An A-to-Z of Small Business Online Marketing, Part 1

I wanted to write a nice, succinct A to Z of online marketing terms. I tried my hardest to whittle the list down to one word per letter. So many letters begged for more than one entry, some of which can’t be overlooked. So I’ve split the list into two parts, this first one covering A to M.

 

Word cloud of A-to-Z online marketing terms
Are you confused by all the types of online marketing?

 

Some of these topics are deserving of their very own blog posts, so I will endeavour to update this one with links to those posts as I create and publish them.

 

In other words, bookmark this post and check back occasionally for updates.

 

A is for ADVERTISING.

 

The word ‘advertising’ goes arm in arm with ‘marketing’, so it’s appropriate to start here. Traditionally, advertising meant choosing which medium matched your budget – print, radio, TV. With Online Marketing the options have expanded and there are more ways to spend your advertising dollar.

This broadened market also includes your competition, so you need to really target advertising to your niche. A good way to experiment and hone your marketing is with AdWords.

 

A is for AdWords

AdWords is Google’s paid search marketing program. It allows you to set keywords and phrases that you want to match to people’s search criteria (and exclude those you don’t want to match) and results in your appearance in the paid listing sections (top and right of a Google search page). When someone clicks on that listing, you pay Google.

 

AdWords gives you plenty of control to manage it and change things at any time, including setting limits on when to run ads and how much you want to spend.

 

A is also for AFFILIATE MARKETING.

 

Affiliate Marketing on the internet allows you to partner with other websites and bloggers to send traffic to your site or sell products on your behalf. Affiliates don’t directly supply the product, they just refer customers to you and earn a commission. You can pay your affiliates a set amount (eg. per registered lead) or a percentage of the sale (eg. if selling products).

 

Affiliation can be setup through sites such as clickbank.com or paydot.com.

 

B is for BLOGGING.

 

Blogging – an abbreviation of “web log” for its original use as an online diary – has become a common business tool. Considered a good way to add fresh content to your website (see C is for Content), regular blogging keeps your visitors happy, Google happy, and you happy (if it’s something you enjoy; otherwise, outsource it!) Blogging can also establish your authority as a thought leader.

 

B is also for BRANDING.

 

Establishing a strong brand is good for business, and online branding is no different. Keep all your marketing in line with your brand – colours, style, personality and key messaging. The aim is to make it recognisable to your customers, no matter where they encounter your brand – in advertising, on social networks, your website, business card, etc.

 

C is for CONTENT.

 

A common phrase these days is “Content is King”. I think it should be qualified, as in “Quality Content is King”. Fresh, useful, thought-provoking content keeps your readers engaged (see E is for Engagement). ‘Content’ includes everything on your website (text, images, video), and also posts on social media.

 

It should be valuable and of interest to your audience, while always staying relevant to your brand (ie. no pictures of cute kittens, unless your business is a petshop).

 

Your content also helps you to sell. The best advice is to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% focused on your visitors (ie. helpful, valuable, interesting) and 20% on sales and promotional content. You can link the two types with a Call to Action.

 

C is for Call to Action.

 

A Call to Action (or CTA) is something that prompts a visitor to take the next step after digesting your helpful, valuable, interesting content. CTAs may be in the form of a link, a highlighted button, or a signup form. It might direct them to “buy”, “call”, “view a demo”, “register” or simply “read more”.

 

Make your CTA stand out with colour, size, and an enticing phrase (such as “Register before July 10 for the special early bird rate”. )

 

C is also for Comments.

 

Comments from visitors to your blog and social media pages can start conversations and create a community (how many more c’s could I jam into that sentence…?) They can turn a static website into a living, interactive one. The main thing is not to ignore them. Answer all comments, even the negative ones (although not with another negative – two wrongs don’t make a right!).

 

D is for DOMAIN NAME.

 

Your choice of domain name (the www address of your website) is an important part of your online presence. Preferably it includes your business name and/or what line of business you’re in. The best ones are easy to remember, not too long, and relatively straight-forward (ie. not mixed with numbers or hyphenated).

 

Read more about choosing a good website domain name.

 

E is for ENGAGEMENT.

 

Engaging with the visitors to your website and your followers on social media is crucial these days. It’s a way of forming an ongoing relationship with existing clients and potential new ones. Create something that people want to be a part of or kept up to date on, so that you’re the first one they think of when they’re ready to buy.

 

E is also for EMAIL MARKETING.

 

Email Marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your customers on a regular basis. A combination of great content and calls to action (both listed under C), with an enticing subject line delivered directly to their inbox (where it can be enjoyed at leisure and even saved as reference), will ensure you stay front-of-mind.

Read more on Email Marketing.

 

F is for FACEBOOK.

 

Facebook is obviously the first of our social media entries. Not only because it comes ahead of the others alphabetically, but because it is currently the biggest and highest-engaging social network in Australia (and most of the world).

 

Facebook encompasses many of the preceding entries – Advertising, Blogging (for links to your blog and sharing capabilities), Content and Comments, plus Engagement.

 

A Facebook business page is almost considered as necessary as a website (although read this if you think you can skip the website and just run off Facebook…)

 

G is for GOOGLE+.

 

Google+ (or Google Plus) is another social network which, although lagging some way behind Facebook in its takeup (seemingly very slow in Australia), is gradually finding its niche. It’s especially gaining in importance for those in the know about Search Engine Optimisation (see S is for SEO in Part 2). Google search seems to favour content that it can connect with a Google+ profile. Start making inroads on Google+ and you may find your website and blog ranking creeps higher up the search results.

