Small Business Online Marketing Playbook

Online marketing is the old “new kid in town” that bewilderingly, is getting a ton of noise and at the same time being profoundly ignored by many companies – 50% of your small business competitors do not even have a website!

It’s not a stretch or a flight of fancy anymore to state that Yellowpages and other traditional advertising marketing mediums for small business are in trouble… Yellow Media stock here in Canada is now under $.20 (< 20 cents) a share. So where can you cost effectively promote your business and get a positive return on investment? I humbly submit that the best place is online marketing. So let's Define the problem: To market online: you need to work in 5 areas 1. Have a good WordPress website - Design (look + Feel), Site navigation, Conversion structure - Ongoing optimization of pages/content for conversion 2. Content - lots of it and ongoing - Forms of content - written, video + podcast, images, user generated; for: social media (in lengths for Facebook, Twitter, Google+); email lists; text marketing; article distribution; reviews and testimonials 3. Setup of and ongoing optimization of Social Media platforms (as services added, changed) - Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and others as fit - ie. Tumblr, Pinterest for Fashion - Content - Calendaring content creation- Have a regular posting schedule and stick to it! 4. Good setup of and ongoing On-page SEO, site structure, internal linking - Ongoing link building - PR, content distribution - video sites, email list, text list 5. PPC setup - Ad writing and testing of ads - Landing page creation/optimization So how is a small business going to be able to do even a portion of this? I think part of the answer is budgeting the time and dollars needed; the other part of the answer is having a trusted source to guide your strategy and share some of the work. What are your advantages over your competition? What can you do that they cannot, or are un-willing to do? The place that we have seen the biggest advantage and growth happen for customers is when they are actively involved in content creation, on a week by week basis. Competition and ongoing huge changes online are increasing - everyday. There are not just more of your competitors online, there are more of my SEO competitors online as the world economy adjusts to different things. So there are more quality competitors online as well as more overall. The Bad News This is only starting to ramp up. What will happen over the next years will be change at a pace that's hard to fathom. The message that online is the place to be is not much in the main media but it is reaching small business owners. Memo to those who do not have a website and an online marketing strategy: Best of luck and bye bye! Where in our business we knew exactly how much it took to get top rankings for a local business 12 months ago, today we have to do three times (3x) as much work to get the same result for a customer. The truth of the matter is that without a full-on commitment to creating an online marketing plan, a partnership with someone who knows what to do, how to do it and how to spread it online -- your online marketing will not be effective. What's your advantage? You know your business better than anyone else. You are a subject matter expert. The battle to stand out from the crowd online as the competition heats up is best thought of as a race. In a race you don't stop or you lose.