the web to reach a regional, national or global audience otherwise completely unattainable without a major marketing budget. Internet marketing, web-marketing, and online marketing all are terms that generally refer to the selling or advertising of goods and services to your desired target demographic through the Internet. The web allows you to target specific niche websites to pursue very targeted consumer groups. Through specific local focused online services you can also pin point your online marketing efforts to places that individuals in your local region may be looking at online. If you are one of the owners of a small business, this strategy can be a great avenue for making your business known quickly amongst a community and increase your sales greatly by helping to create a quick following of customers.
Here are some of the basic online campaigns that work for small business owners on a budget.
Search Engine Marketing
There are two forms of Search Engine marketing.
1. Natural Search is to be highly visible in google’s regular search results for a keyword term. This is often a difficult process and requires significant work depending your term / keyword that you are pursuing to develop a high natural search ranking.
There are tacticst that will work to develop your natural search for keywords important to your business. Most commonly known as search engine optimization (SEO), this is the technique of increasing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine results such as Google or its competitors. SEO tactics can be aimed at different kinds of searches like local search, image search and video search.
2. Paid Search Advertising: This is generally google adwords campaigns, you can also do paid searches in locations like facebook which has contextual advertisements / personalized for the users. You can select what words you are pursuing in either google or facebook, however facebook does allow you to target more specific demographics based on the persons profile.
Google Adwords has been known to help many small businesses gain visibility to a larger national audience. Especially niche retailers and product providers that need to look beyond their local / regional geographic area to have a sustainable business.
Service providers that provide these types of services to help a company formulate a search based marketing campaign will advertise SEM or search engine marketing as a service that they include in their offerings.
Viral Marketing for Entrepreneurs
This is a technique of encouraging customers to forward the information about your products and services to other potential consumers. An example of viral marketing is a website that allows visitors to email interactive games and humorous video clips to their friends and relatives that are relevant to your product.
Facebook with its great social networking characteristics is an excellent site to promote your companies products and services.
Twitter is a place that savvy entrepreneurs can generate buzz and interest from their desired demographic through this online tool.
Videos on Youtube can also be a great strategy for promoting many types of products and generating brand awareness.
Small Business Affiliate Online Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the method of using another company or often other websites to promote your products and services for a revenue share that is provided to company or individual that provide the referral for a paying a customer. The affiliate company or simply known as the publisher, are being rewarded for each customer or visitor brought to your company through their marketing strategies. A great example of an affiliate company is Amazon.com, that allows people to sell Amazon and Amazon partners products on websites and blogs and then those website and blog publishers can earn a revenue share for each sale.
Other sites that help facilitate online affiliate marketing for small businesses that have websites that they want to promote products on is Commission Junction. They have a simple to use interface to sign up for affiliate partnerships and then get the special codes to place on your webpage to provide your website visitors the opportunity to click on the ad. These companies also of course provide small businesses the ability to become an affiliate advertiser as well and have their products displayed on web properties that have website visitors that are similar to your desired customer demographic.
There are several other companies that also facilitate the affiliate advertising market.
Small Businesses Should Leverage Email Marketing Campaigns
Sending emails with the purpose of promoting your products or services directly to your target customers is an excellent way to reach your desired customer base. This tool for marketing can help you reach your current customer and help you convince them to make a purchase of your product immediately, through the actions outlined in the email.
Another important way to use email marketing is for reaching potential business partners. If you have a special offer that is unique you can use an email marketing campaign to quickly get your business proposition in front of many potential individuals and hopefully some will bite and you can move forward with your plans.
Online Marketing Great on the Budget
There are countless ways to use the internet and hundreds of sites that have communities that you can develop a presence in and help generate interest in your companies products and services. It is best to have an online marketing strategy that fits with your companies current goals and resources. Working with a professional business consulting firm to help craft your online marketing plans and support the implementation can make sure you stay on budget and achieve the desired goals you are seeking from online marketing. Small businesses have many different dynamics going on and it is best to make sure the online marketing strategy truly fits a company and the industry that they are in.