small business

What You Need to Know about Online Marketing and Promotion

online marketing and promotion resized 600Think of online marketing and promotion as managing your online reputation and presence. If you mess up online, or put up something awful, then it's there for everyone to see until the end of time, and it makes your business look bad. Even something as small as a tweet or a web page can do harm to your online reputation, especially if that one thing shows that you don't know what you're doing when it comes to online marketing. So you can at least "fake it til you make it", or find someone who can make it without faking it, here's what you need to know about online marketing and promotion:

Your Website is Central

Even if you have all the other online marketing techniques mastered, i.e. social media, email, SEO, but all of that means nothing if your website isn't the best it can. The fact that you have well-optimized pages doesn't help much if your website only have four pages total, and the fact that you have a ton of followers and email subscribers doesn't mean anything if you are directing them to a website built in 2002. Keep the content fresh with business blogging, video content, and/or a resource center, and make sure that it looks professional and modern at first glance. No web visitor (or potential customer) wants to run into weird formatting, broken links, or messy/confusing web design.

Tip: Your website needs to be more than static and brochureware, but also easy to use and easy on the eyes. If you're thinking about improvements, or are wondering if you need improvements, make sure to avoid some of these web design mistakes.

It Can't be All About You

Sure, everything having to do with your online presence has your business' name slapped on it. However, what makes online marketing and promotion different from offline tactics is that your presence can't be all about you, your products/services, and how great you are. It's too easy for potential customers to tune out, and most of the time they aren't necessarily looking for you, anyway. Your potential customers care about their own needs and problems, and will find whatever addresses those needs and problems, whether that's you or not. Potential customers also want to know who will address those needs and problems best, and with the most expertise. When conducting your online marketing and promotion strategy, keep those motives in mind.

Tip: This doesn't mean you should never talk about yourself, just keep in it moderation and/or keep it away from sections that are meant for customers and potential customers. For example, create a separate company news blog for your business or follow the 50/50 rule when it comes to social media sharing.

You Must Consider Conversion Rates

It's great if you have 1000 followers on Twitter and 5000 subscribers to your business blog, but what do those numbers mean in terms of increasing sales for your business. Don't forget that with online marketing and promotion, you ultimately want to increase leads and sales, not just traffic and brand awareness and other numbers that don't impact the bottom line (although factoring those things into the overall picture isn't bad). This means that when measuring your online marketing and promotion efforts, you need to look at how these efforts are contributing to sales and not operate those efforts without that insight.

Tip: If you need help monitoring your conversion rates, then a tool that we recommend is HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing software. It's what we use, and it measures the conversion rates of our web pages, email, social media, and landing pages.

Choose Where You Put Your Online Presence Wisely

When creating and managing your online presence, when implementing your online marketing strategy, you do need to consider where you are directing those efforts and putting your business. Sure, there are 20+ social media sites out there, several press release distribution sites and thousands of blogs that could cover your latest happening and give you a backlink. But, you don't need to be on all of them, and you certainly shouldn't be wasting your time getting on all of them. It's better to build your online presence organically instead of trying to solicit it.

Tip: You don't need to be in any specific place, except online. Don't waste time trying to make Pinterest work for you if your success on Facebook and Twitter are suffering because of the diverted attention.

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How to Blog: Choosing a Blog Writing Company

blog writing companyGreat! You've decided to go with a blog writing company for your business blogging efforts. We've previously discussed how often you should blog, and why small businesses need a blog writing company or blog writing services to help them with their business blogging efforts. Now, you need to figure out how to choose a blog writing company that will provide the quality and engaging blog posts you are looking for to represent your brand. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a blog writing company:

Does the Blog Writing Company Have any Samples?

Having samples or previous clients isn't a necessity, especially if you're willing to take a chance on a new company or freelancer. But, you should be suspicious if the blog writing company's website has a link or a page for samples that doesn't lead anywhere. That sort of "misguidance" showcases a sloppiness that could end up creeping into your business blogging. Hopefully, the blog writing company that you choose has samples of some sort to show you, so you can at least gauge the quality of business blogging the company will produce.

Does the Blog Writing Company Have Experience in Your Industry?

Again, not a necessity or a dealbreaker when choosing a blog writing company. Some don't specialize in a few industries. Some may be so new that they don't quite yet have a specialty. Others may specialize but are not exclusive to those industries (such is our case, as we specialize in the technology, green, and transportation industries). But, if you can find one that specializes in healthcare, hospitality, energy, or whatever your industry is, then that's a huge plus. It means that the company probably has other clients in your industry, it's up-to-date with what's going on, and would know how to create quality content that's relevant to your target audience.

What Does the Blog Writing Company Charge?

Of course, you want the best rate possible. But, business blogging is just like a lot of things in life: you get what you pay for. If you only want to pay $5 a blog post, then you're going to get $5 blog posts. If you pay $35, or even $50, a blog post, then you're going to get $35 or $50 blog posts. Which would you rather have on your company blog? The bare minimum a small business should be paying, per post, for business blogging is $25. That's the bottom range for the time and labor of content marketing and business blogging professionals.

Does the Blog Writing Company Have a Blog?

This is one of the most important considerations when choosing a blog writing company. You would hope that a blog writing company would have an excellent company blog of its own. If the company has one that's sporatically updated, has short or vague posts, and/or poor grammar and spelling, how can you expect them to do any better with your business blogging? You would expect your web developer to have an awesome website, or your tax accountant to be accurate with his/her taxes, you should expect a blog writing company to have a great corporate blog.

If you don't want to wait until you've made a deal with a blog writing company in order to get started with business blogging, then download our list of 101 business blog ideas that you can use right now by clicking the button below:


Business Blogging Tips: Why Small Businesses Need to Blog Often

business blogging tips To be found online, to boost search engine rankings, to generate leads, a small business needs to blog. With over 60 percent of businesses blogging, a small business can no longer afford NOT to blog. Business blogging tip: if you're not blogging, it's likely that your competitor is blogging. That competitor is getting found online and genrating leads, while you're wondering why you're brochureware website isn't getting the same results.

But, it isn't enough to belog, or to have a blog. You need to blog OFTEN. How often is often? Two times a week, minimum. Not once a week, and certainly not once a month. At that rate, you minus well not have have a blog at all. Two times a week is blogging. Two times a week, minimum, is what it takes for a small business to see some results.

Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic. Over 50% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. The more often you blog, the more pages you are creating. The more pages you have, the higher you rank on Google AND the more chances someone has of finding you online (each page can count as a separate result, meaning each post can be found on its own, as well as the blog itself). The more pages you have, the more web visitors you can get. The more web visitors you get, the more customers you can get.

But, in order to get all that, you have to blog often. I've come across too many small businesses who think that blogging once a week, every other week is enough. I've come across too many small businesses who think there should be results after four blog posts. I've come across too many small businesses who don't want to blog unless they'll appear the top of search engine results. That's just not how business blogging works. You need to blog often in order to be at the top of search engine results, not the other way around. You need to have about 50 blog posts before you see that substantial increase in web traffic and a significant ROI to the blogging. If you blog once every other week, it will take you two years before you reach that 50 post mark! If blogging twice a week, then it will only take you six months to reach 50 posts, presuming that you are starting from scratch.

This is why all our business blogging services involve a minimum of two posts per week. If unsure of how business blogging can fit into your content marketing strategy, then perhaps a FREE website assessment will help better determine your needs. Sign up for your assessment below: