Tag Archives: landing pages

7 Components of Internet Marketing for Small Business

7 Components of Internet Marketing for Small Business

7 Conscious Steps to Connect with Website Visitors

Internet marketing for small business, also known as web marketing, online marketing, digital marketing and online small business marketing is comprised of many components. Internet marketing encompasses several disciplines, involving everything from websites, email, search engine optimization (SEO),social media and more. There is no one-size-fits-all for internet marketing campaigns. Depending on your business and your target market, finding the right balance between the many options available may take some trial and error but this effort will often lead to great results in internet marketing.

Inbound marketing components are used in concert with your website to convert visitors to customers. When visitors come to your website inbound marketing works to turn those in-coming prospects to customers. Inbound marketing works under the premise that your social media fans and website visitors are expressing an interest in your product or service purely by coming to your website or social media pages. The  same can be said for phone calls coming in from direct mail campaigns and other marketing efforts. Inbound marketing puts practices in place to respond to these hot leads through office procedures, marketing automation software, online contact forms, visitor tracking and through email marketing.

Components of Internet Marketing for Small Business

1. Websites

Some small businesses still don’t have websites – yes, really! Many small business owners do not pause to consider that people search the web for everything. Even if a business is not selling online and the majority of customers or members don’t come from internet marketing campaigns people search for phone numbers, hours, etc. Having information online and available also establishes credibility.

Do you need to make updates? Businesses lose credibility points from visitors if they see a dated website design or information that isn’t current. Outdated information can be frustrating to the visitor and make it seem as if keeping your information (and your customers and prospects) in the loop is not important to you.

What steps can you take to get your website current?

2. Getting Customers to Your Website

Is your website address on everything? You have your website address on your business cards of course, but do you also have your domain name on your company vehicle, in tv ads, radio spots you are running and on all of your social media profiles? Are their places your customers frequent where you can post your website address? Do you include them in ads, social media pages plus blog, and email signature?
Where can you add your website address ?

3. Relevant Content / Keywords

Do you have information on all your products and services posted on your website? We’re you hoping to get back to that someday? Search engines rely on keywords people use when making a web  search query. Adding the words and terms to clearly describe your products and services helps answer customer questions and it helps your website be discovered on search engines.
What products or services need more details on your website?:

4. Calls to Action

In every marketing effort a clear call to action helps to increase responses. Some websites require an email to access content, others offer a live chat option to answer customers in real time. Most website calls to action are requests to fill out online forms, including quote forms, make an online purchase, email, or pick up the phone. Online forms help to capture emails, phone numbers and other contact information of prospects. A clear call to action leads the customer smoothly onto the next step to connect with you.

Web savvy visitors have become hesitant to offer up emails or other contact information readily. Offering an item of value for free in exchange for emails or phone numbers is a great way to be able to follow up with interested customers. Some of the free value added items to offer your customers are e-books, free consultations, free trials and discounts . The key is to create a truly valuable item that your customer benefits from. Offering a download of a one page Top 10 list from your industry and calling it an e-book is not an authentic way to begin a trusting, long lasting business relationship— make sure you are giving value. Be careful not to ask for too much information from them. If you plan to send emails capture their name and email, don’t try and get their snail mail address just in case you need it in the future. The less information a visitor has to fill in the better.
What calls to action can you add to your website?

What can you say or offer to entice visitors to leave an email, call, or fill out a form?

5. Blogging

Company blogs serve as an outlet to post new information about products and services. They also help to educate prospects and customers about how your product or service can help them and they can recognize the value your company offers to them. Blogs can give updates to warranty information, announce new products, company press releases, samples of completed work, customer case studies and industry news. Adding a blog to your company website demonstrates your leadership in the industry and assists with search engine optimization. Consistent blog posts show search bots that your website has current information that should be indexed. Every time you update your site or blog you increase visibility to search engines.

What can you write about that will include your keywords within the context of your blog?:

6. Landing Pages

To highlight a special promotion, product, or service, create a landing page with a strong call to action. Landing pages are stripped down versions of your website that focus on the service or product you are promoting and that promotion only. The page should offer quick bullet information about the item being promoted. Include your logo, a form to complete the purchase of the promotion or a form that gathers information and has a follow up to the customer such as a free download. Landing pages have unique URLSs and are usually associated with a specific email, advertising, or internet marketing campaign. Landing pages can be tied directly to each media used in a campaign. This helps to provide data on what marketing methods received the most activity. You can then use this data for choosing the same or similar marketing methods for future campaigns. The unique URL’s make it easy to check analytics nd gather all kinds of information.

What information is of interest to your website visitors?

What can you offer in exchange for their contact information?

7. E-Mail Marketing

By now you have probably figured out what you will be doing with all of the emails you are capturing. That’s right, email marketing campaigns! There are a variety of ways to stay connected with your customers when you have their email. You can send individual personal emails, weekly or monthly e-blasts or e-newsletters that offer discounts, product updates, etc. You can also create automated emails when visitors perform a specific action on your site. Emails can also be formulated to send at specific times along the sales chain. Creating a process that responds intuitively to customer inquiries serves the customer quickly and makes efficient use of everyone’s time.

How will you use the email addresses you capture? (e-newsletters, send coupons/discount, etc.)

Another large component of internet marketing for small business is social media marketing for small business.  When fed well and frequently, social media marketing campaigns can drive visitors to your website.   Set your intentions and be conscious of how your internet marketing will boost you company brand and sales. If you have question or need help getting an inbound marketing campaign going,  please give us a call. If you are interested in getting more of these detailed small business marketing tips be sure to check our workbook format e-book Mastering the Art of Marketing for Small Business for 2015.

 

7 Chakras of a Connected Website – Keep your website updated

Having a website with a content management system (CMS) that is also a responsive website design is the best type of website for small businesses. CMS sites, like WordPress websites, allows you to keep your website updated even if you don’t know coding. CMS sites that are responsive can be updated easily and can be navigated smoothly on all devices. Contracting a local web design firm to create a responsive webiste with a content management system is the  smartest marketing investment a small business can make right now.

The main components and considerations of a website:

Websites are like hairstyles, you can pinpoint the decade or year they were created at first glance. Your brand image can quickly look outdated with the ever-changing technological advances in online marketing and digital communications these days.

Don’t be accused of having a mullet or big hair website. Update your outdated site to one that is easy to navigate and can be updated easily to keep it current and inspiring.

Responsive websites are the latest and greatest way to present your company web content professionally to people, even when they view it on various devices.  A responsive website will format to fit on a desktop computer monitor, laptop screen, tablet, or smart phone. Responsive website designs for small business are becoming the industry standard because they adapt to the users devices. Small businesses benefit because they eliminate the need for two separate sites; a stand-alone mobile website and a stand-alone desktop website that each require their own updates. Many responsive website designs utilize the widely accepted WordPress content management system (CMS). CMS allows for ease in updates by companies who want to update their site in-house but do not have staff who are trained in web development or coding.

1. Home Page

Typically the home page is the first page visitors will come to on your website. If a visitor enters in your domain name they will come to your home page first. Because your home is usually the first impression a visitor has of your website  your home page needs to be eye catching and hold attention. Contact information and site navigation should be easily identified.

When a visitor lands here they should have a clear understanding what your site is about right away. Consider how to add an interactive element like a video or slideshow to keep visitors on the page longer.

Questions to consider for your website home page design:

  1. How will the visitor know what your business is and what the website contains?
  2. What needs to be included in the main website navigation (products, services, shop, gallery, etc.)?
  3. What photos, graphics, or messages will be used in a photo slideshow that depict your product or service well? also link to website content on internal pages?
  4. Do you have photos for each category of your product or service that link to website content on internal pages?

2. Web Forms and Contact Forms

The web is 24/7, most businesses are not. Web contact forms can be your 24/7 administrative professional or sales representative. Visitors who don’t want to call or wait until you are open can fill out a form quickly, provide their contact information and
ask specific questions. The form will be waiting in the employee email that you designate to receive each online web form inquiry.

What Web Forms Will you Need?

  1. How many web forms do you need?Who will the web form be sent to (identify the email of the person who will receive
  2. Who will the web form be sent to (identify the email of the person who will receive
  3. the inquiry form in their email)?:
    Do you just need a contact form?
    Do you need a quick quote form or detailed quote form?:
  4. Do you need an order form?
  5. How about an application form for membership or employment?

3. Product / Services Page

Even if you only offer one product or service you should have a designated page for it. Customers shopping for your company online want to get as many answers as possible on their first
visit. Your product and services page should include photos, detailed information (preferably keyword enhanced!), how to order, possibly pricing, shopping cart, web inquiry form, and a direct way to contact someone.

