Category Archives: Web 2.0

How Should You Improve Your Web Presence in 2009?

globe-and-laptop.jpgStatic websites are out.  Make sure your website is interactive to keep visitors coming back.  Small businesses need to improve their online marketing efforts to ensure their websites meet visitors’ needs and expectations.

Add customer reviews, feedback and testimonials. If you are selling products online, provide customers the ability to provide product ratings and reviews. It enhances the user experience and gives prospective buyers the confidence to buy as well as leads to customer loyalty. So, if a customer was happy with their purchase from your online store, make sure you add feedback to your website.

E-newsletter: An e-newsletter is a must-have tool that makes it easy and cost effective to communicate with a mass audience. First, make sure you have a content rich e-newsletter. Make sure you are promoting it. Add an e-newsletter sign-up form to your home page and give visitors proper incentive to subscribe. If you don’t have a large email list yet, no worries. Add a forwarding feature to the newsletter so your subscribers can forward your newsletter to their friends, and colleagues.

RSS feeds: Forrester Research, in its “RSS 101 for Marketers” report, said, “RSS is a powerful tool  that marketers should test and deploy to proactively maintain relationships with their customers.”

RSS is a technology that enables users to “subscribe” to content from websites without providing an email address. When the content is updated, users automatically get notified and their “RSS Reader” pulls this content directly from the source. Since the content is pulled instead of “pushed”, marketers don’t have to worry about their message being caught in spam filters.

Have a blog on your website? Integrating multiple RSS feeds into your website allows visitors to read the content that’s most important to them.

SEO is making its way into marketing plans and budgets. By focusing on SEO, businesses have the potential to increase their position in search engines, increase traffic to their websites, and as a result, drive revenue. Begin your SEO efforts by ensuring that all of your web site content is optimized with the keywords your prospective customers will use to find you. Relevant content is the key to achieving higher rankings in search engines. Don’t know which key words are right for your business or how to begin optimizing your content. Use Wordtracker.

Consistent message throughout your web content: Websites need to be updated with new content regularly to keep customers coming back. Focus on message consistency. Make the message in your email campaign cohesive with the message on your website. All forms of communication including your website, e-newsletter, collateral and advertising should consistently deliver the same message in order to maximize the potential of your marketing efforts.

Ten Simple Rules to Help Build Inbound Links for Your Small Business Website

One of our small business customers wanted to know more about creating relevant inbound links. Here’s what I suggested after researching this topic:

1. Choose 4-10 of your most popular keywords that you’re going to use.

2. Write variations of the links that you’d like to use. Test them. You may want to experiment with the Google AdWords keyword tool.

3. Create several inbound links using different variations of linking text.

4. The easiest way to get inbound links is from other websites or blogs that you own or control.

5.  Create online profiles for your small business on social networking sites

6.  Ask friends and colleagues for permission to put links on their sites or blogs.

7.  Buy quality directory links. Don’t buy directory links disapproved by Google. Do your research – at least Google the site’s url or name before you buy.

8. Tell people how you’d like them to link to you. Ask them to copy and paste the code you provide into their web pages/blogs.

9. Write keyword rich press releases and use services such as PRWeb or to distribute them. For an additional fee PRWeb will let you embed links into the body of your press release.

10. Write and publish quality articles and blog posts. If people like your article, they will likely use your article’s title when they link to you, so make sure that you include keywords in the titles of each article/post.  

Should Small Business Owners Call or Email Their Customers and Prospects?

Getting through the maze of choices on a big company’s phone system can be aggravating.  Sometimes you keep going in circles without an opportunity to  speak to a human being.

Small business people can have a problem handling phones during busy business hours, too. But, for small business owners, the initial telephone contact can be crucial to making a sale.

Customers and prospects usually don’t call to chat. They want information and they want it now. They want to speak with someone who can help them.  If the person who “just answers the phone” is the lowest-paid, least knowledgeable person in the building, customers can get frustrated.

One idea for small businesses: Put your best people on the phone and if necessary, share the duty. If that is impossible, then the receptionist should know the company terrain and staff and should not seem rushed or upset on the phone.

I often find it to be more effient to communicate with customers via email. Will email and Twitter replace phone calls in the future? Is Microblogging the future of communications?

Where Can I Get Web 2.0 for My Small Business?

Several small business owners have asked this question.  Well, sometimes it’s hard to respond.

For me Web 2.0 is a mindset or a philosophy.  It is a way of creating dialogs with your audiences via the world wide web.  Everyone participating becomes a contributor.  Finally there is a level playing field for like-minded individuals.  Small business owners, hockey moms,  pet lovers, etc. can become thought leaders and create their own communities if they have passion for a certain topic or field and they are willing and able to share their  interest and  knowledge.

We don’t have time for this knowledge sharing stuff and online networking some small business owners say. Could I just put up my website and update it once or twice a year? Yes, you can.  But you may miss out.

Web 2.0 has opened new avenues for keeping up with global connections as well. I have been able to re-connect with people in different countries via social networking tools.  It is amazing – they can get glimpse of my life and accomplishments  by looking at my profile and I can see what they have been up to.   I can see their current photographs and family life…and avoid asking embarrassing questions.