Tuesday, November 17, 2009

4 Important Steps to Ensure Success with Online and Social Media Marketing for the Small Business Owner

Contrary to popular belief social media marketing takes time. This is especially true for the small business owner and, even truer for the small B2B owner but, that should not be the reason for not doing it. So many of the articles written do not emphasize this time element and end up making it sound like you can be a social network success overnight. Of course that has happened and will continue to happen from time to time but, it is not the rule; it is an exception. The reasons for overnight success are varied but, they involve one or more of the following conditions: The entrepreneur has found something to offer so unique that no one else is offering it or anything like it; they have made a unique video that goes viral overnight; they have developed a product or system that many people need that is not readily available any where else and so on. Let’s face it. Most of us will not do that.

So, for the rest of us, here are some important points to consider in web marketing in general, AKA web 2.0, and social media specifically. These suggestions are tailored for the small business owner:
  1. The easiest way, not the most efficient way but, none the less, the easiest way to get immediate returns from the internet is pay per click (PPC). You can do this with a rather modest budget in the beginning but you will only reap the benefit of what you can afford to pay for. There are other important factors to consider however. You must be certain that you have a compelling website that has powerful web copy/content that will ensure that many people who click take another step and execute your call to action. You will only be successful if you offer something that people need and want and the benefits have to be communicated precisely and clearly.
  2. Your website acts as a sales person for you and it is the online customer’s first impression of your business. Therefore it must be appealing to that potential customer and it must tell a story about your business that will get the prospect to act. But, you also must make it appealing for the search engines so that eventually you can drive the traffic to your site by rating high in Google, Yahoo and the other search engines. Always remember that your web copy needs to be optimized for search engines.
  3. Utilize social media marketing to get yourself known by as many people as possible. The more exposure you have on the social media sites the better but, it must be quality exposure. And, as I began this article quality exposure takes time. It must be pursued methodically with a strategic plan executed over time. It is all about networking with the right people and becoming established as a thought leader with them. On social media you want a nice mix of personal and business sharing. The business sharing should be subtle like posting your blog.
  4. Blogging is the best way to establish yourself as a thought leader and it is also the best way to add lots of good content to your site over time. Each blog post ends up being a page in the view of the search engines. Blogging will also help build you links over time which will add to your ranking in the search engines. One good thing to remember is that you don’t have to write all of this yourself. You can hire people with skill in this area that will help you out a lot.

    Following this plan will surely result in marketing success. I would appreciate your feedback on this article.


    1. It's good to know I am on the right track!

    2. I am a very small business. I am just now realizing that I need to utilze social media. I did not know how or where to start before this article. Thank You

    3. Anonymous, I am glad to hear that you have benefited from this article and I challange you to begin to get your feet wet.

      Roy, You are on the right track and from what I know about you and your business you are well on your way!!

    4. I totally agree with you. Social marketing does take time not only in what you write but also about who you allow to follow you.

      I always try to research an individual or at least check out the bios to see if they are a good fit. I look at what they are writing and is this someone I want people I know to learn from.

    5. Thanks for the info. One thing we learned with pay per click on one of our ecommerce sites is it's easy to spend more than you are bringing in. Just because they click, doesn't mean they are going to buy.

    6. Hi George, thanks for the comment and yes you are right, there is a difference between clicks and revenue. That is why I caution businesses to be sure that they have a strong call to action that is based upon a real need that prospects have. It is also a good reason to make sure that the copy is excellent.

    7. I totally agree with you re encouraging my clients with a new website to start with PPC and then build content to share via social media. Although if someone had told me earlier that it's far easier to get a follower on twitter than a to get an e-newsletter subscriber I would have started twitter much earlier!

    8. Just to add to what you have already said is that what people tend to forget is that a website is still a marketing tool in most cases. Excellent marketing will create branding but may not result in sales right away. Blogging and article gives the echo system, again, to create branding.
      Expecting sales out of this effort may be a bit difficult unless you sell professional services where branding does result in direct sales.
      My 2 cents. :)

    9. Excellent article. The initial message is that you need persistence to succeed, but persistence only succeeds if you're doing the right thing. Diligently bashing your head against a tree isn't likely to make you successful--no matter how long you do it.

    10. Great thought provoking Article and yes all good things take time. I like how you mention strategy being very important, I could not agree more.