The best place to begin marketing your small business online.

11 replies
Totally just realized that my original post made this the wrong section of the forums to post it in, so here's the subject matter:

Long story short, I had a small business owner ask me what the best area of online marketing to focus on when first bringing his business online was.

I told him, that while each different outlet for promotion (typical website, blog, social media, PPC, etc) all served different purposes and work wonders for different businesses, that working on building his business' own site and filling it with quality content was the absolute most important thing to do at first because all of the other methods of promotion work better if they can feed off of his website.

What are your thoughts on this?


Best,
-Mike Roncone
#begin #business #how to start #marketing #online #place #small #small business #small business online #where to start
  • Profile picture of the author Alexyew
    Originally Posted by Mike Roncone View Post

    Howdy warriors,

    I recently wrote an article about what the best method of promotion to start out is for a small business going online.

    I wanted to get some warrior's opinions on it, so I will post a transcript of it below as well as a link to the article itself.

    Let me know what you think!


    ---Article Start---
    I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what small business owners want to learn about putting their businesses online. Today somebody asked where he should focus his online efforts after initially starting his business.

    One of the first things to understand is that all of these different outlets for marketing your business online each serve a different purpose and speak to different businesses and their needs. For example, Facebook is great for businesses and organizations that are trying to make a specific community aware of their goals and services. Twitter is good for businesses that want to keep their customers informed and involved with by-the-minute updates about their operations and LinkedIn is best for the individual that makes consulting and their priority.

    Despite the specific purposes of each outlet there are certain steps to establishing yourself online which, regardless of the nature of the business, will help guide you to accomplishing your goals.

    To begin, one thing you will notice about any online authority, like The Wall Street Journal, is that their websites are always riddled with interesting, quality information. Regardless of any drastic technological changes or massive shifts in social behaviors, the necessity of great content has always been the highest priority for any website owner when trying to create a trustworthy environment for your visitors.

    In order to attract visitors to your site and then make those visitors customers, the most important thing that your website needs to do is develop trust. Being a website there are a very limited (although growing every day) number of ways to attract visitors without paying for them, and to make those visitors trust you. The two most prominent of these are:

    Having a website design that does not immediately scare people away
    Having great content that provides insight into what you do and how you do it or into something that they wanted to learn.
    For example, a restaurant's website should include everything about their food. What it is, where it comes from, why that specific item. On top of that, the site should also have everything about the restaurant that doesn't relate to its food including any relevant history, something about the owners, and what makes them unique compared with similar restaurants.

    On the other hand, a consultant's website should include as much of their knowledge as they can possibly give away without rendering their services unnecessary. The willingness to share some of one's expert knowledge for free speaks to the quality of character that you uphold when dealing with your clients.

    So in direct response to the question: I would have to say that your own website is the number one place to focus when first bringing your business online.

    All other forms of promotion should build off of your website. When you make posts on a social media site? Post back to your real website! When you use QR codes to distribute around the community and get smartphone users to look you up? Link back to your real website!

    There are plenty of plugins and other ways to put the social media buttons that you want all over your website. Think of it this way: if somebody was going to like your facebook page... They will almost certainly "like" it from your website. (granted that you have the button where they will see it)

    I might be heading in a certain direction here... Every promotional effort that you pursue should link back to your original website that is full of great content that people will recommend to their friends and colleagues. There is only so much information that you can stuff into a social media platform, or a PPC advertisement, or even a brochure.

    A great website with great content will always drive traffic and build trust and create leads. Other promotional methods generate traffic in small bursts. They generate trust only so long as you post the exact things someone wants to see without cluttering their feed and annoying them.

    posted here
    ---Article Finish ---

    So there you have it, this is my opinion when it comes to first bringing your business online, and that is what I told the person who asked. What do you all think?

    Best,
    -Mike Roncone

    Hi,

    I just read your article. Thanks for the nice article.

    My frank opinions to you:
    - there are tons of similar articles on internet.
    - not many people are interested to read a lengthy article.
    - what makes you think that people would read your articles?
    - people like to see prove or fact for earning. If you can provide some real examples, you would be able to attract readers to read your articles. The key point is the correct contents with the right element (people love money!).
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Roncone
    Well of course there are tons of similar articles, but if the question is still being asked then it hasn't been answered properly yet. At least that was my reasoning for following through on it.

    Also, I honestly didn't think that 660 words was lengthy. In fact, I thought that it was best to aim for around 500-600 words in terms of being able to provide value and not looking spammy.

