Every small business owner who’s not necessarily technologically inclined knows, deep down, that they could be achieving so much more with their company and their brand if they were more familiar with internet marketing techniques. However, to someone with no experience in this arena, all of the buzzwords, phrases and techniques can seem overwhelming.
The truth is that just about anyone can learn the ins and outs of internet marketing. Promoting your company online isn’t about a bunch of complex internet marketing tools and algorithms, but rather just about familiarizing yourself with some basic platforms and techniques and utilizing them wisely.
If you want to raise your brand’s profile and get the new consumer base that you and your company deserve, then keep reading this basic primer. Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about promoting your company online but have felt too embarrassed to ask.
What Is Internet Marketing?
The first question we need to address is what is internet marketing. It is actually a pretty big umbrella term. Essentially, it refers to just about anything you do to promote your business, product or brand online. If a company sends out a Tweet announcing the launch of a new product, that would be internet or web marketing. If a company writes a long blog that hopes to attract new readers – and therefore new customers – that is also an example of internet marketing. Just about anything a company does online is meant to promote their brand and is therefore a form of online internet marketing.
There are certain internet marketing strategies that make the process somewhat more complex than simply hosting a blog or a Twitter account. One of the biggest phrases you’ll hear in internet marketing training is “SEO.” SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” That might sound like an extraordinarily complex phrase that only computer science grads have an actual mastery of, but it’s actually quite simple.
So What Is Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO?”
Ah, search engine optimization. It’s such a complex-sounding term, but it’s so simple when you break it down.
SEO describes using strategic techniques to ensure that your business is the first in the search results when someone searches for a keyword related to the service or product you provide. This is generally done through blog writing. Every company needs a blog on their website, mostly so that they can use SEO internet marketing strategies.
Here is an example of how a business would ideally raise their rankings in search engine results for a relevant keyword. Let’s say you own Lily’s Diner, a casual dining establishment in Dallas, TX. Odds favor that no one is going to search for your business in Google, not unless they’re already a loyal customer, and those aren’t the people we’re trying to hit. So, you might try to target the keyword “casual dining,” but that would also be a misfire. If someone in Pensacola, FL, searches for “casual dining,” they aren’t going to drive all the way to Dallas to go to your restaurant.
The best keywords for physical businesses are the ones that combine niche and location. “Niche” is simply what your business does, which in this case in casual dining. “Location” is just what it sounds like, which in this case is Dallas, TX. Hence, the ideal keyword for Lily’s Diner would look something like, casual dining Dallas TX.
To make the most of that keyword, Lily’s Diner should post a few times on their blog per week. In these blog posts, Lily’s Diner would want to naturally include “casual dining Dallas TX” twice or thrice throughout a 400-word blog post. The usage should never look like a forced internet marketing -advertisement, but rather effortless. Example: For those looking for the best casual dining in Dallas, TX, Lily’s Diner is your one-stop shop for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The more Lily’s Diner puts out these blog posts with regularity, eventually search engines will take notice. Over time, the blog and website for the diner will be one of the top search results whenever someone Googles “casual dining Dallas TX.”
As you can see, search engine optimization is a phrase that sounds incredibly complex, but is actually quite simple and something that just about any small business owner has the potential to learn and master with the right internet marketing training.
But What About Twitter? Facebook! Isn’t There More To It Than A Website And Blog?
Social media is a fantastic way for any business to market their brand. However, think of the website and keyword-optimized blog as the foundation of any branding plan, the basis on which everything else is built. Together, it all comes together as one well-oiled machine, one fantastic big internet marketing -advertisement.
The most important aspect of a brand’s social media usage is that they are having a true dialogue with their audience, rather than just “spamming” them with dozens of obnoxious advertisements. Think of Twitter and Facebook as a never-ending open house where potential customers are lingering, taking your business in and eyeing your goods. If you actually held an event like that and yelled, “so are you going to buy anything?” in every customer’s face, they’d probably run out of your store as fast as their legs could carry them.
However, if you struck up casual conversation with your guests at this event, they’d probably start to warm up to you as not only a businessperson, but as a human being. People like to do business with individuals who they sincerely like as people.
You can occasionally promote sales, specials and discounts via social media. You should always have easily accessible links to your website in your profiles’ sidebars. But the goal of Twitter and Facebook should be to entice people to your website and blog, not to make the sale right then and there.
Go Forth And Prosper
Even with this relatively small arsenal of information, you still now know much more than the average small businessperson about promoting your business online. With this information, you can start yourwork on building up your brand’s online web presence. The more you continue your training, the better you’ll become at promoting your business online.