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Lee Odden

Integrate SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing Into Your Business

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In today’s age of ubiquitous connectivity, many small businesses have implemented a variety of online marketing efforts to attract new customers and increase overall sales. Unfortunately, results can vary significantly because tools are only as good as the expertise of the person using them.

The lure of the "next big thing" can create online marketing inefficiencies when small business owners try to be a marketing "jack of all trades and master to none".

For example, the rapid growth and adoption of the social web can be overwhelming for small business marketers. Consider these social network growth statistics:
  • Google sites handle about 100 billion searches each month (SEL)
  • YouTube hosts nearly 14 billion videos (comScore)
  • Facebook is now over 1 billion users (Mark Zuckerberg)
  • Google+ has over 500 million users (Google)
  • Twitter has over 550 million accounts (Statistics Brain)
  • LinkedIn is at 225 million users (LinkedIn)
  • Pinterest grew 4,377% in 2012 and continues to expand with 25 million users (TechCrunch)
Small business owners, employees and their customers use various social networking sites personally so in many cases the platforms are familiar. As a result, more small business marketers are starting to use Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to attract new customers and engage those customers they already have.

However, personal use is not the same as expertise when it comes to marketing and with so many options available, prioritization, management and optimization are less than ideal.

Essential Questions for Small Business Marketers:
The variety of options for customer marketing and engagement ranging from social media to SEO to email marketing to online advertising can be overwhelming. As a result, some of the most common online marketing questions I hear from small businesses revolve around how to decide which tactics are best? Or, "How to manage time across so many tactics? and "How long will it take to see results?"

Answering these questions starts with a clear understanding of goals, customers and a flexible online marketing strategy that assembles the right mix of tactics and measurement practices. Most companies are looking for more customers and to retain those they have, but the question is, "How to do so efficiently?"

The Answer for Better Online Marketing Starts with Content:
In the context of this article, a big part of the answer is through content marketing. If Social Media and SEO fit together like peanut butter and jelly (if you didn't know, yes they do) then content is the bread that holds them together.

online marketing channels

For 81% of consumers, search influences what they think about a company (Weber Shandwick) and of companies that invest in content marketing, 78% use paid search and 69% use SEO to increase audience discovery of that content (Outbrain) – eMarketer.

The trend in search and social information discovery, consumption and action behaviors of consumers are an opportunity for small businesses in all industries to become highly valued sources of information wherever their customers are looking.

Search engines favor high value content in the search results. Social media sites favor sharable, linkable content. A small business that combines smart Social Media and SEO tactics can create a competitive advantage for attracting new customers whether they search Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or blogs.

Topics and Keywords Homework:
With search or social media optimization, it's important to empathize with the audience you're trying to reach in terms of the language they use while searching and how they talk on the social web.

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About the Author:
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a provider of innovative Internet marketing consulting for progressive B2B companies ranging from Marketo to PRWeb to McKesson. Odden has been recognized for his expertise with enterprise social media, SEO and content marketing strategies by The Economist, Advertising Age and Mashable. He writes a monthly column called Social Media Smarts for ClickZ and his blog at has an active community with over 46,000 subscribers, 12,000 Facebook Fans and has been rated the #1 Content Marketing blog 3 times by Junta42. He is also the Author of "Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing" published by Wiley.
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