The rock is a symbol of strength and endurance. If you want to have a business that will thrive and last, you’ve got to build it on a rock. You have to do something to rock your small business, or else, it will be wiped away by the waves of various challenges just like a sand castle in the shore.
Now, here comes the Internet wave. Business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers are swarming online to get a piece of its power to boost their brand and businesses. The Internet, search engines and the social media are already dictating the pace of business. That is why every business owners, small or big, should learn how to leverage the power of Internet marketing. The following are 36 ways to rock your small business online.
Rock your business through blogging
A blog can be a powerful tool for growing your small business online. Blogging, when done righteously, will help you build authority, attract more loyal customers, boost revenue, and keep your success lasting. Every blog post you publish is like an arrow you fire to your targeted success. Here are tips and ways to rock your small business through blogging:
1. Come up with a great blogging plan. Yes, a great plan! You should have a great vision for your blog just like the great vision you have for your business. Don’t just start blogging because it’s what everyone is doing, but do it because you have something special to do with it. Your plan should include your objectives and the steps or procedures to achieve those objectives. It should also help you allocate your resources, such as time, money, and people’s skills. To give you an idea on what to include on you plan, check out this post on how to make a blogging business plan.
2. Create high quality content. Content is king. And just like a kingdom without a wise king, a blog without quality content would be in chaos and total disaster. If you want to rock your business through a blog, you’ve got to publish high-quality blog posts. High-quality content should have the following qualities:
a. Useful – it should answer the questions and solve the problems of your users and customers.
b. Relevant – it should be related to your business, service, or customers.
c. Unique – It should be written or published in your own unique style.
d. Well-researched – it should be supported by evidences and should be reliable.
e. Comprehensive – It should be rich in information and doesn’t leave your readers unsatisfied.
3. Tell your story. Be transparent and share your stories on your posts. Blogging offers a great opportunity to let your customers and other people know you better. Remember that loving starts from knowing. Hence, if you want people to love your business, be honest and let them have a glimpse of your story. It also helps you connect deeper to your audience and develop a closer relationship. You can blog about your history, vision, mission, and everything that you think will help and inspire your audience. However, don’t overdo this and check out #4.
4. Tell other stories. Tell inspiring stories from other people or entities on your posts. Don’t just make your blog a show that is all about yourself. You can feature success stories of people or companies that you think will also inspire your readers. You may also feature some of your loyal customers or followers and give them recognition. Sharing stories beyond yours will make your audience open-minded. It will also show that you are giving them the convenience and freedom they want, instead of pressuring them to give their attention only to you.
When making blog posts or articles, you may also consider linking out to other blog posts that will add value to your own post. Thus, don’t hesitate in giving link juices to other blogs that you think can become reliable and useful references on your post. Also see #23.
5. Answer comments on your blog. The commenting system is one of the most important features of a blog. It makes your blog engaging by exchanging comments and starting interesting discussions. It will also give you the opportunity to communicate with your readers or customers. Thus, make sure that you are not ignoring important questions and suggestions on your blog. Through your readers’ comments, you can also determine what they really want. So don’t forget to take action on that.
6. Blog frequently. Blogs are blogs because they are publishing fresh content regularly. If your blog’s last post is dated a month ago, then how could it be essentially considered a blog? If you want to rock your business, then you must update your blog as often as you can. By making it fresh and updated, you are showing to your customers and audience that you are enthusiastically keeping in touch with them.
Moreover, the frequency and volume of your blog posts have a direct relationship with the volume of your traffic, especially if your contents are useful and high-quality. Blogs that have thousands of blog posts are receiving more traffic than blogs that only have a hundred posts. Thus, if you want to increase your traffic and grow your audience, be consistent in publishing and updating your blog with fresh and high-quality blog posts.
7. Run blog contests. Running a blog contest has many benefits, such as reaching more audience, increasing page views, rewarding loyal followers, and encouraging more audience participation. However, it also comes with a cost. That is why contests must be planned and administered carefully so that you can achieve your targets. Here are 8 things you have to consider while hosting a contest on your blog.
8. Connect with other bloggers. Interact and make more friends in the blogging community. Who could help your blog more other than bloggers? There are many online communities for bloggers. You can search them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking sites where bloggers hangout. You may also find fellow business bloggers on online communities, like BizSugar.com. Connecting with other bloggers will give you more opportunity to share ideas and learn more on how you can make your blog successful. They will also help you connect with prospective customers and boost your revenue.
