Marketing tips for anyone

I've been in and around business and business management since the early 70's (kinda shows a bit of my age there doesn't it?) and I've learned a few things that are applicable to any business, whether it is traditional brick and mortar or some newly created Internet opportunity. Marketing is the same for all. The same rules and concepts transcend all types, so the same actions are applicable. I'm going to focus on the Internet (hey, isn't that where we are now????) and offer the following 8 tips.

1. Just what the heck is your message and intention? What is the goal of your website? Ultimately, it should be to drive more business, but how exactly will it do that? Start with one goal – such as increasing the number of phone calls – and branch out from there. It’s important to set goals, but it’s just as important to come up with a system for measuring those goals.

2. Website content – In marketing Content is King. What does your website say? Is the content unique and useful? Will people learn anything when they visit your site? When was the last time you added new content? Does your website have content worth reading? Does your content match your business goals?

3. The <title> tag. The title shows up at the very top of your browser window. What does yours say? Does it describe the page you’re looking at? Is it a unique description? Does it contain the keywords you want people to associate with that page of your website? If you’re a local business, does it contain your key local search keywords? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, then it is up to you as the owner to know about “title” and “meta” tags.

4. Click tracking and traffic analytics. The measure of your website's effectiveness is detailed in your analytics. Analytics provide a tremendous amount of incredibly useful data, such as where your website visitors come from, how long they stay, and what they do on your site. Google analytics is free and pretty darn good, and I recommend it. I also recommend you make sure you can track every lead that’s generated by your website.

If you don’t have a dedicated phone number for the website that you can track calls on, get your own Google voice phone number and then forward every call you get to your main number while tracking the number of calls you receive, who called, how long the call lasted…etc. It’s surprisingly inexpensive. And if you use the visual voicemail feature, you will get your messages in text format.

5. Check out your competition. Visit your competitors’ websites. Do searches for keywords related to your business. Find out what others in your vertical are doing and saying. This is a great way to get ideas and take stock of your own company’s online marketing efforts.

6. Repeat after me – “I have an ugly baby.” A lot of business owners love their websites, but the first step to improving your website is to admit that it has some deficiencies. No website is perfect, and every website can use improvement. If you have a website, you have an ugly baby [sorry]. Just how ugly your website is, however, is open to discussion.

7. Start blogging. Every business, and we mean every business, has something to gain by blogging and absolutely nothing to loose. The list of benefits is long, but here’s a short list of reasons small businesses should blog. We are part of a blogging system here in the Empower Network, if you are not blogging EVERY DAY, then start.

8. Post online videos. Video is still a little cutting-edge for some, but the benefits can’t be understated. Online video is the wave of the future, and every business needs to have something on YouTube, Metacafe, etc. You can use your web cam on your computer, your mobile phone, your tablet or anything else to make a  video and upload it.

In the end, it is up to you as the owner of your business to do or oversee your marketing, because in the end it is that factor that will determine whether you have money in your pocket from your business or only pocket lint.