Products and Services Page Content:

  1. How many products and services do you have?:
  2. Do you have various product or service categories to include? Get the list together
  3. Do you have photos, descriptions and/or prices for each? Share as much detail as possible!

4. Landing Pages

When you have a specific intent such as a product or service feature or giveaway, landing pages are ideal for getting action. Landing pages are a stripped down home page or product / service page with a clear call to action. Promoted through various media like direct mail, tv advertising, radio, magazine ads, email marketing
or online advertising they offer clear direction to the customer and opportunities to target tracking.

Landing Page Planning:

  1. Identify featured giveaway, contest, product or services for sale
  2. Are downloads or online purchases available or who will receive email inquiries?
  3. How will customers find your landing page?
  4. What media will you use to promote it?

5. Content Management System (CMS)

Websites that have an administrative back end access allow for easy website changes and updates for small businesses. Website changes can be made by people who don’t know code. This is a great service for small businesses to help keep your website updated and keep outsourcing costs down. Administrative roles can be set with varying levels of permission. Staff with access can add photos, articles, blog entries, videos, etc. as easily as they can in a word processing software. The main administrator can add or delete users and their level or access.

How will you keep your website updated?

  1. Who in your office will be in charge of updating?
  2. How many people will need to be trained in the CMS?
  3. How frequently will your website be updated?

6. Blog

A web log holds company information, news and updates that is tied to your company website. Blog entries help to provide informaiton to cusotmers and visitors to your website. If you offer valuable content visitors can subscribe to blog entries in an RSS feed or receive email alerts. Blogs also help bring your website up in search engines better than sites without blogs. You come up in searches better because search engines like it when you keep your website updated with frequent posts. The other reason is relevant content, search engine inquiries response is based on a websites relevant content. When you post information that is connected to your product or service in your blog the content will be of value to search engines and your site will be more apt to come up when inquiries are made that match your blog content.

Is Blogging in Your Futue?

  1. What types of blogs will you write?
  2. How frequently will you post new blogs?
  3. What categories should be included for searching blog content (general, product names, press, etc.)
  4. What are the primary keywords for the website

7. E-Commerce Portals / Member Access

If your website is going to serve as a shop for people to buy online there are a number of decisions to make right away as you are planning the site.

Specialty stores, publications, trade associations and other groups often have an area of the website where members can log on with a password or user name to gain access to specialized information.

Some of the questions to ask yourself when planning these types of websites:

  1. Will visitors pay online?
  2. With Paypal or another payment portal?
  3. Approximately how many products or product categories will you need to include?
  4. Have you considered what your shipping cost will be for each item?
  5. For password protected members, only areas on websites what content will be included?
  6. Who will manage the database of members?
  7. Are there dates when memberships will expire? How will the member be alerted to subscribe again?

You have your homework. Your test will be determining if people will find your website, if they find it easy to navigate, and visually appealing and if you keep your website updated with relevant content. If this all seems overwhelming to you contact us. We can provide consultations. We can help you organize your website content, determine navigation and of course build and design your website – whether you choose to keep your website updated or you would like us to help you with that marketing component as well, we’ll get you connected.

Creating Combined Marketing Campaigns – 2015 Best Marketing Strategies

Combined campaigns example with website landing page and direct mail postcardsWhat market segment or demographic does your largest customer group belong to? Is there a specific industry you have a strong track record with that would benefit from your expertise? Do you want to continue to serve this market and reach other prospects in this segment?

Once you identify your ideal customer the next step is to determine where you can find them.  Are they newspaper or magazine readers? Or are they on Instagram and have never seen a Yellow Page book? Chances are you have a mix of ages, interests or income in your target market groups. This is where creating combined marketing campaigns come in.

Taking the time in the beginning when creating combined marketing campaigns  will provide a multi-channel and cross-platform reach that can catch both the smart phone users and yellow page turners. Encouraging connections through multiple marketing channels builds the relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Creating Combined Marketing Campaigns:

In our effort to reach out to our specific target markets we decided to combine a direct mail campaign with social media and internet marketing to help us reach a larger segment of our specified groups. On our snail mail postcards we provided a custom URL for each market. Prior to mailing we created landing pages on our website associated with each target market. When the postcard recipient typed in the custom URL the landing page offered samples, testimonials and examples of services in their industry that would be helpful to them. Social media posts were created with hashtags and keyword phrases included on our website to help us come up when these prospects make a search inquiry for our services.

