A Quick Guide to Using the Internet to Your Advantage

December 20th, 2013 by Guest Author

Dec13Small businesses have come a long way, thanks to the Internet. Now we all have websites touting our products and services, and we have more ways than ever to connect with our potential and existing clients. But there’s always room for improvement, isn’t there? If you’re not fully using the Internet to gain momentum for your business, you’re missing out on potential sales.

Be Smart About SEO

In case you weren’t aware, Google has made a lot of changes in the past year that affect how marketers use keywords and SEO. What that means for you is that you have to use keywords in a natural way (instead of shoving them in every sentence and sounding like a robot).

Be cautious about how you use anchor text, too. Here are some tips to help you stay in Google’s good graces:

  • Rather than hyperlinking a generic word or phrase, such as “click here” or “page,” focus on specific words or phrases for your anchor text, as we’ve done throughout this post.
  • Experts recommend using your brand name for about 30% of your inbound anchor links.
  • Keep your links relevant to the overall theme of your site. Don’t link to a pet shop if your site is about accounting software or Google might see it as too out of the blue and penalize you.

Make Your Site Warm and Inviting

There’s nothing worse than going to a site that’s cluttered or has boxes popping up everywhere. If your website is your welcome mat for potential customers, you want it to be inviting, right? You do that in several ways:

  • Simplify navigation.
  • Make sure all links go where they should.
  • Make the checkout process as simple as possible.
  • Ask for minimal info for email subscribers or customers (just an email address vs. address and phone).

Be the Go-To Expert

Right now, the hottest tool for marketing online is content marketing. That comes in the form of blog content, white papers, ebooks, videos, infographics…the list goes on and on. Remember your goal with content marketing: to be helpful to your target audience. Your focus should be on useful content that answers a question or solves a problem for someone. The bonus is that it makes your company look like the leader in your industry.

Diversify the kinds of content you produce to attract different types of people:

  • How to and advice-based blog posts should be short and scannable.
  • White papers go more in depth on a given subject, and can be used as bait to get people to sign up for your emails.
  • Videos attract people who learn through audio and visual imagery.
  • Infographics draw in potential customers who prefer graphical representations of data, rather than only words.

Use Different Platforms

You’re no longer tethered to your desktop; you likely have a laptop, smartphone, and tablet that you also use to access the Internet, so use that to your advantage. Look for software that also offers a mobile option, like accounting software or a CRM web app, so that you can handle your business no matter where you are.

And here’s another content marketing tip: you can also use a CRM system to track and manage your assets for your content marketing. If you’ve ever missed a day publishing on your blog, you know how important it is to stay organized as far as who’s publishing what, and when.

Get Your Head in the Clouds

Another benefit the Internet has brought small businesses is cloud storage. Now you don’t have to worry about what happens if your computer is destroyed in a fire; all your files should be backed up in the cloud. That includes:

  • Contracts and agreements.
  • Client data.
  • Articles, spreadsheets, and presentations.

It’s exciting that every day, technology brings us more ways to grow our businesses. Be open to what’s out there, and find the tools that work best for your business.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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