By Kristin Slice, Three Dog Marketing

According to Merchant Circle, 51% of local merchants receive at least one online marketing sales call each week, with 10 percent called on almost a daily basis. Small business owners are barraged by sales people pushing online marketing. All of this sales pressure can be confusing and just adds to the high anxiety levels of business owners trying to improve sales. These four guiding principles will help you navigate your options:

1.    You should have a solid Internet presence so you can be found when people are looking for you but online marketing is not for everyone! Small business owners have limited resources which means they cannot use every tool. Use the best tools for your business and your marketing strategy. It might be better to invest your dollars in more face-to-face marketing, targeted direct mail campaigns or event marketing.  Ask yourself the critical question: Does your target audience look for your services online? Second, do you have the resources to compete for those leads? In large markets (like Phoenix) it may cost a lot to be competitive.

2.    Your business needs a solid, functioning website before you can maximize online advertising. Whether it is pay-per-click on Google or Facebook or banner ads, if people find your business online, the first thing they will do is visit your website. Make sure that you have installed an analytical program that that shows your website’s effectiveness. Meaning – those searching are taking appropriate action (calling you, placing an order, requesting more information).

3.    Online marketing falls on a spectrum. If you just want to be found and have a basic presence, with a little bit of elbow grease you can accomplish a lot. Cut down on costs by doing what you can first. (Three Dog Marketing has a helpful guide.) You know your business and goals. Make sure that your online marketing efforts fall in line with your overall business strategy. Not everyone needs to be ranked first on Google.

4.    One of the benefits of online marketing is that ROI and analytical data is easy to collect. The down side is that most of us have to rely on experts selling us the product to interpret the data. If you are going to invest in online marketing you don’t need to know the mechanics of how data is posted.  You just need to understand the analytics and review on a regular basis.

Online marketing is an ocean of possibilities. You don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer, but you do need to know enough to ensure that your business does not drown.

To learn more about Kristin and her company, Three Dog Marketing,        CLICK HERE!

What Small Business Owners Need to Know about Online Marketing.