Internet advertising campaign created:

  1. To reach the prospects that we did not have mailing addresses for
  2. To get in front of those who received the postcard but did not respond yet

Each ad was similar in design to the postcard that was mailed. The ad linked directly to the custom URL designated for the specific target group. The ads took them to our website landing pages  with the information we wanted to share with them. The landing pages were also similar in design to the postcards and Facebook ad designs that were part of the campaign.

Example of a combined marketing campaign :

One of our target markets is the Michigan construction industry. Connection Group has assisted customers in the Michigan construction industry  with website creation and marketing management for nearly 20 years.  We provide marketing and website design services to builders, remodelers, construction trades and construction product manufacturers. We have the experience, we have the reviews, and we know we can help more  meet their business goals.

Combining Direct Mail and In-Bound Marketing

  • Design an oversized postcard targeting the construction industry
  • Create a unique URL to include on the postcard
  • Create  a construction industry landing page the URL will direct the visitor to
  • Add a call to action

Media Behaviors of this group

  • More likely to be on Facebook than Instagram
  • More apt to be searching Google than watching tv

Conclusion:

  • Prospect mailing list was created
  • Printed postcards – easily viewable by the recipient and inexpensive to produce
  • Unique URL and landing page will help us to track visitors and determine the effectiveness of the direct mail component.
  • Facebook and Google Adwords search would be the best use of our (very limited!) internet advertising dollars.

The above solutions were chosen to fit within our marketing and advertising budget to market to the construction industry. Other marketing segments we provide marketing services for are small to mid-size businesses and professional speakers. Fortunately these groups can be reached on the same media platforms as the construction industry. Pretty strategic marketing right there, right? This approach reduces our need for researching other platforms and keeps our media spend within budget.

If we choose to increase our marketing budget for let’s say the professional speaker market we know media behaviors of this group show they are internet savvy and social. With those traits in mind we could become an affiliate member of the National Speakers Association Michigan or National Speakers Association since we work with Professional Speakers across the country, We could purchase advertisements in their publications, be a vendor at one of their trade shows or sponsor an event. We would not purchase billboards, tv or radio advertising for this group – but we may want to look at YouTube for display or video advertisements .

Long standing businesses who are discovering that traditional advertising and marketing isn’t working anymore will find their sweet spot by creating combined marketing campaigns. Television may still work for some of your customers, combine it with a YouTube video or adwords campaign and see how many new customers result. As in the dawn of the advertising age, knowing your customers interests and needs will help you be where they are and form authentic relationships.

Not sure where to begin? Connect with us today for a consultation and assistance creating combined marketing campaigns that connect with your target market.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Internet marketing strategies

Internet marketing is not an option, it is a necessity for every small business to grow. We love working with start up companies, we love the passion and the excitement new entrepreneurs bring with each bright venture. It is also hard for us to meet some of these fresh start up small businesses who are following their dreams but haven’t done the due diligence of research. We are often contacted first to design and develop a small business website. One of our specialities here of course. However in our first website consultation we talk to our prospective customers about how they are going to market their new business and if they have considered internet marketing. Unfortunately many small business owners believe having a website is an internet marketing strategy. It is a component but it is not a complete strategy to drive traffic, phone calls and orders in and of itself.

Following is a list of some of the internet marketing strategies small businesses implement. Not all of these internet marketing concepts are necessary for every single business. If you are not sure about which will fit best with your internet marketing goals post a question in the comment sections and I will be happy to help. I will need to know what your product or service is and what your internet marketing goals are. Do you want to increase page views, do you want to make more sales, do you want more downloads, etc.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for small business

