Marketing is necessary for any small business if they want to build a strong online presence. While bigger businesses are going to be successful because of their name and more money invested, small business owners can still compete in the growing Internet market. There are many different non-expensive ways to make an online business have a big presence. The keys to understanding how an online business works is by researching the industry and the target audience. “Once you know what you should be looking at, your online business will thrive with just a little effort. You’ll be less ‘in the dark’ about what is and isn’t working for you” (Hill, 2009, p. 4). There are many free and non-expensive tools to help any business within the online and offline market. Along with knowing the industry and the target audience, an online marketer must also know where to find marketing venues and an effective audience.
In a research done by writer Carrie Hill, she mentions that there are at least four important metrics when it comes to understanding the how to gain new online customers. The first of those metrics is understanding conversion rates. “By measuring your conversion rate, analyzing sticking points, and clearing the paths to and through your sales pages, you’re making sure your conversions are on their way to being the best in the industry” (Hill, 2009, p. 7). The next metric mentioned is referring sites & keywords. This consists of using popular relevant affiliate sources for marketing to new customers. It also consists of knowing what keywords to use in order to create an effective advertisement. Bounce rate is also mentioned as the third of the four metrics. Bounce rate is used to determine if a page is being effective. A great example to understanding bounce rate is someone going onto a website, not seeing anything they like and immediately leaving the site without clicking on any link within the site. The final metric mentioned is measuring the number of unique visitors. This “gives you a better idea of the ‘people visits’ to your Web site versus the number of pages they viewed on the site” (Hill, 2009, p. 18).
Writer Michel Martinez mentions search engine optimization tactics consisting of Visibility, which he mentions “is an intangible aspect of search engine optimization” (Martinez, 2006, p. 2). Another mention is organizing the websites content to help the visitors and searchengines better understand the site. Almost all websites have embedded keywords in them and Martinez mentions that keywords are relevant but that they are “meaningless until you know how they fit into the big picture” (Martinez, 2006, p. 4). He continues by stating that “keyword research is fundamental to understanding what potential visitors need to draw them into a site” (Martinez, 2006, P. 16). His study also shows that site links are most important and should be organized just as well as the site content. He mentions segue points as being incidental content that is not indexable. This includes images, tables and boxes, which can clutter a web site and drive potential customers away.
Michael Rappa has a great article on the topic of running a business on the web. His article discusses that “a business model is the method of doing business by which a company can sustain itself — that is, generate revenue. The business model spells-out how acompany makes money by specifying where it is positioned in the value chain” (Rappa, 2009, p. 2). His research further states that many web marketer’s work together to create a broader range of customers. This includes using affiliate programs and advertising on one another’s site. An example of this would be one site owner being a web design company and the other being a search engineoptimization company. They can both offer the others services to their customers.
According to writer Jon Rognerud, he believes that social media marketing is a great way to better market an online business. He mentions how getting out in the social network arena and interacting with potential customers is a great way to get a business name out on the market. “Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketingcommunication goals through the participation in various social media networks”. Rognerud believes that “you can convert traffic if you target appropriately (research needed), and do not spam” ( Rognerud, 2008, p 10). This method can be very time consuming and can ultimately be a fulltime job with the extensive maintenance and updates that need to be made.
A Writer from Thomas Reuters website says that “Business owners should carefully plan their marketing strategies and performance to keep their market presence strong” (Reuters, 2009, p. 1). Without planning, there could potentially be lots of time and money wasted targeting the wrong audience or not targeting effectively. “Marketing is based on the importance of customers to a business, and has two important principles.
1. All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.
2. Profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume” (Reuters, 2009, p. 2).
“Market research will also identify trends that affect sales and profitability. Population shifts, legal developments, and the local economic situation should be monitored to quickly identify problems and opportunities. It is also important to keep up with competitors’ market strategies” (Reuters, 2009, p. 4). Keeping up with competitors strategies can be very effective and can save from potentially wasting time and money. This can be affective, not only by studying what competitors are doing right, but also what they are doing wrong.
There are plenty of ways to better market any business online. Most programs that can help do this are free of charge and have a very reliable technique that can only help any business. These methods aren’t just used by small businesses, but they are used by anyone who is looking to better market their online business. Even with the amount of tools to help market these businesses, it is very time consuming. There is no one method to use to create a flawless online marketing plan. The most effective method that any business can use to better their business is to take the time by researching and staying updated on the market and the target customers.
Hill, C. (2009). Taking the fear out of web analytics for your small business. RetrievedNovember 8, 2009, from http://searchenginewatch.com/3634179/
Martinez, M. (2006). Four fundamental principles of seo. Retrieved November 15 2009, from http://www.seomoz.org/blog/four-fundamental-principles-of-seo
Rappa, M. (2009). Business models on the web. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html
Rognerud, J. (2009). Social media marketing beginner’s guide. Retrieved November 14, 2008, from http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2008/04/social-media-marketing-beginners-guide.html
Thomson Reuters. (2009). Marketing basics. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from