SES NY: SEM Blitz On Small Business

    March 19, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

You have to spend money to make money, but sometimes the best way to market a business means spending common sense.

The prudent small business owner would likely take Stoney deGeyter advice to try and drive searchers to the pages that best represent the intent of their queries.

Searchers visiting a site may be there for research, as an early part in the decision making process. When shoppers arrive, they are ready to spend, but they may not have hammered down which of two or more sellers of a product will receive their business.

Buyers buy, convert, transact, however you may wish to state it. They know what they want and are ready to do business.

The best chance to grab buyers comes from solid site design. Unique titles placed throughout a site, and default titles for products, will be appreciated by the search engines.

Scraping copy out of a product manual and tossing it onto a product page won’t separate a site from the competition. That copy contains valuable information for searchers, but unique content for a product page complementing such details will work better.

Link up those related products; these provide a cross-selling opportunity wherever they appear. If a visitor finds Product A isn’t what he really wants, but Product B listed as a related item may be suitable, having a link in place to get people to Product B saves the sale.

The overall approach to gain attention on a crowded Internet means uniqueness and providing a valuable resource for customers in the business’ niche. “It’s not what you do, it’s how you go about doing it,” said deGeyter.

Jennifer Laycock emphasized the “you” factor in marketing the small business. Small business owners need to gain attention for who they are. Community involvement helps with this.

That also helps combat the ever-present difference between small businesses and large ones: available budgets. “It’s not about the budget, it’s about the attitude,” Laycock said.

When it comes to marketing strategy, put aside hope, advised Matt McGee. Find your customers, don’t be afraid to be unconventional or unexpected with the marketing approach.

However, do be aware that crossing the border into spamming will be bad news. Hard sells don’t build audiences, or customers, but participation and establishing authority for yourself and your business does.

McGee suggested sensible participation in communities like Flickr, with its assortment of people and groups whose affections go farther than the pictures they post. Yahoo Answers presents a golden chance for someone to gain a positive reputation as a knowledgeable answerer of questions.

Mailing lists like those available from Google Groups or Yahoo Groups for topics present more avenues to answer questions and build authority. Help someone with an answer they need and they may reciprocate with the business you want.