 

Sign up and start following a few people that interest you (Richard Branson is a good one), create some circles, and get a feel for it. I think Australian businesses who get in now will be ahead of the curve when the significance of “being on Google+” becomes more widely understood.

 

H is for HTML.

 

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is, whether you’re aware of it or not, what all websites are built on. It’s the programming code used as the base layer of a website and provides the instructions for a web browser (eg. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc) to display web pages. Even when you use a front-end WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, like in WordPress, the text is converted to HTML format.

 

Why does a technical thing like HTML deserve a place in this Online Marketing A-to-Z list? Because if something isn’t in HTML, Google can’t see it. (And whenever I say Google, I mean Bing, Yahoo and all the other search engines.)

 

Something that is often overlooked in this regard is the HTML applied to images. As Google can’t “see” a picture, all it can know is what the surrounding HTML code describes. This includes the name of the image file plus the descriptions and captions associated with it. Make sure you use a good name on any image files you publish, and use relevant keywords in the description, title and caption (see K is for Keywords).

 

I is for IMAGES.

 

Images are such an important part of your online marketing, whether it’s:

 

  • To showcase of your products with clear images, showing different angles, and with zoom capability,
  • Professional photos of you and your team, not fuzzy focus ones,
  • Your portfolio,
  • Screenshots or video stills used for training purposes,
  • Anything else visual on your website (including buttons and icons).

 

Make sure all images are relevant, clear and optimised for the web (see H is for HTML and read more about optimising images).

 

I is also for IT’S THAT EASY! ONLINE MARKETING 3.0.

 

If you’re enjoying this A-to-Z list and want more detail on Online Marketing techniques, may I suggest you go straight to the experts. A new book, released earlier this year in Australia by Ludwina Dautovic, pulls together the collective knowledge of 18 experts.

It’s That Easy! Online Marketing 3.0 has already been winning awards and is a brilliant resource for small businesses who want to learn more about marketing themselves.

 

Read more about this excellent book and purchase a downloadable digital copy. (PS. I’m an affiliate for Ludwina’s book – see A is for Affiliate.)

 

J is for JUST DO IT.

 

“Just Do It” is certainly one of the most successful and best known marketing slogans of all time. It was launched by Nike 25 years ago, this month. Simple. Inspiring. Recognisable. (Not strictly a marketing term, but J is such a difficult letter!)

 

It has stood the test of time as not just a masterpiece of branding, but a slogan that many people use as a life mantra. It’s a good philosophy to adopt for your business and marketing. Make a start (pick a letter of the alphabet!) and Just Do It.

 

K is for KEYWORDS.

 

Keywords, especially “long-tail keywords”, are the building blocks of good SEO (read more about SEO here).  They are the words and phrases that people are most likely to type into a search engine when they want to find the products/services/answers that your business provides.

 

Your HTML and content (see H is for HTML and C is for Content) should contain the specific keywords that create the best match.

 

Don’t go overboard with “keyword stuffing”. Not only does it make the content indigestible to your visitors, but Google has wised up to the practice and may penalise your website’s ranking.

 

L is for LOCALISATION.

 

Whether your business services the world, the nation, or just your neighbourhood, localisation is important in online marketing. People often want to deal with local businesses. They want to know as soon as they see your website if you are willing and able to do business with them. Or perhaps that you speak their local language.

 

Your website should clearly state where you do business. If you’re an online store provide shipping information well before the final checkout stage. If you operate in multiple countries, consider separate domains or subdomains, with localised content and the option to display other languages.

 

Local Business Listings (eg. Google Places, TrueLocal, Yahoo and other online directories) are mostly free to join and can help your website rank higher when someone includes a locality in their search.

 

If you have a bricks’n’mortar shop or eatery, look at location-based marketing to attract customers nearby (especially via mobile – see M is for Mobile).

 

L is also for LINKS.

 

Links to and from other websites are usually good news for SEO (so long as they are quality, relevant links). Internal links within your own site are usually good news for your visitors, keeping them engaged on your site and exploring further (again, time on site is a good measure for SEO).

 

Too many links can be a problem (especially poor quality inbound ones, brought about by dodgy link-spamming techniques used in recent years, which have now been stifled by Google’s recent algorithm changes).

 

  • Keep your outbound links relevant.
  • Aim to draw quality inbound links from credible websites.
  • Consider guest blogging as a way to gain authoritative links.
  • Periodically check that your links aren’t broken.

 

M is for MOBILE.

 

With more and more people accessing the internet from compact, hand-held devices, mobile optimisation is rapidly gaining importance. A better mobile experience can be provided via a website version created specifically for mobile, or with one of the new ‘responsive’ website designs, or even via a specially-built app.

 

Get inside your visitors’ heads and consider what people want from your site when viewing it on a smartphone or other mobile device. If they’re out and about (hopefully not at the driver’s wheel…) and want to find your shop, make sure the address and phone numbers are prominent (even better, that they can click a map, or click to call).

 

Other things to consider for mobile use include:

 

  • QR codes (see Q is for QR codes in Part 2)
  • Fewer images and less wordy text
  • SMS marketing and reminders
  • Location-based marketing opportunities (via third-party apps)

 

So while you’re waiting for Part 2 of this list to come out (covering N-to-Z), go back and read J and jump in to the world of Online Marketing.

 

Author: RobynRHD

I’m a small business web design specialist with interests in social media and other online marketing methods. As my blog intro states: “Steering small businesses in the right direction with what I hope is practical, realistic advice and useful tips, amidst the constantly changing noise and hype. I’d like to help you sort out what you really need and how to go about it.”
I’m a proud Aussie, living in Sydney, and an avid fan of Column 8 in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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