December 22, 2014

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

3 Internet Marketing Tools for Business Owners to Plan and Organise

Recently I published a blog post on my linkymerwe.com blog to share 3 essential internet marketing tools that will help you to plan and organise your online marketing efforts.  I received many comments of appreciation from the readers who have found it to be practical and helpful.

It is aimed at small business owners who have websites, but who are not actively marketing their businesses on the internet and those who are starting out with internet marketing.   These internet marketing tools are invaluable and you will find action steps that you will want to implement immediately.

As a project manager I am really passionate about Planning and Organizing.  This turns out to be a very valuable skill when you are starting out with Internet Marketing.  Here are 3 essential internet marketing tools, to use from the beginning:

1. Marketing Plan

Every business needs a marketing plan, right?   Marketing is one of the essential skills you need to develop (if you’re not a natural or experienced marketer) when you venture into the online world of marketing. To achieve this objective of having a marketing plan that you can refer to regularly for implementation, I have found a great tool.

A ONE-PAGE MARKETING PLAN.

You translate your business plan into this One Page Marketing Plan and stick it on the wall next to your computer. It will remind you of your goals and the monthly tactics that you need to implement to reach your goals. I have been using this for the past 2 years and I recommend it to all my clients.

ACTION: Download the FREE One Page Marketing Plan, follow the simple instructions and create your  Marketing Plan as soon as you can.

2. Tracking Sheet

Starting out with marketing your business on the internet, you need to build a presence on many sites that would generate exposure for you and your business. Similar to buying add space in your local news paper or magazine.

When doing marketing on the internet, you will find yourself registering as a user on many websites and social media platforms. To organise yourself better, you need to create a Tracking Sheet as a reference guide to all the URL’s, user names and passwords that you have to create in the process. You can also group all the websites into categories (website management, social media tools etc).  I have created such a template, that you may download and use for free.

ACTION: Download the FREE Tracking Sheet (Microsoft Excel) and start using it immediately.

3. Password Manager

When you start registering as a user on multiple sites, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of multiple passwords. And if you lose that piece of paper on which you wrote it down, you need to go through the annoying process of resetting your password or waiting for the email with a new password to arrive.

One of the best Password Manager products out there and recommended by many top internet marketers, is Roboform.  RoboForm password manager securely stores online and offline passwords and makes it effortless by automatically saving your usernames and passwords, then completing it the next time you logon.  You will not need to remember another password as long as you have this software.

ACTION: Get the RoboForm software at a price that suits your needs. RoboForm: Learn more...

Today you have learned about 3 essential Internet Marketing tools for planning and organizing your marketing efforts on the internet.

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Small Business and Social Media Adoption

Social Media adoption by U.S. small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.  If you are a small business owner or service professional this is a must read. These are the results from a study that was done by University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business by conducting a telephone survey of 500 small business owners in December 2009.

How Small Business is using Social Media

Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles.

Small business owner, Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO and founder of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, was forced to consider alternative options to keep his business visible during the tough economic conditions last year.

He said: “With a very small investment in social media marketing, I was able to generate new business opportunities. Our Google® ranking is consistently number one for many of the phrases people use to search for eye doctors in and around my city and our new visitors to the site have increased. My blog has been picked up by different news sources and led to media interviews. I am now recognized as a thought leader in social networking within my profession and lastly but most importantly, my marketing budget has been reduced by more than 80%.”

Social Media popular sites

Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular social media sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

Another interesting notion is that small business owners now believe social media can help them on the lead generation front, and that is the primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels. So while half of surveyed respondents found the time it takes to use social media sites more daunting than expected, 61% are still putting in the hours and making active efforts to identify new customers.

Clearly social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses. While we expect more small businesses to use Twitter as a customer service channel in the year ahead, as it stands, Facebook and LinkedIn have become the predominant platforms for small business owners.

Social Media sources and usage

As the graphic below details, the small business owners who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75%) and status updates (69%) on Facebook or LinkedIn. What’s especially intriguing is that a much smaller percentage of respondents — just 16% — are using Twitter.

social media sources

Conclusion

Social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses.  Small business owners mainly use social media to identify and attract new customers. As validated by this Small Business Success Index, social media can be the best friend for small business owners who constantly seek new ways to maximize productivity while keeping costs low.

If you are a small business owner interested in finding out how your business can start using social media marketing, use our Social Media Starter Project kit to become social media active and to maintain your online presence for return on investment within a few months.

About Robert H. Smith School of Business:

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research.  A detailed copy of the report can be found at www.growsmartbusiness.com