Here is a reprint of an article that ran a few months ago. It covers internet marketing which is a very hot topic with our client base. I hope you find this useful. The link we had to the original story is broken so if you come across a new location for the original, please send it to us for update.
Do-It-Yourself Internet Marketing for Small Business
Posted by Blake Barnett
Businesses seeking increased traffic to their websites and social media profiles can hire an SEO expert to review and revamp their current pages. While this is sure to pay off in the long run, it can come at a steep cost. Fortunately, there are many ways for web marketers to increase their search rankings without spending any money whatsoever.
Here are three excellent methods to improve your web presence and drive inbound leads at no cost.
1. List your business in free business directories.
Business directories are an excellent vehicle to promote your business because they are already optimized to show up high in web searches. Any links you receive from these directories will have a greater weight, due to the elevated Google PageRank that the directories enjoy. Reputable directories include Thumbtack, Merchant Circle, and Contact Squid.
Of these, the Contact Squid free business directory probably offers the most internet marketing “oomph” thanks to built-in Facebook and Twitter feeds as well as the ability to optimize your profile page for the search engines.
When submitting to directories, make each separate profile unique. Write up a good description of your business using the keywords you want to rank highly for. Take advantage of any additional media the directories allow you to upload, such as pictures and videos.
2. Produce as many backlinks possible yourself.
Backlinks are simply links on websites around the ‘net that point back to your page. They are one of the most important components in search engine optimization, so time spent getting backlinks to your site is time very well spent.
Sign up for accounts on bookmarking sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, etc. and submit your websites and your business directory pages to them. Also, Tweet, +1, and “like” the pages as well, including the URLs with your posts.
3. Optimize your actual links and URLs
The last tip for free do-it-yourself internet marketing is to optimize your URLs and links. First, place keywords in the URLs themselves. If you are trying to rank for “Fresno Bridal Jewelry,” then the URL for your bridal jewelry-based page should be something like “http://www.contactsquid.com/fresnobridaljewelry“.
Next, when submitting links around the web, it is better to place keywords in the anchor text instead of your URL when allowed. Anchor text consists of the words that make up a hyperlink. Taking our bridal jewelry page example, the anchor text should appear as “Fresno Bridal Jewelry” instead of “http://www.contactsquid.com/fresnobridaljewelry.” In addition to linking to your main website, make sure you also place some links pointing to your directory profile pages as well.
Following the tips in this article will give you a very good fighting chance among the thousands of other businesses in your industry competing for search engine rankings. The results will make you very glad you invested all the time and effort to do it right.
A recent article in the Dayton Business Journal featured two SBDC’s in the Dayton region. Pat Newcomb from the Entrepreneur’s Center and Earl Gregorich from Wright State University collaborated to provide insight on marketing strategies with traditional and social media. Check out the full DBJ story.
There are several networking opportunities in the Dayton area for small business owners to take part in. While we don’t endorse any one of these events, don’t be surprised if you show up and see an SBDC counselor in the crowd. If you do, be sure to stop us and say hello! (Have a networking event you would like to add? Send it to us.)
The Association of Small Business Development Centers has partnered with Braddock Communications, Inc. and published the book ‘Braddock’s Procurement Guide 2013: An Entrepreneurs Guide to Selling to Governments and Corporations”. This book provides an overview of the government and corporate marketplace, with insight on the inner workings on how the decisions are made. The book also includes the following topics…
• Selling to the Federal Government/State Governments
• Selling to Large Corporations
• Selling to Foreign Governments and International Organizations
• “Green” Procurement
• Special Resources for Women-, Minority-, or Veteran-Owned Businesses
And thanks to the Microsoft Corporation, this guide is available to all SBDC directors and their clients at no cost. For a copy of this must-have guide, talk to your local SBDC Director or visit http://www.asbdc-us.org/BraddockProcOppsGuide.html
Wordnik, VisualThesaurus, TheFreeDictionary, UrbanDictionary, Ubersuggest
These tools will help you locate words related to your product or business. Use this group of websites to generate a word bubble that contains several descriptive terms that are related to your product, service or business.
This website will change common puns and phrases into puns using a word from your word bubble.
Many common words you may want to use for your business or product name are already being used by others. WerdMerge allows you to take short words and generate unique combined spellings.
This tool will help you find words that rhyme with your chosen primary term from your word bubble.
This word generator will create random words based on your interaction with the site.
The title of this site says it all.
Once you have a name, run a quick check to see how unique it truly is.
Here at the SBDC, we have many opportunities to network with our clients and fellow resource providers. Many of our clients have been open with the fact that they find networking very difficult and sometimes downright unproductive. Whether you like it or not, networking is a fact of being in business and you have to learn to “work a room” effectively. Not everyone will be a pro but you should strive to feel comfortable joining a conversation and learning about others in your business circles.
We have put together a one page guide that summarizes some of the best-practices of networking that we have come across. Download and customize it to suit your networking needs then get out there and practice, practice, practice!
Here are some online articles we used to help pull our guide together:
Business Networking Tips and Techniques – Great checklist and elevator speech guide.
How to Network Successfully – A quick read on some of the basics.
The Real Secret to Successful Networking – Great instruction on developing the leads from networking.
In today’s competitive markets, every piece of knowledge that puts your business one step ahead of the competition is always critical. Sometimes this knowledge can stem from the competition itself. Here are six easy ways to monitor your competition to look for a competitive advantage…
1.) Subscribe to their blogs
Businesses these days are becoming more and more transparent, use this to your advantage. Reading their blogs and posts can help you understand their newest features and latest products.
2.) Use their products
Using the competition’s websites often can help you discover new features on their webpages before they are officially released. Many companies “soft-launch” features little by little, keeping up to date with their websites can help you learn and detect these new features.
3.) Look at their photos
With social media and corporate websites, pictures are extremely easy to come by. Taking a look at each of these pictures can help you assess the company by finding out its culture, what computers and hardware they use, even how many employees they have.
4.) Monitor their press releases and news
Similar to reading their blogs, monitoring press releases and news can give you all sorts of information on the competition. To keep up with these, set up Google alerts to notify you.
5.) Monitor their Twitter and Facebook pages
A lot can be said of how people perceive your company, and the same goes for your competition. Monitoring these two social media sites will allow you to learn how the public feels about your competition, what they like and dislike can both be helpful.
6.) Understand their employees
Employees are the greatest asset to any business. Understanding the competiton’s employees can help you learn about the company, why it was started, and what drives the people behind it. Understanding them can be as simple as following them on LinkedIn or Facebook, use the web to your advantage.
For more business information, go to http://upstart.bizjournals.com/