I often refer to the Internet as the « Great Equalizer » in terms of business competition. With the right Internet marketing strategies, your small business can compete with (and often surpass) your larger competitors.

Online, it really doesn’t matter how big your marketing department is, or what your annual budget is. All that matters is how well you manage and promote your website. So if you di this better then your competition, you can take the lion’s share of the web-driven business in your industry or niche. Here are some small business Internet marketing tips to help you do just that.

Internet marketing success

First of all, you need to understand the importance of the web and how it can help you grow your business. When we want to research a topic these days, what’s the first thing to do? We sit down at the computer and use a search engine to gather information. This method of research is becoming more common with each passing day.

So this is the first Internet marketing tip you should absorb from this article, the Internet has the power and reach to take your small business to the next level. With that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the things you can do to capitalize on this…

Tips for visibility

From an Internet marketing persperctive, search engine visibility is one of the best things you can achieve for your small business. So it’s worth your time to learn to fundamentals of search engine optimization (SEO) and apply them to your website. Here are some of those fundamentals:

  • Do a thorough round of keyword research using Google’s keyword tool, WordTracker or something similar. This will help you identify the key phrases you should focus on for search engine optimization. Internet marketing success starts with building blocks such as this.
  • Create plenty of original content for your small business website, focusing on the topics you identified in the last tip on keyword research. How you organize your content will depend on your business model, your products and services, etc. The important thing is to create quality information that is specific to you intended audience.
  • Inbound links (from other website to yours) will help you boost your rankings in the major search engines like Google. So research the various ways to build links and practice them on a regular basis. Techniques include article marketing, networking, submitting your website to web directories and more.

Tips for usability

Website usability is an important part of your small business Internet marketing program. If your website is hard to use (for whatever reason), you are going to lose business as a result. So it’s worth your time to learn the key concepts of usability and apply them to your site. Here are some starting points:

  • Examine your menu / navigation structure to ensure it makes sense. Your menu should follow standard web conventions to help visitors find their ways. Label things clearly and logically. Draw it out on paper first, if necessary.
  • Have a friend visit your small business website, somebody who has never seen it before. Ask them perform a certain task, such a locating a particular product or service. You’ll find out pretty quick how easy or hard your website is to use.
  • Keep your web page clean and clutter-free. Each page should have a specific goal. This is an Internet marketing tip that many small business owners ignore. I can’t tell you how many websites I have visited that were overloaded with information, to the point of confusing me completely.

Tips for conversions

Within the context of small business Internet marketing, a “conversion” takes place when a casual website visitor becomes something else. For example, when somebody visits your site and signs up for an email newsletter list, they have been “converted” from a visitor into a subscriber. Web-based leads, inquiries and purchases are other forms of Internet conversion.

  • Use multiple techniques for lead generation and/or sales generation. With all other things being equal, several techniques will produce more conversions than a single method alone.
  • Start this process by identifying the top-three actions you want people to take when they visit your site. Action “A” might be the most important, but you should also have a “B” and “C” to fall back on. For instance, if you can’t make a sale, you should at least capture the visitor’s contact information for follow-up purposes.
  • Conversion points are the areas of your small business website where you want people to take action. A sign-up box and a purchase button are two examples. Make sure your conversion points are visible in key areas of your website. Provide clear instructions where necessary.

 

Obviously, there is a lot more to small business Internet marketing than this list of tips and tactics. But this article offers a good overview of the three most important concepts: visibility, usability and conversion.
If you focus on these three things, and improve them every way you can, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.