I moderated a discussion panel last week at Toronto's Massive Technology Show which is a conference and trade show that brings technology companies together with small to medium size business.
The show had some great speakers which included on my panel (Web Marketing 101), Paul Jeszenszky, of E-Bay Canada, Joanne Acril, Yahoo Canada, and Fred Vallaeys of Google. Our task was to demystify web marketing and discuss how small to medium sized businesses could get started.
There were discussions about the value of paid search marketing (PPC), and some instruction about how to target and measure effectively. We reviewed search engine optimization (or organic optimization – being found "naturally" in the search engines for your target keywords) tactics and where it fits within an overall online marketing strategy – and of course we discussed social media and what it means to marketers.
As it is not often that you can gather together a group of experts from online giants like Google, Yahoo and E-bay - I cut right to the chase at the end of the discussion and asked the panel what they would consider the top five must do's in marketing small business online.
So here are the top recommendations for those that have limited budgets and resources, but know that they need to start somewhere in building their business online:
1. The group unanimously agreed that using and understanding Web Analytics is a must. (Google Analytics is free and a robust tool for analysing everything from geographic breakdown of traffic to keywords that are used to find your site, to identifying usability issues with site overlay graphs showing click patterns and bounce rate analysis - there are also other tools available free and paid).
2. Website testing – test your website, and have your site independently tested often. Have your testers try to achieve a goal such as find a phone number or sign up for a newsletter.
3. Make sure to spend dollars and resources on building a professional website. There is nothing worse for your brand reputation than a poorly designed website.
4. Build and maintain quality e-mail lists – and reach out with offers and content at as often as your audience will allow.
5. Make sure to focus on relevant content, creative and relevant online marketing channels to achieve your goals. (ie. If your target audience is Golfer's, make sure to have content on your website or a call-to-action in your Paid Search Campaign that speaks to that audience. A landing page with Family packages might not be the right place to send this traffic).
Obviously there are layers of discussions that can be had with any of the above points, but I would say keeping these five points in mind as you develop an online marketing strategy for your business is a good start! Thanks to the panel and to group at Massive for putting on a great show!About A Couple of Chicks:
Patricia Brusha and Alicia Whalen are the co-founders of "A Couple of Chicks," a non-intimidating approach to Internet Marketing, e-Distribution & Revenue/Campaign Measurement. The "Chicks" specialize in using Creative, Distribution and Technology together to bring clarity to marketing on-line. Visit www.acoupleofchicks.com for articles and information about Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing