May 4, 2010
Internet Marketing is the most common topic that comes up with my small business clients. Their biggest concern is learning how to make money with the website they have. This isn't unusual. Big businesses wonder the same thing.
The tactics used to monetize a small business website versus a big business website comes down to money. Big business has much more of it than small businesses. As in most things, the solutions lie in a trade-off between time and money. Since small businesses can't compete on money, they need to put in much more time in marketing their site through a variety of other methods. Unfortunately, time is a precious commodity to entrepreneurs struggling to be successful.
For small business owners, a better approach to Internet Marketing is no different than those used to build their business offline through relationship networking with referral sources and customers. One way to do this is through email marketing to an existing list. Email is something that everyone understands and is comfortable with. This may give the small business owner a better marketing perspective than other forms of internet marketing which seem to be a "black hole" as far as understanding.
Obviously there is more to Internet Marketing than just email. Other examples of online promotion that businesses can use to improve their search marketing efforts are:
Banner ads on other complementary business sites
Optimize the website for specific keywords
Maintain a presence on consumer forums
Use email to stay in touch and build a relationship with other business people and prospects
Start their own topic based forum group on a site such as Ning.
Write articles on their industry, business, or area and post them online
There are many more ways to promote a business online but all of them require a relationship with clients and a demonstration of expertise in a given field. My advice is to take just one of these recommendations and perfect it.