B2B Reports that of 800 small businesses polled recently their top three priorities for marketing investments are:
- Web Design (53%)
- Search Engine Optimization (43%)
- eMail Marketing (41%)
I wish the story had gone been more in-depth, but I can surmise the reasons. Most companies, even small ones, have websites. Their companies are growing and they now have the funds to invest more and create a bigger, better, more dynamic web presence for their company. However, I have seen large companies, hire big-time creative agencies, that develop great looking websites with unfortunately very little use to the customer.
Website by and large are all about the company and its products with paragraph upon paragraph of copy which few will read. Few benefits and how they translate to the bottom line for the prospect. Of course, I am in the B2B world, so I speak primarily of B2B portals. And there is little reason for the person to return to the site again.
Small businesses will struggle with what to do, how to tie-in their email campaigns, optimize their websites to inprove organic rankings with major search engines, and then there are the social media outlets. What to do about those?
It will be very important for these small companies to find a partner who understands not only web design, but functionality. A partner that’s listening to not only the business owner, but their customers, employees, sales people, and can understands the importance of content.
Content, the holy grail of search engines. What is your content? How will search engines recognize your content, and are all your links tagged appropriately? Are your links optimized? Do you participate in affiliate programs? This all can make the small business person’s head spin. But it doesn’t need to.
Simplify. Don’t freak out. If you’re investing in internet marketing, you’re doing ok. So keep it simple with these rules:
- Don’t rely on search engines to drive all of your traffic. Drive your own. Use an integrated program including traditional media, email, banner ads, blogs, and other social media like linked-in, Facebook and the like. And don’t forget about video opportunities like You Tube, and Google Video. Sure, participate in Google Ad Words if appropriate, and optimize ALL of your web presence, but focusing on driving the prospects you want, to the places you want them to go.
- Content. I mentioned it above. Provide useful content to your visitors and readers. Blogs are so popular because you get honest opinions and information, not commercials. Talk to your salespeople, talk to your customers. What kind of INFORMATION can you bring them that’s fresh and keeps them coming back. You want to set yourself up as the “Thought Leader” the company that your prospects and customers can turn to for information in your industry to help them run their businesses better.
- Link. Make sure that your emails have links to articles in your blog, which offer links to information and related products on your website. Make it easy for your reader (prospect) to find useful information, and get back to the original source. If you find websites, blogs, or other online media that your prospect will find useful, link to it! And contact that site owner, and ask if they’ll consider the same. Inbound links to your site (that are relative content) can help your optimize.
And when you select a partner to improve your e-presence, for goodness sakes, check theirs out first. Do they offer useful content? Do they have a blog presence that offers opinions and insight, or is it one big commercial? Do they have their own email campaign? Are their other links to sources you would find interesting? If not, you may want to check out other sources.
The internet, start smart, keep it simple, make it useful, and keep it relevant.