Setting Priorities: Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

Too many small business owners are too focused on increasing their website traffic and building links. I believe that business owners should refrain from any link building activity where the only reason is to build links for search engine rankings. Traffic that does not convert should not be the main focus of your web content optimization efforts.

It may be more beneficial to evaluate your existing customer base and step back thinking:

How did we gain our best customers? Did they find our company, product or service by searching the web or did we meet them face to face first?

Are we offering something that our website visitors can’t get anywhere else?

How can we get more web traffic to convert?

The first step to improving your website traffic should be writing relevant content for your site’s target audience and not ignoring any web platforms or hubs that Google owns such as Google+ or YouTube. In addition, use Pinterest or Instagram if you are in any business that can easily tell their story or showcase their products using visuals.

Optimize your site for mobile devices – people search a lot using their phones and tablets.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are alive and well, but these activities should align with your other goals.

Social Media: Why Am I Here? What Are My Goals?

I had a chance to share my thoughts on social media and meaningful participation in social networking with some University of Montana students yesterday. It warmed my heart today to read the following Guest Speaker feedback:

“I felt our guest speaker really helped me understand how passion and
listening is the basis of social media. Her commentary on
understanding your personal social media strategy – why am I here?,
what am I planning?, what are my goals? – gave me a good basis for how
to start any project. Also, I felt like her advice to “listen!” was so
helpful. Although listening seems like an obvious part of the social
media world, I think it is often overshadowed by the “doing!” aspect.
We want our ideas to be heard, so there are so many people talking. By
stepping out of that and listening, you can better choose your message
to acknowledge the things people talk most about. Furthermore, I
learned a lot from her discussion on getting news to the masses.
Starting with a press release, then working your way down the social
media platform list, each time revising your message for the audience.
I had never looked at spreading the word in that way before. I really
enjoyed listening to her speak, thank you for giving us that

Thank you, Brittany!

13 Tips for Building a Total Online Presence

Now as you are focused on your new year’s resolutions, here’s one more list:

1.   Use Quora to find questions people in your industry are asking.
2.   Create a listening station – read blogs and listen to podcasts to find great content ideas.
3.   Create landing pages and capture leads.
4.   Write good content that includes keyword phrases to improve SEO and network to get relevant sites linking back to your site.
5.   Email isn’t dead. Lead capture plays a big part in your email marketing efforts.
6.   Build a full Google+ profile and claim your +Local (Place) page. Focus on small circles in Google+. Promote with +1 button.
7.   Use online advertising and face-to-face networking to drive people to your website.
8.   Your audience will tell you if you are oversharing on social media. Make adjustments.
9.   Always use analytics (data) as a checkpoint for everything you do.
10. Use your e-newsletter to promote quality content.
11.  Schedule tweets to share them throughout the day (Buffer).
12.  Create Twitter lists of customers and add their social profiles to your CRM tool.
13.  Optimize your website for mobile devices.

Total Online Presence = Your Online Identity.


What Can Small Business Marketers Learn From Obama?

1. Leadership skills – he put together a great team for his campaign and motivated his people all the way.

2. Never give up, believe in yourself, even if you have no reason to do so, polls did not always predict Obama as a winner.

3. Presentation skills – Obama is one of the most self-confident speakers I have seen. Practice!

4. Social marketing – get away from ads to building online communities, just like Obama did.

5. Viral marketing – get people talking about you.

6. If you can’t get to young consumers otherwise, send them a text message or an email- speak their “love language”.

7. Focus and create  technologically savvy email campaigns.

8. Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself – Obama joked about his bad performance during the first debate.

9. Supportive spouse or partner is always a blessing – keep your spouse and partner happy.  Have you noticed the smile on Michelle Obama’s face?

10. Humble beginnings don’t always mean humble lives – with hard work, passion and dedication small business owners can beat the odds, just like Obama did.

Small businesses marketers need to keep learning – new technologies have changed the “game” of marketing.