Friday, March 28, 2008

Top 2 SEO and Web 2.0 questions from Loudoun small businesses

At a recent Home-based Business Council (HBBC, part of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce) luncheon, focusing on Internet Marketing and SEO, the questions from small business owners to the forum panelists boiled down to two types:

1 - "I'm doing everything I can, but I'm not getting much additional business from online marketing" - and

2 - "What exactly should I do for my website to get the most visibility?"

These are absolutely the core questions of our industry, and two very different questions without "canned" answers. In terms of question 2, regarding what specifically should be done, the answer comes out of a method, context and investment planning.

a) SEO/SEM standard methods and practices, as best as are available, should be followed to make sure all avenues are covered and all fundamental improvmenets are executed. There's no substitute for this. If you don't know these methods, start researching online, or contact an SEO industry expert. These methods are followed by businesses large and small, around the world, but do tend to evolve quickly (though are based on fundamental business imperatives). So it's important that you or your SEO consultant constantly stay abreast of the fast-changing industry, making sure to keep up. Click-based marketing is a hugely competitive industry, and can change as fast as you can click!

b) The context at this particular luncheon was primarily Loudoun local and regional businesses. Therefore the marketing and advertising options, directories and search engines to use, online/offline coordination all need to take advantage of specifically what Loudoun and Northern Virginia has to offer in terms of Loudoun online advertising venues. Only the most active local online marketing agencies such as KME Internet Marketing will really have the best answers, along with other successful businesses in the area (that can be contacted through organizations like the Chamber).

c) Investment planning for your business in terms of budget spent on advertising is obviously important - and also best managed by consulting an online marketing expert. It's far too easy to waste money on online advertising, all the options available, and before you see it coming your budget will be used up. Click around the web, and you'll find that there exist many, many great ways to maximize your advertising dollar and spend very little in terms of money (vs. time), leveraging your digital assets, by using all the free and "organic" internet marketing methods available. Online advertising doesn't have to cost a lot for large impact, especially in the local markets. Just be sure to track performance of your advertising investment, i.e. the reach, impressions, click-throughs, traffic and other metrics.

In terms of question 1, after doing all this work and spending upfront or recurring money on Internet Marketing, one would expect more business. Obviously, according to the questioners, this isn't necessarily happening. The second part of the "sale", just like any other industry, is to "convert" your traffic - i.e. turn your visitors into buyers. This is a distinctly focused area of expertise related to Internet Marketing that deals directly with the design, usability and effectiveness of your store, your websites and the holistic online and offline reputation of your business (personal, social and business reputation). "Reputation" is essentially what others think and express about you, online - this phenomenon of local direct user input through Internet tools regarding popularity, reputation and feedback falls under the term "Web 2.0" (Northern Virginia). Again, method, context and investment are the key areas of concern, and should be addressed by Loudoun web design professionals - though there are always very simple, common mistakes that should be avoided.

Please contact us to further discuss, in much more detail, these topics - we realize all the answers aren't here, but can be found through good conversation and targeted, custom business planning.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home