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Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but the following could be considered the most conducive to the budget of even the most frugal of business owners.

  1. On-Site SEO

The concept of building a website to cater to customers seems almost forgone nowadays, but the cruel reality is that a considerable number of small business owners ignore the one online marketing technique over which they have the most control.

Let’s forget for a moment a recent study found that 46 percent of small businesses do not yet own a website. For those that do, the primary concern should be executing a two-prong plan that is equal parts technical and creative.

First, buck up to hire a reputable SEO firm to evaluate your website. I’m talking top to bottom, through and through, including the code behind it all, which acts as the meat and potatoes of any website. Until this is done, everything else is trivial.

Once your site is given the green light, fill it with content that people will actually want to read. Sounds easy, but it’s not. Using your own intuition and some competitor analysis as a guide, figure out what terms your potential customers are searching on Google. Then, once you have a list, make a concerted effort to target each keyword – or a group of related keywords – one page at a time, treating each like its own mini-website.

If you need to hire a professional writing service to flesh out text for every page, don’t hesitate. Trust me, it will return huge dividends and more than pay for itself later on.

  1. Content Marketing

Your site’s looking good, but now what? The answer: more content. Don’t be stale.

Maintaining a blog is one of the easiest ways to consistently fill your site with content that will keep people coming back. Determine how often you can blog and commit to it. Take the time to develop a content calendar, and see it through. Write about specific topics and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

But that’s only half the battle. To win the war, put forth the effort to market your content, so that more and more people realize its worth. Think big. Identify people who you consider to be influencers in your industry, and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with them. If you put yourself out there, and it’s done right, soon others will begin to do your marketing for you.

  1. Social Media

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center last year, 65% of American adults engage with some form of social media. In today’s wireless world, people are more connected than ever, and we want others to know exactly what we like and what we don’t.

If you provide customers with an enjoyable experience – whether it’s on your site, in the store, or a mixture of the two – they’ll take to social media to influence others to follow suit. You’ll begin to ignite relationships with new customers you never would have reached otherwise.

And don’t worry about trying to promote your business on every social media site known to man. Start with one you feel best caters to your target audience, and invest all of your available resources there.

  1. Mobile

The numbers don’t lie. Today, we spend more time searching on our phones than we do computers. For businesses, this means opportunities to reach more people than ever before, and doing so at absolutely crucial times.

Yet, a reported 32 percent of small business owners either do not have a mobile-friendly website or are unsure whether their website is mobile-friendly.

Remember the SEO firm from earlier? They’ll likely tell you your site needs to be optimized for mobile devices. If so, embrace the idea. Mobile is the future, so you may as well start now. It will pay off.

  1. Reviews

Everyone’s a critic. And when it’s so easy to do so now, why not be?

The prominence of review engines such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business has given every consumer a voice, which can be intimidating for a business owner. But fear not, and instead focus on fostering healthy reviews from people for whom you provided a positive experience. The word will spread.

Establishing a presence on top review sites will show new and existing customers you are interested in receiving feedback – both good and bad. And yes, for every 50 glowing reviews, there may be a venomous one – however erroneous – that threatens to submarine everything.

Meet the vitriol head-on. Rather than react accordingly, be proactive by responding in a manner that not only extinguishes the situation, but also resonates with those who are using online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Which is just about everyone.

Jay Buerck

Learn more about Jay Buerck

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