Monday, September 5, 2011

Small Business Marketing

small business marketingYou ignore the need to understand marketing and in particular the role of internet marketing today, at your peril. There are many small businesses who are wasting their advertising dollars because they are not linking their advertising to a sound marketing plan. Further, they are basing their promotions on outdated-concepts of how people make buying decisions.

Internet Marketing

One of the dramatic changes that we have seen over the past ten years is the role of digital marketing as an integral part of any small business marketing strategy. Gaining a strong online profile for your business is crucial now-days, given the fact that most people will search online for providers before buying a new product or service. Additionally they will frequently search online for any relevant social media feedback that might be relevant to their buying decision (eg. checking Trip Advisor for comments before booking accommodation at a hotel)

Internet marketing includes thinking both about search engine optimisation (SEO) to get your website ranking well - and often combining this with an online advertising campaign (pay-per-click)

SEO applies proven methods to helping lift your Google page listing -after all, if you don't appear on the first page of Google then chances are that you won't be found by potential customers. The only people who will find you if you're not on the first page will be those who already know of your website.

Search engine optimisation

There are many providers of SEO services out there - and many of them are making outrageous promises that they will get you on the first page of Google within days or weeks. Be careful of getting seduced by such promises. My experience is that to achieve first page listing on a sustained rather than temporary occurrence, will take months of work.

However, through a paid adwords advertising campaign, you can achieve a first page listing - and it might cost you as little as $50 a week. But these results appear on the right hand column side of Google's paid search results. The organic, or free listing results, appear in the middle column of the page - and these websites have usually fought and earned their right to be on the first page because they are viewed by Google to be relevant, informative, credible and authoritive with regards to the search term that has been entered.

SEO methods can include evaluating the meta-tags of your website to ensure they are correct for your marketing strategy, as well as a strategy to develop backlinks to your website (ie. links from other websites to yours). Be careful of engaging SEO providers who will buy backlinks for your website - if these backlinks are from poor quality sites they can damage your credibility in the eys of Google. One thing I have learned is that Google will place more weight upon a single backlink from a quality, authoritive site than fifty backlinks from poor quality sites that are often simply set up to "farm" links.

Here's a useful link to a local site that offers some basic tips that could help you - Small Business Marketing

Marketing 101 : A marketing plan for your business

For a new business, the following model helps to illustrate some of the basic core elements in developing a marketing plan

For someone who is thinking of starting a new business, the first step  after having the idea is to do some research and attempt to establish the feasibility of the idea. This may involve some informal "market testing" of the idea, seeing what some potential customers of your target market think about the idea.. This early research also requires an assessment of the existing competition for your proposed product or service, and determining id there is in fact an opportunity gap in the marketplace that you could exploit.

You will then need to think through where you will position yourself in the marketplace, in terms of your pricing model - at the higher end and positioning as a niche supplier, or at the lower price point and aim for volume on sales?
Take a look at this video clip which takes a simple look at the nature of marketing .....