Online Marketing “A-Z” For Small Businesses

SearchEngineLand recently published “a list of things that small businesses can be thankful for — one for each letter of the alphabet — this Thanksgiving. These are things that can make the difficult challenge of online marketing a little easier for any small business.” I’ve went through the list and find it a great resource for small business owners. You can find the exact list, word-for-word (as found on SEL’s blog) below:

A: Analytics – It wasn’t too long ago that a full-featured analytics package was out of budgetary reach for a lot of small businesses. But thanks to Google Analytics (and, hopefully, Yahoo Web Analytics when it launches publicly), small business owners now have access to the type of data that only their deep-pocketed competition could previously afford.

B: Blogs – Have you noticed in my ongoing “Small Business Success Stories” series here on Search Engine Land how often a blog plays a major role in a successful online marketing campaign? Element One Photography, real estate agent Teresa Boardman, and Avante Gardens are just three examples of successful small business blogs.

C: Common Craft – “Explanations in plain English” is the tagline for this video-making company that takes somewhat complicated ideas/services/tools and brings them to the masses. RSS in Plain English is their most popular work so far, and a great primer for small businesses who don’t quite “get” why RSS is so great.

D: – It’s not the best place to brainstorm domain ideas for your small business, but DomainTools is the best place to do competitive research on domains that have already been registered.

E: Education – From Search Engine Land to Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Guide, and the countless other excellent web marketing sites, getting an online education is pretty easy. Is there another industry in which the best in the business consistently share their wisdom so openly?

F: Firefox – Any small business owner wanting to become a do-it-yourself search marketer can thank the Firefox web browser and its countless plug-ins that put a wealth of SEO data at your fingertips.

G: Geotargeting – There are almost 20 cities named Columbus in the USA. Those dentists in Columbus, Ohio, sure don’t want their ads being clicked on by searchers in Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas. We overlook it, but the ability to geotarget ads is a real blessing for small business owners.

H: HitTail – It’s not the only analytics-type service you should use, but with almost-real time tracking of sites and keywords that send visitors to your site, HitTail is a great complement to your primary web stats program.

I: iStockphoto – A great photo or image can dramatically improve any piece of content, no matter how well written it is. iStockphoto offers an amazing collection of images, many of which can be purchased for web, blog, e-book, or similar uses for just a couple dollars.

J: Junk Mail Filters – Be glad that you can filter away all those “Submit your web site to 5,000 directories” and “We’ll put you at #1 on Google for $49.95 per month” emails. They’re useless and should be ignored at all costs.

K: Keyword Research Tools – Whether it’s Keyword Discovery, WordTracker, or one of the many others, keyword research tools seem to get more powerful every year while still staying affordable for small business owners.

L: Local Search – All three main search engines offer local search business listings, and countless other local/social directory sites bring value to small businesses, too. Add it all up, and local search is the best way for local businesses to connect with local customers.

M: Matt Cutts – You may not like all of Google’s policies, but give credit where it’s due. Small business owners can be thankful that Matt’s blog offers a direct window into Google’s anti-spam and search quality efforts.

N: Networking – When you start a new small business, the first piece of advice you’ll get is to join the Chamber of Commerce. Why? Networking. It’s how you meet local people who might become customers or business partners and help you grow your business. Small business owners can also network online thanks to social media sites with local networking opportunities.

O: Onebox – Thanks to Google’s local search onebox, a small business now has an extra ten chances to show up on page one of Google’s SERPs.

P: PPC – For many small businesses, there’s no better and faster way to get search engine visibility than a well-planned PPC campaign. Pay-per-click advertising can bring in targeted traffic while you’re waiting out those weeks or months for your SEO campaign to bring results.

Q: Quality Over Quantity – Small businesses can be thankful that, when it comes to content and links and competing in local search, it really is about quality over quantity. With a few exceptions, you probably don’t need to go out and find hundreds or thousands of links; a few high-quality links should be enough.

R: Reviews – No small business owner likes getting bad reviews, but progressive small business owners know that it’s smart to embrace online reviews and encourage happy customers to write reviews. Searchers rely on reviews to make buying decisions, and local search algorithms look at ratings when determining rank order.

S: Social Media – Many small business owners don’t quite understand social media, but there are numerous ways for any small business to succeed with social media.

T: Tools – Using the right SEO toolbox can give any small business a big advantage over the competition. But it’s important to remember that tools can’t make decisions for you; that’s your job.

U: Unleashed – Geared specifically to small business owners, the Small Business Marketing “Unleashed” conference has quickly become a must-attend event for both its educational and networking opportunities.

V: Video – Video used to be something that only Big Companies could afford, but today there are numerous companies bringing affordable video marketing to the small business sector. And with blended search results becoming more widespread, videos can be an effective tool for attracting new traffic and customers.

