By Joe Pulizzi published May 1, 2009

15 Steps to Small Business Online Marketing Success

We’ve been working a lot lately on a list of necessary steps to take with your online content. As we compiled the list, it became clear that this would make a very helpful checklist for small- or medium-sized businesses. As you’ll see, not a lot of detail, but a great list to check against.

If you see any additional ones to add to the list or other helpful links, please comment below.

  1. Fresh Web Content. A minimum two times a week, update your site with fresh, relevant content for your customers. An easy-to-use content management system like WordPress will help.
  2. Hire a Journalist. If you don’t have the resources to consistently develop content, hire a journalist or outsource your content to an expert content team.
  3. Install Google Analytics. Many small businesses have a website but aren’t paying attention to who’s coming to the site and how they are getting there. Use analytics information to find out more about your customers and how you can solve their pain points.
  4. Set Up RSS Feeds for Your Content. Google’s Feedburner or Feedblitz will work just fine.
  5. Start a Blog. Starting a blog may be the key to your program. Post at least twice a week and talk about what is going on in your industry. A blog should not be promotional at all. When done right, you will position yourself and your company as a thought leader.
  6. Comment on Blogs. Find the 15 to 20 best blogs that you feel attract your typical customer and post at least once a week.
  7. Site News Section. Develop a news section within your site. Keep it updated each month. For a more robust option, check out HP’s newsroom.
  8. Regular Online News Releases. Plan for at least one “online news release” per month. This could promote the eBook, fresh content, events, new promotions, etc.  As long as it’s valuable, you can promote it. Here is an example.
  9. Develop an Enewsletter. Developing an outbound communications tool is critical to maintain and grow relationships with customers, and will faciliate spreading your content. Be sure your newsletter is “opt-in” (they gave you permission).
  10. The Free Content Giveaway. Create an eBook as a packaged content download for your customers and prospects. If you need your customer information (leads), you may opt to ask for basic information before download. If you want your content to spread and be shared, set it free. Here is a great discussion about “gated” content. Some excellent eBook examples are David Meerman Scott’s “New Rules” and our “Trust” eBook.
  11. Twitter Tips. Instead of creating a Twitter account that is all about you, think of your Twitter account as a channel. Determine what your ideal customer pain points are, and then deliver content through your Twitter channel that they would benefit from. Use Twitterfeed to automate your RSS feeds from your blog or web articles. Use Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter conversation. Here’s a Twitter primer to get you started.
  12. A Facebook movement. Instead of creating a Facebook fan page for your company, create a movement or cause. I thought Shama Hyder did a great job of this with her ACT Blueprint.
  13. Set Up Your Company in LinkedIn and Maximize Your Profile. PR 20/20 has an excellent post that will get your LinkedIn profile into shape.
  14. Pay Attention to Your Google Profile. Here’s a step-by-step to setting up your Google profile.
  15. Listen and Learn. Set up your Google Alerts account to track what customers are saying about you, your brands and the keywords that drive your business. Here’s a quick how-to on Google Alerts.

Just a reminder…these are all tactics to use as part of your content strategy.  Determine your content strategy first, then use these steps to execute that strategy.

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • http://www.cariboucreekloghomes.com Rick Friesen

    EXCELLENT summary! Really appreciate this!

  • http://www.kroegerhealer.com Hanna Kroeger Healer

    These are great tips! I also appreciate your newsletter.
    I especially like #10. The Free Content Giveaway. I think it will bring great attention to my web site, my insights, and abilities!

  • http://www.pr2020.com Lyndsey Walker

    Joe, great tips. These are extremely valuable to a small business owner. Thanks for including PR 20/20!

  • http://deirdrereid.wordpress.com Deirdre Reid

    Such a valuable post for small (or any size!) business owners and managers — bookmarkable!

  • Bob Rosenbaum

    Great stuff Joe. Thanks.
    new site looks good too.

  • http://tv.factor77.com Jared O’Toole

    Commenting on blogs is a great tool! Not only will it bring some traffic to your site but you will hopefully catch the eye of the blogger. Thats how you get stories written about your projects.
    Also what beats doing some marketing but also learning a lot as you read through blog posts!

  • http://www.needcoconutwater.com CoconutWater

    Great article!
    Straight forward and full of detail.

  • http://www.vistasad.com atul chatterjee

    These aren’t steps but a full fledged program!!
    John Chow in his book Make Money Online wrote that if you don’t give a full RSS feed, don’t give it at all.
    Can one send out a newsletter on an irregular basis.

  • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

    Like anything Atul, consistency is the key. Great point. This is not like Ronco’s “set it and forget it.” You have to work this process to be successful.
    Cheers!

  • http://www.jeffpaulproducts.com Jeff Paul Internet Business

    Hi, Great post! I felt great reading your blog post. I’m working with my friend in a small internet marketing business as a web developer. When I’m free I go around for some IT info

  • http://www.indieresults.com/ Local Internet Marketing

    Excellent Post… Nice Tips. I think there is no denying that marketing your business online is a necessity in today’s market and social media networking is more effective way for new small business popularity.

  • seh

    I think the 15 topics you mentioned are perfect. One thing I didn’t notice was anything about video. This section of online marketing seems to be exploding. The obvious site for video uploading is youtube, but I found another site. They’ll give you a free account and help you with a marketing campaign to create traffic. The site is http://www.adwido.com

  • http://www.expertadvertisingsolutions.com/ tristancaleb

    These tips are very useful for me.n general Internet Marketing would include SEO and other tools available online. There are many strategies that we could implement which would help to generate good amount of traffic and also create a presence in the search engines.
    For more information please visit :http://www.expertadvertisingsolutions.com/

  • http://www.jeffpaulproducts.com Jeff Paul Shortcut to internet

    The success for online marketing is dependent on adoptibity of SEO key rules and guideline in order to avial a preferrable web postion .

  • http://www.internet-business-review.com Jeff Paul internet marketing

    These secrets to SEO and Internet Marketing gives clear picture on how to acieve appropiate position on top search engines .

  • http://www.openaccessmarketing.com Outsourcing Tech Support

    An insightful and articulate post! Thank you for your thoughts; you bring up an interesting point. Valuable thoughts and advices. I read your topic with great interest! Really nice post. Very good points. I hope plenty of people see it. -Jaime