9. Learn more from blogging masters. Knowledge is power. If you want to rock your business blog, you have to continuously seek for knowledge in blogging. Have a number of blogging mentors. Follow and learn more from blogs and bloggers who will help you discover more ideas on how to build a blog that will rock your business. The following are blogs that I recommend for learning useful things in blogging your business:
– Problogger.com by Darren Rowse
– CoppyBlogger.com Brian Clark
– Quicksprout.com by Neil Patiel
– Seth’s blog by Seth Godin
– Small Business Trends by Anita Campbell
– ChrisBrogan.com by Chris Brogan
– JohnChow.com by John Chow
– Daily Blog Tips by Daniel Scocco
– Blogtrepreneur.com by Matthew and Adam Toren
– Lorelle on WordPress by Lorelle VanFossen
There are still many other blogs out there that will help you learn more about pro blogging. You just have to do your regular research online. You may also check our articles about blogging on our blogging category page.
10. Be a guest blogger. By guest blogging on high authority, popular and relevant blogs, you can get a lot of benefits. These include attracting more targeted traffic to your blog, earning more followers on your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.,), gaining more email subscribers, improving your online reputation and authority, boosting your brand awareness, and getting quality backlinks for boosting your SEO. Thus, make sure to write the best article or post for guest posting to ensure that you can enjoy those benefits.
11. Be a speaker. Blogging is an online activity. However, we should not just rely on online marketing to promote our blog and our business. We can also rock our business and blog by inspiring people through public speaking. If you reasonably believe that you have a supply of knowledge and wisdom to inspire and teach people, then have the courage and confidence to share your words of wisdom to the public. You can accept speakership invitations on topics that you are expert of. It can be about blogging or about your business. Check out my story about my speakership in the 8th Philippine Blogging Summit.
12. Be a real blogger. Honor your blog and be a happy blogger. Even if you are already a successful business owner or even if you are already famous in another profession or career, don’t be ashamed to tell everyone that you are a blogger. Perhaps, there are some people who are besmearing the good name of blogging, but the blogging profession is one of the greatest online careers today. With the great influence of blogging in the Internet and beyond, bloggers have the power to change the world. Therefore, be honored that you are a blogger.
Rock your business through SEO
To really rock your small business online, you’ve got to add SEO on your Internet marketing mix. SEO or search engine optimization is the process of improving a web site’s structure, content, and quality to increase its visibility and ranking in the search engines, thereby increasing traffic from them. The following are ways to rock your small business through SEO.
13. Target your audience. Use content marketing and keyword optimization to target your desired audience. You can optimize your blog pages to rank higher on certain keywords or search terms in the SERPs (search engine results pages). For example, if you’re in the hotel business, you can create a series of blog posts that have related keywords on it.
To drive more relevant traffic from search engines to your site, you could choose long-tail and more specific keywords, which have lower competition and would give you more targeted traffic. So instead of just using “hotel in the Philippines” as a keyword, you can choose more descriptive and geo-targeted keywords, like “affordable hotel rooms in Makati City Philippines”.
14. Use SEO and Webmaster tools. Learn how to use SEO and webmaster tools to analyze your site and know how to improve it. You can freely use Google’s Webmaster Tool and Bing Webmaster Tool (where Yahoo! Search Site Explorer has been merged into it) to ensure that you are getting high quality organic traffic from Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can also use SEOmoz SEO tools to manage your SEO effectively. Check out more free and premium SEO and Webmaster tools on this list.
15. Optimize your blog’s architectural structure. Make your web site or blog better loved and understood by search engines by optimizing its site structure. Developing the structure of your site involves fixing your internal link structure, creating a sitemap, removing redundant categories and tags and having search-engine-friendly URLs. To learn more about this, you may read this useful post from Yoast.
16. Learn more SEO or hire a SEO specialist. You can either hire a SEO expert to optimize your site and brand for the search engines or do it yourself. Choosing the first will cost you money, but will save your time. On the other hand, the latter will save your money, but will require you to spend your precious time. If you choose doing SEO yourself, you’ve got to be patient in learning basic to advanced SEO. You may follow the best SEO blogs listed by Invesp’s blog Rank here.
17. Invest on PPC advertising. SEO is more on gaining organic unpaid traffic from search engines. But when there is also an available opportunity to drive traffic with a budget, that is, using PPC marketing, then why can’t we mix it to our online marketing campaign. Here is an interesting article about 8 ways PPC and SEO are better when used together.