W: Webmaster Central – It’s not just the tools and data you get from having a Google Webmaster Central account that matters; equally important is the fact that GWC provides a direct line of communication between small businesses and their primary source of natural search traffic. The communication aspect is highly underrated, but something to be very thankful for.

X: Xenu – Give thanks to Xenu Link Sleuth, which advertises itself as a tool for checking broken links, but really provides so much more link information than that.

Y: Yahoo Site Explorer – With Google and MSN both neutering their public link reporting tools, Yahoo Site Explorer offers the best free, straight-from-a-search-engine snapshot of a site’s indexing and inbound links.

Z: Zappos – Any small business that thinks social media, and Twitter especially, are useless as business/marketing tools need only look at what Zappos is doing. They’ve become the poster child for how to connect with customers online.

©2008 Third Door Media, Inc.

Have a happy thanksgiving and thanks again to SearchEngineLand for providing me with great content and an easy way out of having to blog pre-thanksgiving. For more about SearchEngineLand, check out their parent company, creators of SMX, Sphinn and SearchMarketingNow.

Posted under Blogs, Social Networks, Ultra Light Startups

LinkedIn Uses the “New and Improved” Approach!

LinkedIn's New & Improved Search

LinkedIn's New & Improved Search Capability

LinkedIn just released another improvement to their UI that allows you search all areas of LinkedIn…wait a second…I was able to do this before!! From what it looks like, they made some small changes to their search accuracy and decided to promote that as “New and Improved”. But who am I to get mad at them for tricking me into thinking “oh wow! another new feature”? I mean, all month they have been implementing changes including one of my favorites, LinkedIn Applications.

This is a great example of web-marketing and engaging your users. They took a rather minute change and informed their users. This is great for marketing. Imagine if you made a small change to your web-site and then left a flag by it letting your users know it was “NEW & IMPROVED”. It has been used time and time again by many large companies. I saw an interesting response to the following question on a  Yahoo! Answers forum:

Q: Why do they say ‘New and Improved’? How can it be new if it was improved?

A: It is part of marketing. Why would someone want to buy a “improved” ipod if they already have one, for instance. But, if they say “new and improved” hey i don’t have that 1. Its just another way to make a few more dollars. (or millions

This is a worthy marketing tactic and it took something minutes liked LinkedIn’s “New” search capabilities to get me to actually notice this approach. Let me know if it works (or ever worked) for you or your company.

Posted under Social Networks

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 24, 2008

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Average Salary For An “Online Marketing Manager”!

Want to find out what your worth? Check out these sites!!
I was reading a CNN article “Ten Jobs That Pay $80,000 A Year“, and noticed that Marketing Manager held the #6 spot. The statistics were as follows: Annual mean income: $86,283, Projected employment in 2016: 192,000, Increase between 2006 and 2016: 14%. That looks like a promising future, but I decided to do a little research of my own. I wanted to see the difference when I specified the position as “Online Marketing Manager”.

So I went to 6 different Salary Predicting sites, typed in the term “Online Marketing Manager” and here is what I came up with:

  1. $72,000
  2. SimplyHired: $76,000
  3. $73,000
  4. Yahoo! Hot Jobs:$64,145
  5. CareerBuilder Salary: $86,746
  6. $81,555

I was also able to get my hands on an effective PayScale salary widget. PayScale is a market leader in global online compensation data, and this widget directly accesses the world’s largest database of individual employee compensation profiles. Give it a shot:

Posted under Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 18, 2008

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Dynamic E-mail Signatures for Gmail,Yahoo!, AOL & Hotmail

WiseStamp Signatures

WiseStamp Signatures

This article is relevant for all of you who use the signature function in Outlook. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, ever notice when you get a professional e-mail, the signature will have a company logo, colors, links, etc. And until recently, the top 4 free Email Service Providers have been lacking such options. Until now, Outlook ruled the “signature” space…but not anymore!

This article is geared for Firefox users (b/c that is what I am using). I was on the hunt for an awesome Firefox Extension for Gmail Signatures, when a friend of mine told me there was an even better extension that worked with the big 4 ESP’s: AOL, YAHOO!, GMAIL & HOTMAIL! WiseStamp is a Firefox extension that enables you to easily customize & add personalized email signatures on any webmail service (Gmail ,Yahoo ,Aol mail, Hotmail).

WiseStamp is without a doubt, amazing! Very easy control over your email signatures, with granular level customization. Easily insert your Instant Messenger & Social services (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) The best part is you don’t even have to know HTML. It’s as easy as using Microsoft Word, with a library of premade signatures here, and the option for HTML is there. I suggest this for everyone. It increases your visibility with every e-mail, and in this space, transparency is necessary if you want to get your name out there.

Posted under E-Mail, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 24, 2008

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