The Online Marketing Habits of Highly Successful Small Businesses
How can your small business reach the elite group of high-achieving small companies? Online marketing is the key, suggests a new Forrester research study commissioned by Act-On Software. In the face of continuing economic uncertainty, the study, “Driving Revenue in a Volatile Economy, found that the top-performing small businesses are those that truly embrace online marketing.
The study identified these lessons small businesses can take from top performers and large companies:
Don’t automatically cut your marketing budget in a down economy. Top performers were less likely than bottom performers to cut their marketing budgets (33 percent vs. 56 percent). On the contrary, top performers prove that maintaining or increasing marketing spending does pay off in terms of revenues.
Take lead generation seriously. The top-performing small businesses carefully manage sales leads, vetting, qualifying and nurturing them before handing them off to sales to close. They were also willing to spend more to get new leads, while bottom performers spent their time and money trying to squeeze new sales from existing customers.
Small Business Online Marketing Goes Mobile with Glyder
As a small business time is money.
And because of this you don’t always have the resources to take advantage of the latest innovations in marketing, especially online.
When you’re busy running the business finding time to get online, design and distribute the latest promotion can be difficult. Even if you have Twitter and Facebook on your mobile, creating a well constructed marketing message on it isn’t simple.
Marketing Just Went Mobile
OpenTable Co-founder Glenn Allen & Former Zynga Mobile Designer Alan Wells have a solution, with the release of their new mobile marketing application, Glyder, aimed especially at small businesses. They have made it possible to create and share effective marketing messages via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, Text Message, MailChimp and Passbook, all from a free iPhone app.
Tis The Season For Small Business Online Marketers
By now your own email inbox is inundated with the eye-candy holiday subject lines. If you’re a small business marketer, just follow the big boys lead. Introverts will particularly like these ideas because they include short bursts of energy and time, and revolve around planning. ’tis the season!
1. Hurry! Just 5 days left to save!
If you are like me you are signed up for your favorite retailers emails. In approaching the holiday countdown, along with a special price, there’s often a shorter timeframe for the most recent special. This creates a similar sense of urgency today as it has in marketing in years past because – it works! People know the holiday season is just so long and you want to take advantage of it. Consider your pricing and how long you want that price offer. Then consider making it shorter.
2. It can be 12 Days of Christmas.
As short as the season is, you can still plan things out. It might be a short holiday editorial calendar but it will be a plan. Since you are online, maybe even in brick and mortar in addition, there are many things to consider. To take advantage of the festive mood, you want to be certain you consider as many pieces as you can: your blog posts, your special offers, coupons, how often you will email, the products you will promote, and the timing, for example. Whether you write it all down or get some fancy online calendar program is up to you.
Does Your Small Business Use Online Marketing?
Online marketing can make the difference between a high-performing small business and one that’s just average. So found the results of a new study by Forrester Research for Act-On Software. Forrester talked to marketers at a wide range of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) and discovered that those who regularly used online marketing made more money, got more leads and otherwise profited from their digital marketing efforts.
When you’re working with a small budget in a tough economy, I know it’s hard to figure out where to put your marketing dollars. What Forrester found might help you. First, Forrester says, SMBs are not cheap when it comes to marketing. In fact, compared to big companies, SMBs spend a higher percentage of their revenues on marketing.
However, in general, they’re still focusing most of that budget on traditional techniques. SMBs in the Forrester study showed a marked preference for face-to-face marketing, such as personal networking and attending trade shows. As a result, they’re less likely to use online marketing, and when they do, they use it in a less comprehensive fashion.
The “Cost” of Online Marketing for Small Businesses
Everything you add comes with a cost. And while we, as “SEO engineers” can state all we want about the importance of content marketing, social marketing, blah, blah, blah to a small to mid sized local business, the reality is that sometimes (as in most of the time) the cost of adding everything outpaces the return on investment. In other words, suggesting everything but the kitchen sink in an online marketing campaign to a local restaurant, a dental group or even a plumber may outpace the cost of actually implementing it. Our responsibility is to enhance their business and make them more profitable…not just take the lion share for ourselves.
I think that this philosophy- a philosophy of less should be explored by more small businesses. The idea of generalization (which is what most SEO’s and marketers suggest…let’s be real frank here) where a business is doing a lot of things in a very mediocre way just like their competitors can actually cost the small business more than if they focused on just a couple areas in which they could become great.
