In this article, I’m going to provide some simple small business online marketing tips.

Let’s say you’re the owner of a small “brick and mortar” business (such as a retail store or a professional practice) and you want to get started marketing online. What’s the best way to get started?

Where there are a lot of options.  You can use social media, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and on and on.

Your Two Best Choices: SEO and PPC

The two methods that we recommend are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. They have their pros and cons.

With search engine optimization, you’re building an asset.  SEO is a long-term investment and it’s something that you want to start investing in right away.  On the other hand, pay per click advertising is very fast to get started but you’re not building an asset.  The minute you stop paying for clicks, you stop getting traffic.

Which Should You Start With? (Trick Question)

If you have the resources, we recommend starting with both from the outset. Lay the groundwork with SEO but immediately start testing with pay per click advertising as well.

We recommend this combined approach because it typically takes months to start generating real traffic from search engine optimization. In the meantime we suggest you start getting clicks with PPC. PPC is the fastest way to test a lot of different keywords.  As  you’re getting clicks from PPC, you can see which keywords are actually turning into phone calls and inquiries via your website contact forms.

(We use phone call tracking to track which keywords turn into phone calls and we use website analytics to see which keywords turn into inquiries via your website contact forms.)

As a result, you’ll actually know which keywords are most valuable to be optimizing for the long term with search engine optimization.  The alternative is that you might invest months or years into SEO only to rank for keywords words that don’t really provide sales — and that can be a huge waste of time and resources.

The Big Exception

So, we’re generally recommending you start with both SEO and PPC at the same time.

The exception is if you’re in a market where the cost per click for PPC advertising is prohibitively high, such as in the attorney market.

In those instances, we generally recommend just starting with SEO. Otherwise you can spend so much money with pay per click (at $10, $20 or even $50 per click) that you could spend thousands of dollars in a very short period of time, and it may be difficult to achieve any sort of reasonable return on investment from that ad spend. In our view, it’s better to start laying the ground work with search engine optimization before investing in PPC.

That said, if you’re an attorney with a significant advertising budget, and if you’re willing to spend thousands of even tens of thousands of dollars in ads every month, then we would recommend starting both with SEO and PPC.

Advanced Tip

If you want to get the most out of your SEO and PPC campaigns, you should layer in email marketing. Offer a free report in exchange for name and email address when people visit your website. This is very effective because most people aren’t ready to contact you and buy your products and services right away. By offering some free information and collecting website visitors’ contact information, you can follow up via email marketing (with eye-catching subject lines), add value, and stay top-of-mind when they’re ready to take the next step.

Need Help?

If you’d like a free consultation, contact us and we’ll find a time to speak with you about your business.

Want to Do It Yourself?

Many people would prefer to manage their own internet marketing in-house. That’s why we created a do-it-yourself local search engine optimization (SEO) course, called The Local SEO Formula.