3 Tips for Internet Success for Small Businesses

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November 30, 2010 – Small businesses don’t have the luxury of a large in-house marketing department to handle their PR, social media, and advertising in one shot. Many businesses struggle to maintain a good online presence without having to spend hundreds of dollars on external marketing services.

Your business doesn’t have to wander the world of Internet marketing alone – and you don’t need to hire a big expensive marketing firm to find online success. We have 3 tips for you to manage your Internet marketing on your own.

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Internet marketing for small businesses can happen anywhere.

Tip #1 – Don’t Fear Your Social Media
Social media is still dominating as the latest and greatest method of Internet marketing, from dog groomers to dentures, any company can find a new marketing method with social media. It’s not just Facebook, either, many small businesses find promotional success with local review sites like Yelp and Viewpoints.

To find success in social media you need to monitor it yourself. There are marketing companies that claim to help you get started in the world of social media, but all they do is create your profile. What you need is someone internal to manage it. You may already have a social media butterfly among your staff that can take this role, or someone may know someone trustworthy who can help out. Either way, in-house management is key to social media marketing success because no one knows the “social” aspect of your business better than your own office.

Tip #2 – Know How to Handle Your Reviews
Both positive and negative reviews on Internet discussion sites are important to your small business’ Internet footprint. It’s not just the obvious review sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Google Places, and CitySearch, many targeted search sites such as TripAdvisor and Hotels.com allow users to review their experiences at local travel destinations.

To boost your good reviews, you may want to offer an incentive to customers to write reviews on these sites. Just be careful not to stipulate that they HAVE to be good reviews, or else you’ll be accused of bribery! Also make sure to follow up with a thank you to those customers who do leave reviews – the more they know their opinions matter, the more apt they are to recommend you!

Bad reviews can be a marketing boost in disguise. As the saying goes, any press is good press. If you receive a negative review don’t ignore it – respond to the customer’s concern and make sure it’s visible to others that you didn’t just sweep them under the rug. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you show that you handled an issue in a fair manner, a bad review can be made good.

Tip #3 – Your Customers Are Your Marketing Department
Back to social media, your customers are essentially a marketing department themselves. Have you ever seen a friend rant about how awesome their new shoes are in a Facebook status update? Or tweet about the poor service at the Starbucks in the local mall? Remember that a single customer can have a network of hundreds reading their opinions on your business!

You can run a Twitter or Facebook search on your company name to see the Internet buzz about your business. Encourage customer participation by prompting discussions on your social media – ask what their favorite food item is at your restaurant or their worst plumbing disaster (if you’re a plumber that is!).

Getting started in the world of Internet marketing can be difficult when you’re trying to run your business at the same time. For help in taking that first step into social media, monitoring reviews, and connecting to clients, contact us at We Do Web Content. We can help you understand search engine rankings, social media, and online marketing analysis. For affordable, quality content exclusive to YOUR website, blog and clients, contact us today! 1-888-521-3880.