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Everyday I work with companies, helping them achieve their business goals through their website. Nothing excites me more than working with a client who is eager to try new things and take chances on new mediums to promote their product or service. These clients are the clients that give me huge job satisfaction. Why? Generally because these clients are the most successful and rejoice in finding out what makes web users tick. Unfortunately those clients are far and few between.

In most cases, Irish businesses fall into three categories and they are those that :

  1. Don’t really have the will/time to do what is required
  2. Don’t believe they have the budget
  3. Already know it all and just want someone to do what they are told

So in this post I’m going to give you the top 7 ways to market your business online.

  1. Simple & Effective Website
    In today’s economic climate, people are constantly looking for the cheapest option available to them. That is all well and good when you are looking for a car that is going to lose it’s value the minute you leave the forecourt. But when you are investing in something that should be achieving a return on your investment for you business, you should be willing to spend money to get it done right.

    So many businesses provide web design services nowadays, but who should you trust to get the best from their website?
    For me the answer is simple, the ones with the most experience in diverse markets and of course they tend to be web design companies. Why would I want a computer hardware specialist to create my website or a student just out of college? How much experience have they got in actually achieving a return with a website? Possibly next to none.

    Take those “cheap and nasty web designers” that start from as little as €300 as an example. What do you get?
    A web presence, some visits from Google maybe, but are you really getting the best return possible from your website? Very unlikely.

    The bottom line is – if you want something done right, go to the experts. The experts will advice you as how best to spend your budget to get a return.

  2. Hire a SEO / SEM Expert
    Getting the website created is only one stage of the process. Once the site is created, you need to get it out there. There are hundreds of really good online marketing experts out there to help you get your site noticed.

    Some people try to do a lot themselves, like those clients that think they know it all, but fail to recognise that this stuff is constantly changing and what someone posted on a forum 2 years can mean very little today. You need someone with their finger on the pulse, someone who works in this business everyday. This is the only way you will get true results.

  3. Blogging
    This will obviously suit some businesses and not others. But blogging is a great way to get your message across to potential customers by showing how knowledgeable you are of your area of expertise.

    Blogging can be time consuming if you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m sure everyone in business has had to give some sort of presentation or free information to potential clients at some stage. So you can re-use this content on your blog and provide valuable free information to your customers.

    Not only are you providing valuable information, but you have now opened yourself up to communicating to your clients in ways that you haven’t before. Not to mention how much the search engines love indexing blog content.

  4. Email Marketing
    This is such a broad area, so I won’t cover everything in this area.

    It’s an area that needs a lot of thought. Don’t just bombard potential customers with emails, be strategic, think it through thoroughly and it can be a huge benefit to your business.

    Research all possible options available to your company, such as buying lists, being included on existing mailing lists or even building your own.

  5. Socialise
    This will be one of the biggest ways to promote your business in the future. It is already happening, but when more companies catch on to this medium, it will be even bigger. Instead of having to attend your early morning BNI meetings, you can now network from the comfort of your sofa, bed or wherever tickles your fancy.

    There are so many social networking mediums now that there is no excuse to be a part of at least one. However, I would suggest being part of as many as possible. To get started look at LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, IGOPeople – now, no more excuses.

  6. YouTube
    Seems gimicky right? Well not really, take a look at the recent Cadburys commercial (no not the gorilla one) – just launched and already 666,000 visits to the official one on YouTube. And there are many more lower budget examples that you can find on YouTube that may be similar to your business area.
  7. Broadcasting / Podcasting
    Although two different things, I would put them in the same category.

    There are a few sites now that allow you to broadcast live to the web. Users viewing your channel will be able to interact with you via an online chat-room. Ustream.tv and Justin.tv are two sites that allow you to do this for free.You can of course record this session and then include it in your podcast!

There are of course many more things you can do to promote your business online. The above is just a fraction of what you can do. So what are you waiting for – do it!

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