Marketing Online: Basic Strategies Any Business Can Use

Want to get into marketing online but wondering what the options are and what online marketing strategies will best fit your business and your marketing budget? This marketing online primer presents an overview of strategies for you to choose from. I recommend choosing and implementing at least three; successful marketing online depends on diversity and persistence for most small businesses.

1) Have a Blog/Website.

The first step to successful marketing online is to have a home base on the web.

It doesn’t really matter if you have an official website or a blog or a combination of both. Either will give you a web address where people can find you and a convenient way of referring to you, two things that will facilitate your marketing online efforts. So even if you don’t sell anything online directly, you need a website.

I encourage business people to have a blog on their website or serving as a website because if you blog regularly and have something relevant to say, you will develop a following – and some of those people will help your marketing online efforts by spreading the word about you and your products and/or services.

2) Online Advertising

Many small businesses in particular bother with this marketing online strategy, I suspect because they don’t want to shell out for it.

They only want to do free marketing online. I say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with free marketing online strategies – as long as you realize they’re not. All the ‘free’ online marketing strategies I’m aware of take a considerable time investment, meaning they’re only free if your time is worth nothing.

CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand Impressions. With this type of marketing online, you basically buy space on a web page and pay for a certain number of impressions, or the number of times your ad is going to be displayed. Many of the banner ads you see on various websites are being paid for on a CPM model.

CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click advertising. In this model, you pay only for the number of times a viewer clicks on your ad, not on the number of times it’s displayed.

Google AdWords is perhaps the best known Pay-per-click marketing online program. When you’re marketing online with this program, you choose particular keywords that you want your ads to be associated with. When people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results.

The theory is that these people are much more likely to be interested in your products or services.

Another online advertising strategy you may wish to try is creating and posting an online video (either to your own website or to a popular video sharing site such as YouTube). An online video can be marketing online gold if it becomes popular.

3) Directory Listings

Adding your business to appropriate directory listings (local directory listings, business directories, etc.) is another way of marketing online that takes little time and is relatively inexpensive. Whatever local business groups you belong to, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, probably have websites where they allow members to list their businesses online and perhaps even place ads on the site at special rates. Search out other local sites, especially those related to tourism, and make sure you’re listed there, too.

Then there are the professional sites. Are you a Virtual Assistant? A CGA? A Canadian retailer? Whatever your professional affiliations, chances are good that organization has a site with a directory of members. There are also a lot of specialized online networking groups/sites that promote marketing online. A Business Advertising package on the Canadian Women’s Business Network, for instance, costs only $36 CAN.

4) Participating in Social Media

Joining the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and forums, posting on Flicker and YouTube, commenting on other people’s blogs, are all opportunities for marketing online.

Marketing online through social media requires a much more subtle technique than marketing online through advertising or directory listings. With all social media, the trick is to participate intelligently and actually attempt to converse rather than just advertising your products or services. Comments such as “Good point.

The downside of social media marketing is that it’s time-consuming. If you want to do it well and see any real benefit from it, you have to work at it. The upside is that it’s free and can really generate a lot of buzz about your products/services if something that you’ve done online ( a post, a video, an article) becomes really popular.

5) Online Networking

LinkedIn deserves special mention in any discussion of online networking. Its stated purpose is to help the world’s professionals connect with one another to accelerate their success. As of this writing, LinkedIn has over 40 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. It’s a powerful tool for internet marketing, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers, partners and colleagues.

Besides being a great source of support and information, groups such as these also provide some marketing opportunities. Other members may be potential customers or referral sources as they get to know you and what you do.

Like social media, online networking requires taking a subtle approach. The same basic rule applies to online networking that applies to networking face-to-face. Give, give, give and don’t worry about receiving; you will, likely in bigger, more powerful ways than you ever imagined.

6) Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best and most powerful ways of online marketing in my opinion. For one thing, once you’ve developed an email list, (notice the word developed, not bought), you are, in effect, preaching to the converted, sending your marketing message directly to people who have already indicated some interest in your products or services.

For another, email is an excellent tool for building a relationship with your customers, letting you build both repeat business and good word-of-mouth.

Newsletters can be sent to the email list you’ve built from the people who provided the necessary information on your website, for instance, providing these potential customers with news updates about your company, upcoming events and/or special offers – and, of course, reminding them that your business exists and that maybe it’s time for another visit.

Email programs such as VerticalResponse and Constant Contact allow you to customize your email to your potential customer so you can send selected customers messages specific to their interests and actions.

Marketing Online and Offline Are The Same in One Way…

Just like any offline marketing, your online marketing efforts need to be planned. So don’t just post something here and place something there and consider that you’re marketing. Create an internet marketing campaign and plan and measure your results just as you would with any other marketing.

And remember too, that targeting still matters. The more carefully you have targeted your potential customers and the more carefully you have chosen and placed your marketing advertisements or your conversations, the more successful your marketing campaign will be.

