Local SEO Optimizing your local business listings like Google Places, Bing Business Portal, and Yelp is one of the most time-effective and cost-effective digital marketing opportunities for small businesses. Start at
Offline Ads w/QR Codes A bridge between the offline and digital worlds, QR codes allow smartphone owners to scan them and be directed to a webpage that contains more information about the product or service being advertised. A number of websites offer free QR Code generators, but there's obviously cost involved to purchase the ads themselves.And custom making scripts for them and using the data gathered by them is time consuming albeit effective.
Link-building Link-building is a key component of traditional SEO. When done well, it's one of the most successful long-term strategies on this list. It's also one of the hardest and most time-intensive to execute, and often requires help from a a professional company such as ours.
Social Media Ads Ads on Facebook and LinkedIn are easy to set up on your own. You can target demographic, geographic & even interest-based ads at reasonable prices. Some guidance is still recommended to ensure the best use of your ad dollars.
LinkedIn Forums LinkedIn is the largest social business network. Developing a strong reputation by answering questions in certain forums like insurance, banking, or consulting may pay off for your business. LinkedIn charges a small subscription fee for optional Pro accounts which give you additional intelligence about other users.
Blogging Blogging is a great way to demonstrate your expertise to, and build relationships with prospects, peers, and your existing customers. It can give a big boost to your SEO but requires a significant time commitment.
Location-Based Services Location-based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places give you the ability to learn a lot about your customers...if you have time to analyze the data. Offering specials (usually small dollar-value) can bring in new customers from these services as well.
Q&A Sites A number of sites offer opportunities to answer questions for prospects; some of the best known of these include Quora and Yahoo Answers. Industry- specific examples include Avvo and Travellr. These sites don't require any set amount of time, but the more questions you answer the faster you'll build your reputation.
Reviews / Social Reputation Customer reviews play a role in your local search engine rankings, but more importantly, they influence whether customers ultimately choose to contact your business. Encourage customers to review you as part of your regular point-of-sale or follow-up process; a handful of web companies like CustomerLobby or Reputation.com can also help.
Google Plus Plus is a new social network from Google. It's sort of a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter, allowing for group conversations with some of of your techier customers and prospects.
As a small business, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the number of options to market your business online. Even those of us who do internet marketing full-time find ourselves overwhelmed.
I hope this graphic, developed for attendees of our University Series , helps you understand at a high level how some of the more popular options work, and which of them might be the best fit for your business based on your own time and budgeting priorities.
Note that each option is marked with at least one flag as an "Organic," "Local/Mobile," "Social," or "Other" tactic. If you've taken our Client Services Questionnaire , I hope that overlaying our recommendations of which general area best matches your business will help you decide where to start marketing your business online.