Finding quality, reliable and affordable online marketing help can be a real challenge. The sheer size and magnitude of the Internet can be overwhelming. Just grasping and trying to understand how to use established local online marketing techniques can seem like an overwhelming proposition for many of us. Most of us know how powerful the Internet has become and also know that we probably aren’t using it to its full potential, at least when it comes to marketing ourselves and our businesses. But where do you start? What do you really need to do? Who can you trust? Start here.

Online Marketing Plan

Before looking for online marketing help, start by developing an online marketing plan. The reality is that the Internet is nothing more than another platform you can use to communicate. Communicating effectively both for search engine optimization and to real people is the key. To simple put up a website and assume that people will find you easily online is unrealistic. Like any marketing plan, you must first set goals and objectives. Goals and objectives help you focus and enable you to ask the right questions, find the right solutions and implement a program that works for you and gets you the results you desire.

Effective local online marketing can be accomplished using 5 tools:

An Online Marketing Plan

A Website

A Business Listing distributed to online directories.

A Landing Page highlighting your value proposition.

Participation in Online Social Networking

Create Small Business Website

The first thing people usually think about with regard to Internet marketing is their website. There are dozens of companies online that say they build the best small business websites and provide online marketing help. The reality is that to build a website that does what you want it to do you must first not only decide what it is you want it to do with it, but you must also have some understanding of how the Internet is being used by consumers and how search engines work. Once you have some clarity you can focus on more specific questions. Some of the key questions that are relative to search engine marketing and how you build your website are: Are you selling products or services online? Is your target market in a specific geographical area? Do you want people to independently find your site on search engines? Is the industry you are in competitive? Do you want to have customers register on your site? Do you have lots of competition?

Why are these questions important? The answers to these types of questions will determine how you should build your website. For example: A five page website provided and hosted by one of the hundreds of companies that offer those products and services doesn’t have the physical capability to independently rank high on search results pages in most competitive markets. Yet this type of website may be perfect for someone just sharing information and driving traffic using other techniques. A person selling products online is going to need to have a secure site with an online store and a website enabling customer login will have database considerations.

Business Listing Services

An online business listing is critical to establishing credibility and visibility for both search engines and people. An online business listing consists of your business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), a brief description of your business, hours of operation, a map and sometimes pictures. There are literally hundreds of places on the Internet that you can enter your business listing. They include the big three search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing and countless local business directories. Using a service to uniformly distribute your listing to hundreds of places not only saves you time, but ensures that it is uniformly consistent, optimized and verified for search engines. When looking for online marketing help, a business listing service is money well spent.

Build Landing Page

Using landing pages is a great way to quickly offer value to potential customers with a call to action that also offers them the opportunity to get more information with links to your other online assets. The best landing pages are not on your own website, but reside somewhere else. This provides linking opportunities and creates an additional online presence that improves your overall online visibility. There are many sites that offer the opportunity to create single web pages that can be used as landing pages.

Social Media

Like it or not, social media has changed the way consumers and merchants communicate and it is here to stay. Social media consulting has become a big business. While some companies have successfully hired social media specialists to handle their social media marketing campaigns, social media is all about developing real relationships, real relationships can’t be synthesized. For many local small businesses thinking of social media as social public relations is much easier concept to grasp and can be accomplished very easily by incorporating affiliate business networking into your daily routine.


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Author: Jim Merrick