I had occasion this past weekend to have an engaging conversation with a student studying internet marketing. He was interviewing me on a different topic as part of a class assignment and showed me one of his textbooks…about internet marketing. That led to our discussion.
At first we talked about various types of online applications that are available to join or be a part of that gets your information out there. Then I asked him to imagine that he was a small business owner, and posed a couple of questions:
*what is your business?
*do you have a coordinated approach to all these internet marketing tools?
It’s one thing to have accounts on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn and quite another to know why you do and what the value is to your business. So I gave this student a simplified outline using just a few internet marketing tools. I used my own small home-based business as example. I utilize just a few online resources, but I link them all and point them all in one direction. I have an answer to the “what is my business” and I do have a coordinated approach.
My recommendations to home-based business owners as to marketing their business using the internet:
- have a presence on Facebook
- have a LinkedIn account
- have a Twitter account
- write a blog about your business
- if appropriate have either (a) a website for your business you’ve designed yourself, or (b) a replicated business website that is provided by the company you represent [this is the case with many direct selling companies – you are an independent contractor, but are prohibited from developing your own website for their products; however for a small fee, you can have a website developed by the parent company that links to and benefits your individual business.]
- write articles and submit to Ezinearticles for instance
Each of these has a value in and of itself. However, if you are utilizing all the above for your business as part of your internet marketing strategy, then I suggest that everything must link back to a “home base.” I’m going to suggest that your home base is either your business website, or your business blog. You have to have somewhere you want people to end up so that they can either:
- get information about your business
- purchase product or services from your business
- communicate with you about your business
As example, if you have a Facebook account, there are a couple of ways you can do this. The profile feature allows you to talk about yourself, give contact information and list websites to visit. For the purpose of your business, have this account be just that: business. Don’t load it up with games and trivia. Make it very easy for someone to see that you have a business and where you can be found on the internet and how you can be contacted.
If you write a blog, there is an application that will put the new title of your latest blog post into the status update of your Facebook account. There is also an application that will put the post in its entirety in the “notes” section of your profile so that people can read it there. You can also link your Twitter updates to your Facebook account. At a glance, someone looking at your Facebook profile could:
- see that you are a business person and have a business
- get a description of your business
- find a website address for your online business presence
- get the latest status update of your business – whether you’ve updated a status via Twitter [for instance just released a new product and you “tweeted” about that] and/or you have a new blog post related to your business
- if you made it available, they could see an email address and/or phone number to contact you
Doing business utilizing internet marketing techniques and tools requires coordination. Know why you would use any application and know where you want the viewer to end up and why…do you want to inform them? Give them access to an online store? Know your business and know your reason. [my mention of the above sites and applications are suggestions only, not meant as endorsements]