18. Optimize your images. Optimize your images for the search engines, for the social media, for the Internet browsers, and for the human readers. You can use relevant keywords, description, and Alt tags on your photos to be optimized for the search engines. You should also optimize their size and weight for fast loading in the Internet browsers. And most importantly, use interesting images to attract your readers. Check out this comprehensive post by Niel about ways to generate more traffic out of your images.
19. Use videos for SEO. Multimedia content, like videos can boost users’ experience on your site. If you have interesting videos embedded on your pages, it can make your visitors spend more time on your site. Videos also have the potential to become viral once shared on top social media sites, like Youtube and Facebook. It also improves your SEO through creation of video sitemap and optimizing keywords on your videos. Here’s a guide from SEOmoz on how you can build links with video content.
20. Optimize the search engines. SEO won’t be SEO if you are only optimizing your own site. It should be a mutual benefit for the site owners, search engines, and search engine users. In other words, we should create quality content that will improve our site authority, will make search engines filled with useful and accurate links, and will help human searchers find the right information they are looking for. Hence, don’t just create content that you want to share to the world, but observe first the search engines and the behavior of their users to determine what kind of content the world needs. You may read my story on how to use this universal technique to boost traffic on this blog.
21. Turn your search traffic to loyal visitors. By using the right mix of SEO techniques and tactics, you can successfully drive tons of traffic from search engines. But to fully leverage your search traffic who may only visit you once, you’ve got to do everything practical to convert them into loyal and returning visitors. The following are simple ways to make your first-time visitors into returning visitors:
a. Create bookmarkable content.
b. Create interesting and engaging content that will make your visitors participate in your discussion.
c. Publish viral potential content that will encourage your visitors to share your content in the social media.
d. Encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds and follow you in your social media pages.
e. Interact with your visitors.
22. Go for natural backlinks. Building links can be easy or can be hard and time-consuming. But if you really want to get high-quality and authoritative backlinks, the hard way is more preferred. Instead of spamming other sites and breaking Google’s guidelines on link building to get instant backlinks, choose the natural way of building links. It’s safe, effective, and long lasting. Check out my article about the 12 ways on how to get natural backlinks to your website or blog.
23. Link to other authority sites. Increase the credibility of your content and pages by linking to other relevant and credible sites. Be generous in giving link juices to those who deserve it. Linking to other authority sites shows that you have made extensive research and you are backing up what you are saying with proof and other important supporting information. It can also be a way to get the attention of other authority bloggers or publishers, who may even help you promote your content or pages. This is also considered linkbaiting – another way of building natural backlink to your site. Linkbaiting, as long as done the right way is an awesome SEO technique. Matt Cutts of Google, once told that linkbait is something interesting enough to catch people’s attention, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
24. Build your trust and authority. Your authority as a content publisher is vital in getting better ranking in SERPs, as well as in getting trust from readers. Therefore don’t just rely too much on the technical side of SEO, but also give more importance on your personal, professional, and social development. Make you audience more confident by consistently improving your knowledge, skills and expertise on the topics you are sharing on the Internet. And most of all, execute what you have learned on SEO.
Rock your business through social media marketing
Don’t just conquer the search engines, but also invade the social media arena. In this social media era, social media marketing should be an integral part of your marketing campaign. You have to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other top social media places to boost your business success. Here are important ways on how to rock your small business through SMM.
25. Target your social media audience. Just like targeting your specific audience in the search engines, targeting your audience in the social media should also be an important step in your online marketing campaign. Before you start promoting your brand, you have to analyze your products or services to define your target market. To define and narrow down your target market, you have to choose specific consumers demographics, such as location, age, gender, income level, education, occupation, and marital status. For example, if you are in a restaurant business, you may concentrate in targeting audience that is near in your location. In another example, if you are selling products for babies, you may also focus only on audience, who are already married rather than those who are still single.
26. Integrate social media on your blog. Your blog should refer people to follow you on your social media pages, like Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Likewise, your social pages should also refer people to visit your blog, which is also actually considered a social medium. They must work together to grow your traffic and followers. If you are running a WordPress blog, you can easily install social media plugins, like DiggDigg, to encourage your visitors to share your content to their social media connections. Top social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have also developed their own plugins or buttons that you can put on your blog. You may visit their links below:
27. Explore other social media. Don’t just limit your social media reach to Facebok, Twitter, and Google+. Also consider other top social media places where you can tap to boost your brand exposure online. Explore the following social media sites for promoting your small business online:
a. Linkedin.com – considered the largest networking site for professionals.
b. Pinterest.com – considered the fastest rising social network. It allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.
c. Reddit.com – a very popular social media which shares user-generated news links.
d. StumbleUpon.com – if you have interesting content or web page to share, share it to millions of stumblers who hangout on this site.
e. Youtube.com – the world’s largest video sharing site.
f. Flickr.com – show off your images, as well as videos, to the world through Flickr.
g. FourSquare.com – a location-based social networking website for mobile devices.
h. DeviantART.com – if you’re a graphic artist, this site can help you promote your works online.
