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Online Marketing: Beginner's Guide for Small Business

Using online tools such as social media, blogs, email, SEO, etc., to build your brand and attract new customers offers definitive and measurable benefits.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past three years, it should be painfully obvious that online tools such as social media, blogs, e-mail and SEO  build your brand and attract new customers, with measurable results. 

In this series I'm going to assume you're already convinced of the value of online marketing and need guidance getting started or figuring out how to get more traction out of an existing campaign.  

My goal is to familiarize you with the basics and give you an action plan to execute a successful launch of your online marketing efforts.

Here are the major components of online marketing we'll be covering and a brief description of each:

  1. Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing consists of social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others to generate exposure and buzz for your products and services online by sharing compelling content and links with others.

 2. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

A PPC campaign is a paid search engine marketing tool using Google Adwords that helps drive traffic to your website and landing pages by targeting specific keywords that your audience would most likely use to find products or services like yours online.

3. Content Marketing

Starting a corporate blog that gives some of your hard-earned knowledge away for free, writing an e-book or creating an infographic are just some of the many tools available for content marketing. To build credibility with your audience and establish thought leadership in your field, it's essential to start building a steady flow of quality, original and most importantly, relevant, content for your brand.

4. E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing is one of the oldest forms of Internet marketing and can be used in multiple ways, including Drip campaigns for acquisition and education. Today's online email service providers offer a number of great tools to easily create custom templates, A/B test your campaigns and segment your lists by social profile just to name a few.

5. Lead Generation

Lead generation activities include landing page campaigns, call to action (CTA) buttons and forms, polls, surveys, etc., designed to capture data, such as email addresses from qualified leads.

6. Organic SEO/SEM

These are the basic SEO strategies to optimize your online content to naturally appear in Google search results. Architecting your site for search includes setting up keywords, metadata, site maps and other features to give you the best chances of ranking higher in relevant searches.

7. Conversion Optimization

A conversion on your site occurs when someone responds to a call to action you've set up, such as an e-mail subscribe form or order form.  When you optimize your content to get a higher response rate you're using conversion optimization. This includes things as simple as choosing the right color and shape for a CTA button to split testing different landing page designs to see which one gets a better response rate.

8. Analytics

Analytics tools such as Google Analytics are a critical part of any online marketing effort as they enable you to measure the success of your efforts, establish conversion funnels and discover under-performing areas of your site.

Now that we've covered the tools we'll be using next week ,we will cover the first phase of setting these tools up and initiating your online marketing program.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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