The thing that’s different about marketing online, however, is its incredible reach. The Internet gives your business the chance to reach thousands and perhaps even millions of people who would never hear of your products and/or services otherwise – making online marketing a marketing opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

Source The Balance

Countries that block Social Media

On Thursday, the Turkish government blocked the country’s access to YouTube, after banning Twitter earlier this month, in an effort to quell anti-government sentiment prior to local elections on March 30. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that social networks are facilitating the spread of wiretapped recordings that have been politically damaging. The YouTube block reportedly came about after a video surfaced of government officials discussing the possibility of going to war with Syria. The government officially banned Twitter after the network refused to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. Twitter is challenging the ban and a Turkish court overturned it on Wednesday, but it’s not yet clear how an appeal might play out.

Turkey is hardly the first country to crack down on social unrest by going after social networks. There are at least six other countries currently blocking Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter in some capacity (see map below), and many more have instituted temporary blocks over the last couple of years. Here’s everything you need to know:

socialmediamap-emineo mediaChina: China blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in 2009. The Twitter and Facebook bans took place after a peaceful protest by Uighurs, China’s Muslim ethnic minority, broke into deadly riots in Xinjiang. In September 2013, the government decided to stop censoring foreign websites in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, a 17-square-mile area in mainland China, but these social networks are still largely blocked nationwide.

Iran: Iran has blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on and off (usually off) since they were banned in 2009 following Iran’s contentious presidential election.

Vietnam: Over the last couple of years, there have been widespread reports of Facebook being blocked in Vietnam. The block is fairly easy to bypass, and many Vietnamese citizens use the social network. However, in September 2013, Vietnam passed a law prohibiting citizens from posting anti-government content on the social network. Facebook did not comment on access in Vietnam.

Pakistan: In September 2012, Pakistan blocked YouTube after the site reportedly refused to take down an anti-Islam video that sparked protests in the country. The block has continued through March 2014, according to Google.

North Korea: Internet access is highly restricted in North Korea.

Eritrea: According to Reporters Without Borders, in 2011, two of the country’s major internet service providers blocked YouTube. Freedom House, a US watchdog that conducts research on political freedom, said the site was blocked in its 2013 report and notes, “The government requires all internet service providers to use state-controlled internet infrastructure.” Eritrea is routinely listed as one of the most censored countries in the world. Google does not include Eritrea on its list of countries in its transparency report that currently block YouTube, but notes that the list “is not comprehensive” and may not include partial blocks.

This data was compiled with help from Google’s transparency report, Twitter, and the OpenNet Initiative, a partnership between the University of Toronto, Harvard, and the SecDev Group in Ottawa. It doesn’t take into account countries where only certain pages or videos may be censored. The United Arab Emirates, for example, jailed an American citizen last year for posting a comedic video to YouTube—but it doesn’t block the entire network, so it’s not on the map. Additionally, Google and Twitter don’t list their services as being blocked in Cuba, but social networks there are difficult to access, in part due to cost barriers. 

 

Source Mother Jones

Survey Shows Facebook Has the Most Potential for Small Businesses

As you develop a social media presence for your small business, where should you put most of your energies? If you’re like most businesses, Facebook ranks tops when it comes to both current ubiquity and future potential, a survey from The Creative Group reports.

Social-media-small-business emineo mediaMore than three-fourths (76 percent) of advertising and marketing executives polled in the survey say their company has an active presence on Facebook. In contrast, only about half report having an active presence on Twitter (52 percent), LinkedIn (48 percent) or Google Plus (48 percent).

The survey also asked which social media site has the greatest potential for business. Facebook beat out other contenders, cited by 45 percent of respondents—far ahead of second-place Google+ with just 13 percent of respondents.

What do the results of the survey mean to you? Three lessons stand out to me.

  1. If social media intimidates you, get started by creating a Facebook page for your business. In most cases—especially if your company sells to consumers, as opposed to other businesses—Facebook is the best place for beginners. In fact, for some small businesses, it may be the only social media presence you need (at least for now). With even seniors now feeling comfortable on Facebook, it’s far and away the most widely used social site—not only by business owners, but also by consumers.
  2. Don’t get complacent. While Facebook is currently the 800-pound gorilla in the room, it won’t always be that way. Keep your eye on up-and-comers like Pinterest and Instagram. While these sites capture far fewer users, if your business is highly visual—such as a boutique, home décor store or hair salon—these image-focused social sites could be huge traffic drivers. And don’t ignore Google+–even though many of its users’ accounts are rarely used, the power of the search engine giant means you can’t count Google+ out of the running. Spend some time every week keeping up with social media news and trends so that you won’t be taken by surprise when a new social media site springs up or an old one surges in popularity.
  3. Remember that social is a two-way street. No matter what social media site/s your business relies on, success at social media requires a different approach than pure advertising or even public relations. Instead of talking “at” your fans and followers, you need to talk with them. Use the power of social media to solicit their opinions, emotions and insights. The information you gain by holding a conversation with your customers can only improve your business in the end.

Source SCORE