  1. Web Presence – First and foremost is to have a fully functioning quality website. A website that communicates quickly what your product or service is key in keeping your visitor engaged in staying on your website long enough to determine if they want to work with you. List your services or products, make it easy to locate contact information whether it is an online form and most definitely provide an email contact and phone number on all your pages. Don’t skimp on your website design. If your website looks cheap your company will bear the burden of this perception.
  2. Content Marketing – Content marketing includes articles, blog posts, press releases, e-books, all types of photos including product photos, staff photos, stock photos for your blog posts, and videos. Don’t ever worry that you are offering too much information on your website. Note you will naturally be adding relevant keywords to your content (see SEO below) and you will be answering every visitors question each time they come to your site. Sharing your wisdom and expertise adds credibility and trust for your customer and bodes higher search results than websites that don’t get updated frequently and have less content
  3. SEO/SEM – Search engine marketing helps bring your website up in search results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The use of relevant keywords holds high importance in SEO for small business websites. To use Connection Group as an example, as a graphic design and marketing company in the Lansing Michigan area we want customers who are seeking graphic design and marketing in the Lansing, Michigan to find us. The best way to be visible in search engines is to make sure we have those keywords (graphic design, marketing, Lansing, Michigan) on our website in various places.  There are many components of SEO and many bad practices by disreputable SEO firms to avoid. Please post in comments if you have questions.
  4. Local Search Marketing – Local search incorporates the rules and tactics for standard SEO and integrates maps, such as Google maps. When a customer searches your product or services a map with local companies who fit the query come up. Your company and similar companies in your industry will have listing that include contact information such as address, phone number, and can include website and there will be a symbol on the map indicating your exact business location.
  5. Social Media Marketing – Everybody groan and get it over with. I know social media for small businesses is an internet strategy that challenges the best of us but it all comes down to your goals and your audience. Some of our customers rock Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and others report increased sales rates from the traffic they received from LinkedIn. The most challenging part of social media as an internet marketing strategy for small businesses  is setting the frequency of posts and determining return on investment. To start, I recommend securing social media profiles with your business name in all of the main social media channels. The next step is to evaluate which social media channels your customers spend the most time in, when they are there and what they want to hear from you.  Piece of cake right?
  6. Email Marketing – Email marketing lists are considered by many to be the most valuable database in many small businesses portfolio. Email marketing lists are built from customers and prospects who have expressed an interest in your product or service. Whether you gained them through a give away, a promise to keep them updated on new product releases, or discounts, these people have opted in to receive communication from you. Unlike a phone call, or face to face meeting, emails can be sent 24/7 and the recipient can choose when they will look at them and how they will respond. Small businesses should consider using an established email marketing software such as Mailchimp to help ensure your campaigns reach your customers in-box without getting caught in spam filters.
  7. Landing Pages – A landing page is a page on your website that is designed to capture visitors contact information. Landing pages contain a lead capture form (conversion form) also known as an online inquiry form. Created for a specific audience they can be a very successful internet marketing strategy. Good landing pages are simple and focus on one message to achieve the goal of capturing the lead content. Consider using landing pages with email campaigns targeted to previous customers, use of landing pages with online advertising allow ease of tracking and optimizing for each ad, and lastly landing pages can be used for giveaways and free downloads of e-books, original graphics, etc.
  8. Mobile Compatibility – Mobile marketing statistics so far for 2014 show some industries are seeing nearly 50% of visits to their websites from mobile users. This of course will vary with demographics and your actual product or service but it is high across the board – high enough not to ignore. Most small businesses are investing in responsive website design rather than going with a desktop website and a separate mobile website. Maintaining two separate websites is just crazy unless that’s all you have to do all day. Responsive sites provide the best of both worlds. Those visiting your site on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer get the same information, it is all just scaled for the screen size they are using. Questions? Let’s talk.
  9. Online directory listings – Make sure your business is listed and complete your information and be sure there is accurate contact information in all main online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp and YP. Consumers who do not know your company name but are searching for your product or service can view your listing and contact you. Most directories have free listings and others offer more options at a cost. There are many other service listings like Yext, etc. and also industry specific directories you will want to explore.
  10. Google Adwords and Social Media Paid Advertising – Google Adwords can help bring you to the top of searches page by paying for top placement. Internet advertising is sold on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per  impression. You build ads using keywords for your product or service depending on your budget and how many others in your industry are advertising the same keywords and setting similar budgets your ad will come up in when people search for your product or service. Due diligence must be paid to each online adverting campaign to make sure you are getting in the top rankings and that you are taking advantage of each opportunity. As you work to improve organic search engine results for your website by adding content, etc. Although not for the faint at heart or for those who are not very ‘techie’, Google adwords and some social media advertising can be a good addition to your internet marketing strategy.

So which of the 10 internet marketing strategies above does your company need the most to increase inbound marketing results? Do you think you need to start working on all or them, or only 1 − 4, or are you completely overwhelmed and want to go back to door to door sales and forget all this crazy internet stuff? Connect with us, we can help with all of the services listed, we know the ropes and we can help get results.

Stay connected!

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