    Also, The article wasn't about direct earnings, it's about bringing a small business' operations online and the process for doing that.
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    Founder & Web Strategist at Grae Web Strategies

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    • Profile picture of the author SanjeevM
      From your original article: "Having a website design that does not immediately scare people away" - LOL!

      Your article is pretty good - bang on target.

      I certainly agree that having a site filled with interesting, useful information should be a top priority for businesses. And the beauty of it is that just about every type of business or profession can create one. No better way to build trust.

      Even if the original question has been answered a ton of times in the past via other articles, you still have scope to put out your unique perspective. And anyway, the net is so big there's always room for more.

      Best,
      Sanjeev
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  • Profile picture of the author Sara Nightingale
    Content is king! Also the lay out of your page is very important because of the way Google spiders read information in columns. You want all your information aligned to the left. Do some reading up on that because it's very important if you want to rank well in Google.
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    Sara Nightingale
    Customer Service Edge LLC

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  • Profile picture of the author vCr8
    I agree with Sara, content... content... content... ; lay out your content, SEO your content.. this way you will be able to provide value for users and for the google spiders.
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  • Profile picture of the author geo4tune
    Creating a Quality Website with great, compelling content IS the most important first step. But for offline businesses - the primary goal is to drive people to their business, not their website. A telephone call or a customer walking through the door is always more valuable than a website visit.

    In these cases I think the marketing needs to more balanced between online and offline marketing strategies and being open to online promotions whos goal is to drive customers directly to the business rather than just a website.
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  • Profile picture of the author Madrona
    Banned
    Now off line business, small business are taking help of internet so they would be promoted on internet for better result, you can easily see lots of small businesses are using local classifieds sites, forums etc. to promote their business.
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  • Profile picture of the author textbroker
    Hi Mike, definitely agree with you that the website is the top priority, even for a brick-and-mortar place that needs people through the door. Simply having a site makes you more credible, and it gives your clients and potential clients access to you when the shop is closed. But I think you're missing a really important point - ownership. Businesses need to have their own web presence outside of social to maintain ownership of their content. Facebook changes formats and permissions on a regular basis. Twitter doesn't archive tweets. And both of these companies can close or drop in popularity at any time. What happens then? Keeping your content on your own site keeps you in control.
    Don't get me wrong, I love social media, but it won't make up for a professional site.
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  • Profile picture of the author ADukes81
    Yes, content is important, but I'd say context is more important. Going forward it's about creating one-on-one relationships with your audience. The beauty of the social web is no matter how big or small your company is, it can be done.

    Here is an interesting article I came across this morning: The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR And Real Content
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  • Profile picture of the author jessebobb
    Make sure to provide the content that your audience wants, thats what you have to find out for yourself
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Roncone
      Originally Posted by geo4tune View Post

      Creating a Quality Website with great, compelling content IS the most important first step. But for offline businesses - the primary goal is to drive people to their business, not their website. A telephone call or a customer walking through the door is always more valuable than a website visit.

      In these cases I think the marketing needs to more balanced between online and offline marketing strategies and being open to online promotions whos goal is to drive customers directly to the business rather than just a website.
      You're definitely right that those types of conversions are more valuable, but I feel like that is out of the scope of this particular article, in fact you're right so much so that I think I will make it a point to write another article addressing these issues. Thanks!

      Originally Posted by textbroker View Post

      Hi Mike, definitely agree with you that the website is the top priority, even for a brick-and-mortar place that needs people through the door. Simply having a site makes you more credible, and it gives your clients and potential clients access to you when the shop is closed. But I think you're missing a really important point - ownership. Businesses need to have their own web presence outside of social to maintain ownership of their content. Facebook changes formats and permissions on a regular basis. Twitter doesn't archive tweets. And both of these companies can close or drop in popularity at any time. What happens then? Keeping your content on your own site keeps you in control.
      Don't get me wrong, I love social media, but it won't make up for a professional site.
      Another GREAT response, and I can't believe I left out the ownership aspect of it! I'm actually huge on developing genuine web presence, so I can't believe I left that out. I will most likely make a direct edit to add a blurb about web presence in here. Moreover, I think I will write a whole article on the value of strong web presence and ownership of your content/value which social media doesn't exactly provide.

      Thanks for all the GREAT feedback. And especially for the ideas for new content

      Best,
      -Mike Roncone
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      Founder & Web Strategist at Grae Web Strategies

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