Effective Online Marketing For Small Business Owners


Written by Zach Randall. Posted in SEO Blog

As a small business owner, your time is finite and often feels even more strained when you think about marketing. You must choose how to effectively utilize time, energy, and budget to drive the most impact for your business. So, how should you invest that limited amount of time? Where should you focus your online marketing efforts?

For starters, you probably have a website or a blog where you post new content. Consider your website the “hub” of your online presence. At the end of the day, your goal is to leverage this hub to drive new customers. To do that, your focus needs to be on expanding connections to the hub, not the size of the hub itself.

In the last two years, Google made changes to its algorithm allowing small businesses to outrank larger national players. It is possible, with your limited time, to improve your search traffic, but you need to focus your efforts.

Too often, small business owners are told, “You need to blog on a weekly basis to be successful online,” or “You need to create more pages about every service you offer on your website.” The problem with this advice is that increasing the size of your hub (based on textual content) doesn’t necessarily mean people are going to find it. We consider blogging important, but it’s a strategy you should emphasize as a lower priority with your “spare” online marketing time.

Consider the following scenario:

You can choose between two options to increase the number of customers coming to your store:


Double the size of your store so that when people arrive you can conduct more business.


Double the number of signs near your location telling potential customers you are nearby.

While increasing the size of your store may allow you to do more business, it won’t necessarily bring you more business.

If you have a limited amount of time to market your business online, focus on expanding the breadth of your online presence. Here are 5 specific tactics you can leverage:

1. Build contacts with your local press.

Try to create a newsworthy event with your business every 3 months and notify your press contacts of the news. Ask them to run a story on their website about the event. What’s a newsworthy event? Partnering with a local charity, school or library is a great way to be noticed – get involved with your local community in a positive way.

2. Review your local online directories.

Ensure these websites have your contact information posted correctly with a link to your website. If they don’t, find out how to get your information on their site. During your review, make sure to address Yellow Pages and other websites with local focus.

3. Ask Your Customers for Testimonials.

Direct your clients to post their testimonials on a site other than your own, such as Yelp! or your Google listings. Building content outside your store page will help to drive awareness about your business.

4. Monitor & Engage In Social Media.

Don’t just post on Facebook, instead monitor conversations and groups on Linkedin, and other social sites looking for opportunities to jump in with comments and suggestions that illustrate your expertise. Being helpful in the social space creates a huge opportunity to build your presence.

5. Offer Web-Based Coupons

Create coupons that can only be obtained from the web. Post them on your social profiles and link to them from comments and articles – just get them out on the web as much as possible. This can grab a lot of attention online.

Whatever strategies you decide to leverage, don’t fall into the trap of only focusing on increasing the size of your digital hub. You could build a super store, but without proper signage and exposure no one will find you!

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