Internet Marketing Strategies For Beginners – In Plain English!
If you’re like most entrepreneurs or small business owners that are new to marketing their business online, you are probably feeling like (a) you have no idea where to start, or how to do all the technical stuff you need to do, or (b) you are overwhelmed by all of the information out there and feel like you’ll never get it all done. In the hopes of relieving any stress and confusion about all of this “internet stuff”, I am going to provide you with an overview of the fundamental tools that you will need to get in place to have an effective online presence, and explain why you need them (so you don’t feel like you are wasting your time).
First of all, since you are even considering having an internet presence for your business, congratulations, because over half of businesses between $100,000 – $1,000,000 in sales don’t even have a website, according to Gardner Research!
Here are the 5 Fundamental Tools that you should have for your business to use the internet effectively:
1. A Blog or Website – This is the “front door” for your business, so you want it to be professional looking and informative, so that prospects aren’t turned off. Using a website template or an old website built in 1999 will look like just that… and sends a subtle message to prospects that you aren’t on top of things. To get started, register a domain name at a registrar like GoDaddy.com (it’ll only cost you about $10 a year to own the domain name, and about $5 a month to host your website at that address). Then, use a free blogging platform like the one at WordPress.org or Blogger.com to have a site that is professional looking and super easy to update. (Search engines like Google love fresh content!)
2. Online Videos – You’ll want to use some short, 1-2 minute videos to promote your business online. You can shoot these with almost any digital camera on the market today. The reason you want to use videos is that it is the next best thing to actually meeting your prospects in person. The bottom line is that on the internet, video is the fastest way to build trust with your prospects. And, they have to trust you before they will buy from you! Good topics for your short videos ar things like current promotions you are running, the benefits of using your products or services, and how to use your products. Then, create a free account at YouTube.com and upload your videos. Once on YouTube, you can copy and paste the code in the “Embed” box from YouTube to you WordPress blog or other website, and the videos will show up on your blog or website – for free!
3. Email Autoresponders – This is really just a fancy term for a simple system that sends out a series of emails to your customer list. If you have ever signed up for a “free report” or anything like that online, you have no doubt received a bunch of emails from the person over the course of the next few weeks… that’s an email autoresponder. The reason you want to be using these systems is that you will stay top-of-mind with your customers and prospects and build more trust with them if you send them good, useful information. You can set up an account very inexpensively at sites like iContact.com and ConstantContact.com (in the neighborhood of $10-15 a month!)
4. Squeeze Pages – A squeeze page is one of those sites that you have no doubt seen online where there is a box where you can enter your name and email address. Typically, you are asked to do this in exchange for something of value, such as a “free report” or a subscription to a weekly newsletter. This is a great technique that you can use in your market to find new prospects. And, it is very inexpensive marketing! You can set up a squeeze page as a separate page within your blog or website, or you can put one on its own domain name. And, the cool thing is, the email autoresponder services like iContact and Constant Contact will automatically generate the code you need to have one of those opt-in boxes on your website, so you can just copy and paste the code into your site and it will show up. No technical knowledge needed, just copy and paste!
5. Social Networking – Since so many people are joining social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn every day, why not take a few minutes to set up your account and profile on these sites. This way, people that are your friends can refer you to their other friends, and before you know it, you will have massively widened your net online. Make sure you remember to put your web address prominently in your profiles so that it is easy for people on social networking sites to jump over to your website! Also, people on these sites can search for things that they need, so if you are an auto mechanic in Cleveland, mention those keywords throughout your profile and in your updates so that you can be found by interested prospects! These sites are free and growing fast, so you might as well get yourself positioned on them now.
To summarize, you don’t need any technical skills to be able to have an effective online presence, and you don’t need a big budget. For under $200 a year, and just spending a few hours of your time, you can implement all of the 5 fundamental tools I mentioned in this article! The internet can be very low cost, guerrilla style marketing, with a very high return on investment. The important thing is, just get started, focus on one thing at a time, and make sure you get the fundamentals right!