Have a Small Business? You May Want a Web Video…
Having a web presence is necessary for small businesses these days. From websites to social media profiles and everything in between, having a presence on the Internet is essential to creating a successful and thriving business nowadays. Some small businesses, though, are taking it to the next level by implementing web videos into their Internet marketing plans and are reaping the benefits.
One of the best ways a video can help out your small business is through video SEO, or search engine optimization. Video SEO is a relatively new market and one that many companies have yet to take full advantage of. Video SEO is similar to it’s traditional counterpart but focuses solely on affecting the visibility of a video through organic search results.
There are several aspects to a properly applied video SEO campaign which includes things like video sitemaps, utilizing keywords, and posting transcripts, but these pieces combined with a relevant and interesting video can result in more video and website visibility. According to INC, a video is 53 times more likely to have a first page result than any other form of traditional media– and that number is nothing to shake a stick at. By getting your video in a top search result, you are creating a high ranking portal back to your website all while informing and educating viewers.
Create a Small Business Online Marketing Plan
Almost every baby business buyer has wondered breadth to activate to advance an online business plan. Several methods can be used; however, alive the afterward basics will be your starting point.
You have to apperceive who your ambition bazaar is and get a bright abstraction of your adopted customer. This is not an breadth area you wish to achieve a guess. Researching your ambition bazaar is your aboriginal step.
Ask questions, such as:
- What are the demographics (age, income, etc) of my customers?
- Why do my barter acquirement from my business?
- What articles do my barter purchase?
- Are my barter echo customers? Why or why not?
There are abounding added questions you can add to added actuate your ambition market. The aloft questions are meant alone as a starting point.
3 Ways Small Business Online Marketing Changed in 2012
10 years ago, online marketing for a brick-and-mortar business meant having a website and maybe an email list. Today, online marketing has expanded to the point where it involves numerous methods which each have their own specific strategies – like how social media marketing requires a completely different strategy on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
For the typical small business which has a low marketing budget, trying to stay on top of all these online marketing methods is a hopeless endeavor. However, it is important for small business owners to be aware of how online marketing is changing so they can utilize the marketing methods which will get them the best results.
Here are the 3 biggest changes to online marketing in 2012 and how they will affect your small business marketing plan.
1. SEO Isn’t As Important
In the past, online marketing experts encouraged small businesses to use SEO tactics like backlink building to get more exposure for their websites. The tone changed drastically though once webmasters saw the effects of Google’s algorithm changes in 2011 and 2012 (known collectively as Google Panda). Now, it is much more difficult for small business websites to rank on the search pages through SEO efforts alone.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Long-Tail Clients (Small Business Owners)
Hopefully most of you have already read the news, but in case you haven’t, I am very excited to be a full-time member of the SEOmoz staff! The announcement came out as I was en route from Blueglass X in Tampa to BIA Kelsey’s ILM West show in Los Angeles. In fact, and I’m still trying to catch up on thanking everyone in my Twitter stream and on the original blog post.
Both conferences were excellent, but if you’ve never attended a BIA Kelsey show, it’s a completely different animal from conferences and seminars in the search industry. The conference contains very few “actionable tips that you can implement on Monday morning,” but that’s not the reason you attend. BIA Kelsey recruits executives from the major digital marketing technology and service providers to small businesses for extended 1:1 or 1:2 discussions with their analysts. By and large, these executives are surprisingly open about challenges they face, and although some sessions turn into sales pitches, the best ones give you real insight into the online marketing pain points and opportunities for small businesses across the country.
How to Choose Your Small Business Target Audience and Find Them Online
No matter what kind of business you run, narrowing your focus to an ideal target audience can have a huge impact on your bottom line. When you are clear about who you want to reach, it makes it easier for your audience to connect with you.
For example, let’s say you’re an over-worked mom and you want to hire a life coach to help you get some perspective on your hectic life. At an event, you meet two coaches: one who introduces herself as “a life coach for everyone,” and one who says she is “a life coach for working moms who are struggling with work-life balance.” Who do you think you’d be more likely to hire?
Establishing a niche focus helps you better connect with the needs of your audience. And when you cast the net too wide, you actually risk losing business because you lack focus. Here are some additional examples:
- Financial advisor who specializes in working with divorced women
- Website designer for retail stores
- Music teacher for ages 7 to 12
- Contractor specializing in bathroom remodels
See how this works? This doesn’t mean that you can’t serve people outside of your niche, but it does give your business a clear focus so you can then develop all of your marketing collateral, products, and services to meet the specific needs of your target audience.