28. Create different types of viral content. Create a buzz that can get the attention of thousands or even millions of people by creating and sharing a series of viral content online. Viral content isn’t easy to create. It requires a lot of creativity, research, timing, and patience for trying and trying until you hit the bullseye. Check out this article by Social Media Today on how to create viral content.
29. Analyze your insights. Track the performance of your social media pages to determine important insights, such as the number of likes on your Facebook pages or the number of your followers on Twitter. You could also analyze your Facebook page insights to monitor the virality of your posts or the number of people who have liked, shared, and talked about them. It is important to regularly check your insights to discover vital information that you can use to establish your target market. These pieces of information include trends, demographics, and the way users consume your content.
30. Utilize useful apps. Use Facebook apps to boost user engagement and attract more followers on your Facebook page. Learn from this comprehensive post about using Facebook Apps to improve fan engagement. You can also use these 10 business Twitter Apps for your enterprise.
31. Go mobile. With a billion of mobile users who can access the Internet and social media, promoting one’s brand in the mobile arena should not be missed by business owners and marketers. Thus, optimize your blog for mobile access and increase sharing quality content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and FourSquare, which are mobile-friendly platforms that can be accessed by mobile users.
32. Consider buying Facebook ads. If you are including PPC marketing like Google’s Adwords in your online marketing campaign, you should also consider investing in Facebook Ads to reach more audience from the world’s largest social networking site, that is, Facebook. If you don’t have any idea how Facebook ads work for your small business, you may read this useful article to learn more about it.
33. Reward your followers. Show some love and sense of gratitude to your social networking followers by giving them rewards, freebies, discounts, savings, prizes, loyalty recognition, and other surprises that will make your followers feel more welcome and appreciated. But when you do contests or promotion on social media, make sure that you follow their rules, policies and guidelines. For example, when making a promotion on Facebook, you have to follow Facebook’s Page guidelines on promotions.
34. Do social media marketing with a human touch. Social media, like blogs and social networking sites, offer advanced technology that makes our work easier. With the power of Internet and social media, we already have the power to automate things, like scheduling your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ updates in advance. Other automated software enables users to send automated replies on messages that their followers or customers are sending them. Though these tools can increase our efficiency in social media marketing, we should not rely heavily on them to the point that we are already becoming ineffective in creating real human relationship.
Don’t forget to give more importance in the social of “social media”, instead of the media. Social is people, and we have to value the human side of social media. Thus, we should concentrate on building closer relationship with our social network followers. We have to act more humane, instead of interacting with them like a robot. So instead of just sending or sharing automatic messages to your followers, talk to them according to their current modes. You’ve got to make them feel special.
35. Join related groups. Social media is for networking. But if you will just create a Facebook Page to get followers, then it can’t be called real networking. You should not just think of getting followers, but you also have to follow people or other entities on social networks. Don’t be a man who just wanted people to come to his island, but be a man who will also visit people in their islands.
Explore Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking groups, which are relevant to your business or interest. For example if you are in the business consulting service, you can search for Facebook groups, whose members are business owners and entrepreneurs who may become your future clients. You can also join a group of business consultants, where you can exchange ideas with other members and even get client referrals from them.
36. Don’t stop learning SMM. The online world is revolving and evolving fast. The techniques and tactics we know that are effective today might become obsolete tomorrow. Hence, we have to be updated with the latest social media news. We have to continue on our experimentations to discover the right social media marketing strategies for our business. There are many social media blogs that we can follow to read and learn more. Among these blogs are Mashable, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Social Mouths.
If you want to rock your business, you’ve got to solidify it. That means you have to make sure that your business contains the right mix of elements that can make it tough just like a rock. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers should know how to combine the power of blogging, SEO and social media to work effectively as one. And most importantly, this know-how should not just stay in the mind, but it must be performed consistently until it is actually and successfully done.
Rock In Sea Photo by Petr Kratochvil