There are dozens, or possibly hundreds, of tactics that can be implemented for online marketing. Tactics can include social media, email, paid ads on Google, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. But where should an entrepreneur start with his or her online marketing? What are the most important tactics that should be implemented right away, and what should be saved for later? This is Part 1 of a three-part series about online marketing for entrepreneurs.
As the saying goes, “You have to spend money to make money.” That’s true for virtually any new business venture. In order to build your customer base, it’s essential to invest some money into marketing.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends 7-8% of your gross revenue to be invested into marketing, unless you’re making more than $5 million in revenue per year. Nobody can give a fixed marketing budget that all entrepreneurs should stick to. Marketing budgets should be customized to each individual and their company.
For starters, answer this question: “What is my expected gross revenue?” Once that’s calculated, set aside 7-8% of that budget for marketing. Once the marketing budget is established, it’s time to decide on the tactics to implement.
As mentioned earlier, there is a plethora of tactics available when it comes to online marketing. It’s also worth pointing out that traditional marketing is an option too. Billboards, commercials, radio spots, print ads, etc. are all common marketing tactics. However, they can frequently be much more expensive than online marketing. That alone can make it less feasible to do traditional marketing tactics. There are still advantages to traditional marketing, but for now, let’s look at some of the most commonly implemented online marketing tactics.
It is almost a necessity that every business has a website. A website can serve many functions, including generating leads, increasing online sales, sharing information and building credibility.
Developing a website, however, can range significantly in price. You can hire a website development company to build a very good website for just a few thousand dollars. On the other hand, you can hire a high-end website design team (and maybe a marketing team) to build a website costing $50,000 or more. There are also DIY website options, such as WordPress or Wix, that cost very little.
There are pros and cons to each website development option. If you’re trying to decide how to build your website, it may be a good idea to do some research on the benefits you are looking for in a website. If the benefits are worth the time and cost, then you should probably put the right resources into a website.
There are many business directory websites on the internet where you can create free listings. Some of the most common free websites are Google My Business, Yelp and Manta. But, there are many other listing websites that are still valuable, though not as well known. Examples of these include Lacartes, Hotfrog and YellowBot.
A more comprehensive list of free business listing websites can be found with a quick Google Search. These online directories will be especially valuable if you include a link to your website when you create the listings. Having high-quality websites backlink to your own website is an extremely popular SEO tactic.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making your website move up the rankings on search engines. Google is the most frequently used search engine, and YouTube is the second. There are nearly two billion websites on the internet.With that being the case, Google (and other search engines) has an algorithm that evaluates each website and ranks them. Unless your website is ranked as one of the top 10 search results, then it won’t show up on the first page of Google.
There are many tactics that can be implemented to improve the way a website ranks. For entrepreneurs who intend to acquire website traffic from Google, SEO will need to be a key ingredient for their online marketing strategy.
Once you begin researching SEO, you’ll discover that all aspects of this type of marketing fall into one of the two following categories:
This has to do with everything that takes place on your website. Here are some examples:
There are other aspects of on-site SEO, but this gives a general idea of the type of work that falls into this category.
Just because you have a website with a lot of great content doesn’t mean it will outrank your competitors’ websites. The on-site SEO will be excellent for your website, but what you do off your website will also impact your rankings.
Google cares about how many websites link to you. It also cares about the quality of the links that come in to your website. Your competitor may have a superior website than what you have, but if you have superior links coming to your website, you can outperform them on a Google search.
The best online marketing practice is to implement both on-site and off-site SEO tactics and best practices.
[Editor’s Note: This concludes Online Marketing Orientation for Entrepreneurs: Part 1/3. The next post in this series will present several other tactics and additional information, to be used for those who wish to effectively use online marketing.]
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Joshua Lyons, is the owner of Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC and the co-founder of CRE Marketing Group. He began his marketing career upon graduation from the University of West Florida in 2009, with an education in public relations and marketing. After many years of marketing, in commercial real estate, hospitality and other industries, Joshua began…
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