Monday, October 19, 2009

Small Business Internet Marketing: Identify Local Opportunities

It’s time for local small businesses to get on the internet marketing wagon. Just about every business has a need to identify internet marketing opportunities. It is not only for ecommerce, but also for brand awareness, lead generation, and reducing acquisition cost. It is just as critical for small businesses as any other company to be competitive on the web.

Generally, local customers would prefer to use local service providers or get products from a local store. It is easier for major corporations to compete for online or internet marketing space in major cities like Philadelphia, New York City or Chicago because they have the cash-flow to do it. They usually want little to do with small markets, what a surprise! Is that where small local business reside? Most small businesses operate in a 15-30 miles radius around their office location. This means that if your business is located in Reading, PA, you can curve out a respectable niche within the Berks/Lehigh markets with limited competition for the “major” cities. This is such a great way to increase your business and the internet should be utilized to its fullest potential as a marketing tool.

Not only is internet marketing effective for brand awareness, but it can also help to develop automated processes (efficiency = productivity). An example of this would be a contact form on your website. The contact form could the lead to your email database, completion of the form generates a trigger email (Thank you!), which populates directly to your email service provider tool, and you can continue to market & nurture the leads with a newsletter or promotions!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BCTV Interview

Our President & CEO was interviewed by BCTV on Friday, October 9th. Check out the footage and let us know what you think.

It will air again on Sunday at 7:30pm & Thursday at 4:30pm.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carpe diem (Seize the Day")

Small business owners and entrepreneurs must "seize the day" and now is the time. Many large corporations are cutting costs, corners, and employees. It's a great opportunity to acquire new talent (freelancer or consultant), pick-up their clients that got lost in the crowds, improve internal processes, or get great bargains on supplies.

If business is slow, now is the time to review your marketing plan, metrics, website trends, strategy, key performance indicators, and overall marketing campaign performance. Reevaluate your strategic partnerships to see if these relationships still make business sense. Take a look at what is working and what is not working in your internet marketing.

It is generally less expensive to keep your current clients than acquire new clients. Talk to your current customers; it might be a great opportunity to up-sell, cross-sell, or ask for a referral.

Ask yourself this question: Are you going to be in the best possible position to increase sales, bring growth to the business, and market to your target audience tomorrow?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Strategies for Optimizing Press Releases

Press Releases are intended to highlight a specific event, announcement, or special information to be sent to the media in hopes that they will cover your story. It seems pretty simple; just write and release, but there have to be tactics to ensure that your press release is getting recognized.

Since press releases are not only being read by news reporters, but also another audience being the end-users utilizing search engines, it is especially important to make sure that these possible consumers are finding your press release. By putting links in your press release, it helps end-users to be led somewhere helpful if they want more information about your business. To target your other audience of reporters and journalists, it is crucial to decide on a distributions channel that will be most beneficial to getting your press release out there in the media and to come up in search engines. There are many news services that do this including: PR Web, PR Newswire, Business Wire, Marketwire, etc.

Another very important strategy that will help optimize your press release for online search is researching and defining the right keywords to help reach your target audience. It is a great idea to place these keywords in the headline and/or subhead of the release as well as in the lead paragraph of the release since these are the most important parts of the press release. Also, to intrigue readers, try to create a creative hook that will grab attention and encourage your target audience to further inquire about your release. Another strategy in addition to keywords is adding an image to your press release because this will set it apart from other press releases as well as increase its visibility in search engines as image searches are becoming more popular.

One more thing: do not forget to track the effectiveness of your press release by measuring results. Through Search Engine Optimization reporting, you can find out how much traffic was driven to your website from the press release as well as how many people are reading the press release itself!