With new tips, tricks, and startups coming on the scene every day, the Internet marketing landscape continues to expand at a pace that isn't showing any signs of letting up. But the staggering number of options can feel overwhelming to an SMB with a business to run: Where should you be posting your content? And what kind of content should you produce? What should your next tweet or status update be about? And what are you going to do about those negative reviews on Yelp?
Ultimately, the foundation of a winning Internet marketing strategy can be broken up into three simple categories: Presence, Advertising & Retention.
B.I. (Before Internet)
Think about it: before the Internet, your brick-and-mortar office or storefront was all the presence you needed. Whether you used ads in the newspaper or yellow pages, billboards, etc., you knew the value of advertising offline. And when it came to bringing existing customers back to your store, all it took was sending a coupon in the mail or a quick phone call.
Now, it's just a matter of taking these three principles in a digital direction. And the chances may be good that you already have. Do you have a website or Facebook fan page? Then you've already started developing your web presence. Have you paid for a sponsored ad to run on Google or Yahoo? That means you've already dipped your toe in the online advertising pool. Have you ever sent out a monthly newsletter? That's been the most popular format for digital customer retention for years.
Next Up, Part II: Web Presence
At ReachLocal, our mission has always been to give local businesses the same powerful opportunities that Internet marketing has given to big businesses online: the latest technology, hands-on help with consultants, and best practices that give local business owners like you the information you need without all the fluff.
So stay tuned for the next installation in this series when we'll take a closer look at the first category, web presence, and the basics and best practices that will give your local business the most online exposure where it counts.
In the meantime, take stock of your own web presence. What virtual spaces have you already claimed for your business online? Do you already have your own website, a Google Place Pages listing, or what about a YouTube or Flickr account under your business name?