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E49 – Small Business Online Marketing Plan & Blueprint for 2016

This is our first episode to kick off 2016. In this episode we provide an update to the Small Business Marketing Plan & Blueprint episode we did at the start of 2015. In this episode we detail the exact strategy we’re using right now in 2016 to get real results for our small business clients.

1. Mindset

Fixing your mindset, particularly around time and cost investment, is a key part of making your online marketing strategy work effectively.

Unfortunately most small businesses owners choose services based on price instead of features, benefits and expected performance. Looking at the expected return on a service first, and then working backwards to determine what you can afford or an appropriate budget is a much better approach.

Other common mistakes in thinking and mindset:

  • The blind quest wanting to be “number 1 in google” – for which term, which device, which location and which number 1 are you talking about? The Adwords results? The Google Maps results? Google Shopping or just the regular unpaid, organic search results (which are now often halfway down the page)?
  • Thinking “Adwords is expensive”, it’s not if it works!
  • Having a set and forget attitude – those days are over. You website and marketing strategy needs regular attention in order to deliver consistent and regular results.
  • Looking at competitor websites and Google rankings continually/regularly/obsessively without working on your own site.
  • Expecting overnight success and falling for sales gimmicks and tricks, e.g. “don’t pay until you rank”. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Those too good to be true offers do work in some cases but in other cases they can damage the underlying SEO fundamentals of your website so badly that you need to rebuild the site on a new domain.
  • Only taking action when your business is in trouble…this is the worst time to be trying to get online marketing momentum!

2. Content

  • To start with, specifically a page of content on the website for every single product and service you sell.
  • Pages should be 500 words or around 5 paragraphs long, minimum – think 1.5-2 scrolls of the page
  • The content should explain what you’re selling, why the customer should buy it from you (features and benefits to the customer) and how they get started (e.g. do they call? book online? email?)
  • Dan Norris’ Book Content Machine is a great resource for expanding your content further beyond your products and services pages. We chatted with Dan in an episode back in mid 2015

3. High quality email and web hosting

There’s no excuse for email problems with today’s technology. Our email hosting providers of choice are Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 is the better one if you’re used to using Microsoft Outlook. Google Apps is the business version of Gmail.

Many businesses try to get the cheapest web hosting possible which is a terrible idea. You know yourself, if a website is slow to load or unreliable you quickly lose patience and click away. Visitors to your website behave in exactly the same way. Slow and unreliable websites also hurt your Google ranking!

Brendan’s company has built a high performance, search engine friendly hosting product specifically for this reason:

For more detailed information on hosting check out our hosting episode:

4. Get Google Analytics installed

Google Analytics is FREE and the defacto tool for measure website performance. Here’s the link:

You probably already have it but don’t have a logon for it. If you’re unsure, ask your web developer if you have it.

5. Get a Google Maps Listing setup for your business

It’s free and completely DIY, here’s the link:

Once you’re setup, make sure you get secondary listings setup too:

6. Commercial Website Photography

The age of stock photography is gone and there’s a lot more that goes into an effective commercial photo than simply pointing a camera and clicking a button.

We talked about commercial photography in detail with Matt Reed from in episode 16:

7. AdWords and SEO

Generally we’ll recommend that you do both SEO and AdWords at the same time as they balance out each others strengths and weaknesses. One big advantage of Google AdWords (when done right!) is that you have complete control over what keywords you do and don’t show up for, where and what device. You can also be up and running within 24 hours whereas SEO improvements can take weeks or even months to take full effect.

It’s important not to treat Adwords as an expense to be minimised, when done right Adwords should be making you money.

It’s also important to be aware of how the sales process for your products and services work, it’s complexity and length. Generally speaking, cheaper or lower cost products and services that have a shorter, simpler sales cycle will benefit the most from high Google rankings and AdWords. Depending on the products and services you sell, Google may not actually be the most effective marketing channel and something like Facebook ads or the Google Display Network may work better.

8. Email Marketing

For a large proportion of businesses email marketing is usually one of the top 3 best performing marketing channels but unfortunately most businesses do it badly. When done right, it’s very cheap and highly effective.

In episode 8 we talked about email marketing in detail, here’s the link:

9. Social Media

Finally we then have social media. Generally we say you should focus on email marketing before social media as generally speaking email still outperforms social platforms and many of the social platforms now require you to pay to get any real exposure. It’s also important to be aware of where your customers are hanging out online, in many cases a platform like LinkedIn may be more effective than something like Facebook.


Listening options:

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