Marketing Small Businesses Online – How to Improve Your Web Presence and Increase Traffic

Home Based Business

More and more people today have been setting up their own businesses and learning about marketing small businesses online. Times have changed since the advent of the internet and there are a few elements to any successful marketing campaign that I’ll share with you here.

Web Presence

The point of marketing small businesses online is to drive traffic to your site and hopefully make a few conversions. A conversion rate calculates how many people must visit your site before you make a sale or generate a new lead. The following methods are each valuable methods of increasing your web presence.

Top Five Methods

1. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the single most important element to any online marketing campaign. By optimizing your site for search engine crawlers, you can improve your ranking in those search engines and generate long term organic web traffic.

2. Search engine PPC (pay per click) advertising is another way you can increase your presence. You set up your account with the search engines, choose your keywords and determine which sites you want your ad displayed. For everyone who clicks on one of your ads and lands on your site, you are charged for that. If no one clicks, you owe nothing.

3. Social networking is quickly becoming an amazingly powerful marketing tool. Setting up free accounts on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and HubPages you can start promoting yourself and your products. Include social bookmarking buttons on each of your web pages to encourage others to spread the news.

4. Article marketing campaigns in another excellent way to improve your web presence. By submitting good quality and informative articles to directories such as EzineArticles, you are not only presenting yourself as an expert to human readers, you are also creating valuable backlinks to your site which can greatly improve your ranking.

5. Commenting on blogs, forums and discussion groups is another powerful method of increasing your presence. Leave regular comments on sites that are related to your market’s niche. Doing this will also create valuable backlinks.

It Takes Time

Marketing small businesses on the internet takes patience and dedication. There is not overnight success, not even online. Be prepared to spend time each day building on each of the five principles. Keep at it and before long you’ll be reaping the rewards.

Presentations – 3 Fail Save Tips

Many people say they would prefer to go to the dentist and have a drilling without anaesthetic, be locked in a box full of spiders or sky dive with the person they would most like not to be with rather than make a presentation.

Of course we all have phobias and things we convince ourselves we can’t do. Mine is picking up the telephone to sell and I’m sure you can tell from the language I use that I have a set of assumptions about ‘selling’ and more importantly the likely outcome. In short, fear of rejection.

And it’s the same with presentations. You may be talking to a number of different people (internal v external) in a number of different circumstances (formal v informal) to deliver a number of different outcomes (information v commitment).

It may, of course, just be to entertain but this is usually the realm of more experienced speakers.

So, fear of presenting is not a trivial issue. Here are 3 Fails Safe Tips.

1. Take the Angst out of it

• What’s going through your mind here?
o I haven’t done it before;
o I have done it before and I didn’t feel it went well
o People were so patronising with their feedback.
o Actually I didn’t want to ask them!
• So what’s likely to be overwhelming you at the moment? It’s your emotion isn’t it?
• And we all know that we are our own worst critics. Do you have some one or something – say a parent or parrot – on your shoulder – saying don’t, can’t, failure, you’ve done it before and it was rubbish!
• So do all of us! So park this stuff.
• Think positive. Be a footballer and imagine scoring the winning goal.
• People coming up to you and saying:
o That was something I’ve been struggling with for ages – thank you for helping me out;
o I really enjoyed the energy and commitment you put in to your presentation;
o I could never do that – tell me what I need to do to be like you.
• This can be really difficult, but in addition to practising your presentation in front of the mirror and recording it, you really ought to trial it in front of somebody who you know will give you constructive feedback.

2. Attend to the Practicalities

• Having done the ‘hard’ work in shaping and preparing your presentation, on the day there are some practicalities you need to take control of.
• Yes, I mean take control of, because no matter how exquisite your speech preparation has been, there are some really practical issues if not addressed can literally destroy your presentation.
• So what might they be?
o Can people hear you? – do a sound check with the people at the back of the room;
o Lighting – are you visible for everybody in the room? Are you moving between light and dark patches?
o Are your slides visible to everybody? – are you getting in the way of people seeing the slides?
o Are the slides too busy?
o Are you using the slides as your script?
o If you want to facilitate people talking amongst them selves does the room layout support this?

3. Believe you’re the ‘Expert’ for the Day

• And of course you are.
• It doesn’t mean you know more than anybody else in the room – and if you don’t they’ll probably let you know.
• But if your presentation is well prepared with robust factual evidence then you’re on the high ground.
• If you want to express an opinion then make sure you label it clearly – my view is that…
• You can acknowledge different points of view – on the one hand/on the other hand.
• But don’t be wishy washy in terms of your outcome – express a view, evidence it and be prepared to learn!

Debt Negotiation or Debt Consolidation?

Debt negotiation and consolidation are choices available to anyone who requires debt assistance. If your bills have grown out of your control, should you utilize debt consolidation? Debt negotiation? One of these may abolish your debt and credit problems if chosen carefully.

Debt Negotiation

Debt negotiation is often called debt settlement. This is given to those who can’t keep up with a debt consolidation program. In the event that you don’t feel you can meet the minimum payments of a consolidation plan, a debt negotiation program is the best alternative to reducing debt and credit problems.

One appeal of debt negotiation programs is that you’ll be able to stop making payments to your creditors. The debt negotiation company will take monthly payments from you and store them in an account.

While you’re making monthly payments to the debt negotiation company, they negotiate with the creditors for a lower pay rate of as little as 40% of the total debt. When the settlement is reached with your creditors, the company makes a one-time payment.

The drawback here is that debt negotiation programs will lower your credit score for as long as you’re enrolled in the program. Most negotiation companies obligate the creditor to compile a credit report noting that the debt was fully paid so as not to appear as a negative credit mark after the account is settled.

Certain debt negotiation companies even include a credit repair service that will remove the harmful marks left by the program. This is a service which is usually included.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation grants custom debt repayment plans with most credit card and collection companies. When applying to a debt consolidation company, you’re proposed a lower average monthly payment, and this is built on an even lower interest rate accepted by the creditor.

Your new payment will be better than what your credit card companies allow, saving you money every month. This is usually the ideal way to consolidate debt.

An obvious attraction of a debt consolidation payment plan is that it’ll prevent you from being harassed by creditors as long as you continue to make the new payments on schedule.

However, the drawback of the plan is cancelling all credit cards included in the plan.

Also, you’ll be charged your first payment for the program and an extra monthly administration fee. Fees vary between flat rates of ten to fifty dollars, while others will charge a simple five dollar fee for each creditor. This amounts to about thirty dollars a month that isn’t going directly to paying off debt.

A debt consolidation program will aid you if you suffer from lofty interest rates or loftier credit card bills than you can overcome. It’s usually more convenient for everyone to make a single payment for all bills.