Poll Says SMBs Should Try Online Marketing

As the final installment in our five week series on the results from our online poll published on April 15th, we asked what the best piece of advice a SMB owner needs to help them grow their business and the last piece of advice was “Try online marketing”.

To answer this question, I wanted to share with you a fantastic article entitled
3 Internet Marketing Tips by Debra Murphy of Masterful Marketing, in which she interviews Susanne Morreale Leeber, the President of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. The article outlines a few Internet marketing tips for small businesses that I think provides a great starting point for SMB owners:

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1. Internet marketing is not a business model or a replacement for marketing basics

There’s a certain amount of confusion around this what Internet marketing really is. For some, Internet marketing is a business model – i.e. you have built an Internet based business. But for most small businesses, the Internet is a new media channel that can be used to reach your target market.

If you view Internet Marketing as another tool in your toolbox, then your mindset changes and you can apply basic marketing concepts to your efforts – that is who is my target audience, where can I find them and why would they want to connect and do business with my company?

2. Internet marketing is not a quest for the most likes, followers and friends

social-network-followers

Internet marketing is about building relationships and gaining visibility within your target market. Unfortunately there is something inherently important about fan counts, and it is human nature for people to check out your company profile on Facebook or Twitter and instantly judge them based on the metric of followers, friends or fans. But having many fake or uninterested followers does not help your business. So although growing your Facebook fans or Twitter followers organically seems tedious, those who follow you may actually care about and support your business. Using a service to quickly add 2000 fans only hurts you in the long run if you plan to do anything to market to these fans or followers.

3. Internet marketing is not about chasing the next new shiny object

Internet marketing is about creating a solid marketing plan, staying the course, evaluating your results and then modifying your activities as needed. I advise small business owners to create a marketing plan that’s flexible, can adapt to changes as the Internet evolves and fits your specific needs and overall marketing strategy. Not every new and improved online tool will be right for your business.

How does a small business owner effectively market their business online when they are trying to run their business on a day-to-day basis?

For many small businesses, it may seem that marketing gets more complicated and more confusing by the day, with constant changes to the technology and new platforms claiming help your business become more visible in the search engines.

The good news is that Internet marketing has transformed into a more sensible activity for small businesses, incorporating content marketing, search engine marketing including local search and social media marketing as the primary activities. The key is to find someone who you can work with who is knowledgeable about marketing and keeps up with the latest in this space. Doing so can help you focus on your base business, which is what you do best as a local business owner.

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With all of the pieces of advice we covered in our poll, I hope that you have a better understanding of what tools you need to get your marketing in order. Were these poll results useful to you? Did they provide the advice needed to grow your business? I look forward to engaging with you in the comments.

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