Guest Post by Will Schneider
If you’re like many small online business owners out there, then you most likely run into one of the most significant challenges with growing your business – not having enough time and money to take advantage of the opportunities at hand. There are only a limited amount of hours in the day and, if you’re like most of us out there, then you probably don’t have millions of dollars in venture capital funding at your disposal. In fact, you most likely have to squeeze every bit of value possible out of every dollar spent, which makes the thought of forking out an additional $500 – $2,000+ per month for outsourced SEO (search engine optimization) services almost unthinkable. And even if you can muster up enough courage to entertain the notion of investing in SEO, then your confidence may immediately be broken when you hear that there is absolutely no guarantee that spending this money will bring your company success in the form of new business and sales. So what do you do when spending this kind of money to hire a good SEO firm just isn’t a possibility? The best option may just be to take one step at a time on your own.
Knowledge is the First Step
As with anything in life, you can’t perform SEO yourself without understanding how it all works. There is a wealth of information online about SEO and how to do it yourself, so spending a little bit of time becoming familiar with how online marketing works is a good place to start. However, don’t get too caught up on all of the subtleties, because it might just be more important to understand how “marketing” in general works. There are so many changes in the SEO world each year, largely because the search engines are trying to provide the most relevant data for searches – which entails cracking down on website optimization techniques that are used solely to manipulate rankings. So spending time on the “latest trends” might net some results, but using time tested marketing methods will yield long term success. This means truly identifying who your customers are and where you can find them. It also means finding ways to creatively get in front of these decision makers. So while optimizing your website is a good thing, also spend some time thinking about who you want to do business with, find out where they “hang out”, and come up with some creative ways to market to them.
You Must Crawl Before You Can Walk
Because you don’t have much extra time in the day, you’re going to have to be extremely strategic with how you use your time regarding online marketing. The best first step is to create a plan of attack. Decide how much time you’re going to devote to online marketing each day, week, and month. After you determine how much time you’ll spend, map out a couple of strategies that you’re going to employ. Make sure that you only choose a few. It’s better to stick with a couple of things and do them to the best of your abilities, then to take on too many tasks and be a “master of none.” Furthermore, if you try to take on too many tasks, you’ll only overwhelm yourself, which will lead to frustration and ultimate failure of your campaign.
Stick to the Best Strategies
Be careful to choose the most important online marketing strategies to use for your website. Most online marketing professionals would agree that creating good content and building relationships are two of the most important functions for a successful program. Writing articles and page content that truly help your targeted prospects will pay huge dividends. And good content will have a much higher chance of being linked to, which in turn positively affects your organic search rankings. And building relationships, whether through social media or otherwise, will not only help you connect with relevant people that could either turn into a customer or refer you to a customer, but it also helps you build the process of potential link partners – companies that will link to your website. Especially in these times, getting a link from a high quality site is extremely time consuming and difficult. The best links are forged through value – so by spending time each month creating good content that helps your website users and building relationships with prospects and vendors, you’ll pave the path to long term success in your online marketing strategy.