Basic Web Marketing for SMBs
If you start a new business in 2007 you most likely are planning to have a website for that business, and if you have a small or medium business (SMB) already, you either have a website or should have one.
Although a few small businesses may start up in 2007 without a website, the time and money it takes to establish at least a minimal presence on the web is well worth it. There are likely a higher percentage of SMBs started pre-2007 without a website than are for SMBs started during 2007, but even an established business would do well to consider launching a website or improving their web marketing in 2007.
Although you can find all the info you need online about effective web marketing, the overwhelming volume of web marketing information, both high quality and poor quality, will make most people's eyes glaze over. One approach to the problem is to start small and improve it as you have time. If you determine a website is critical or highly useful for your business, you'll probably need to spend money to pay a professional website designer. Building an effective website will help your business expand at the rate you've planned.
Because web marketing is becoming a useful and almost necessary tool for all SMBs, a 'user group' for Web Search, Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (WSMS) was started last fall in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area. The WSMS group meets about once per month, and the meeting dates can be found at http://wsms.wikispaces.com, with the next meeting scheduled for 01 May 2007. The meetings are intended for the person at an SMB who is responsible for managing or actually doing the company's web marketing. Meetings are free, open to the public and informal. The goal is to share and learn about web marketing for SMBs.
The WSMS wiki mentioned in the previous paragraph is being developed by members of the group to gather and refine knowledge about effective web marketing for your business. Over the next year the WSMS wiki should develop into a good guide for both the basics of SMB websites and for advanced web marketing and search engine optimizations (SEO) tips. The wiki also has tips for getting your website listed in local search engines.
If you don't yet have a website but would like a free one, come to the next WSMS meeting. Lisa Z will be talking about how she put together a free website for her band using the tools from Microsoft at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/officelive/default.aspx.
If you're an SMB owner, make sure you're taking advantage of the marketing impact of company websites. And if you don't have a website, or don't feel the one you have is effective, come to the WSMS meeting in Green Bay on 01 May 2007. We look forward to meeting you!