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Hello? Is This Thing On? Talking To Your Customers Online

Aug 18, 2007
If you're a small business owner and, trying everything, have had little success building website traffic, it may be because you haven't yet learned how to speak to potential customers. Maybe you have a sense of the potential marketing power of solid, original Web content, and maybe you've added a blog to your website, which you update regularly -- but this isn't quite enough.

To simply start a blog is like trying to light Manhattan during a power outage with nothing more than a book of matches. Your blog only illuminates your small corner of the Internet, and it's useful only to customers who already know their way to you.

To attract new customers, you must find out where they gather online, and you must light up their gathering places with your solid, informative content. Again, you can't wait for them to come to you; you have to go out and knock on their doors.

You have the ability to create great content, as you've probably already shown if you have a blog. Yet you probably don't have the time to scour the Internet for every Web publication relating to your field, and then to manually submit your articles to each and every one of these publishers. That's why there are services that can do this for you.

Article marketing is a growing field that is tailor-made for small businesses like yours. Through article marketing, a small business can earn the trust and respect of thousands of new customers, while also moving itself higher in search engine results.

The first step is to continue doing what you already do, but to do it even more. Each day, set aside some time to write your articles. During this time, minimize distractions, and think hard about how to say what you want to say as clearly as possible.

Avoid using your advertising voice. These articles should be completely genuine in their intentions to educate and inform. Teach your readers something they need to know. Remember, your articles will be distributed to publications in your field, which means you have a pre-existing market in which your readers will have at least a basic knowledge of the issues you'll be writing about. So make sure you're providing a new perspective on something.

If you run out of ideas, read the content on some of the sites where your articles will fit. Do you see anything that you disagree with? Is an aspect of your field being misrepresented? Is something being omitted entirely? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you clearly have things to write about.

After you have some articles, sign up for an online article marketing service. If you find a good service, the people you'll be working with will carefully apply their expertise to your content, helping you to revise it to perfection. Then, they'll provide you with a choice of categories in which to place your articles. When you get to this step, choose carefully. How you categorize your articles determines which publishers will have access to them.

Also, use care when writing your incredibly important "About the Author" box. This is where interested readers will learn more about you and, more importantly, find a link to your website. At this point, you've already impressed readers with your knowledge; now, invite them to take the final step, to your website.

If you take my advice, you'll soon be speaking not only to your long-time, loyal customers, but also to thousands of future customers.

But there's one more important point in favor of article marketing as an online marketing strategy. Have you ever used keywords to try to find your website in a Google search? If so, were your larger competitors placed far higher in the search results than you were? This, technology experts will tell you, is because your site simply isn't linked as many times as your competitors' sites. By generating more links, and thus more clicks to your site, you'll begin to climb the search engine ladder.
About the Author
Nancy Amada helps small businesses become more successful, and offers more ideas at Chapter Two. She is a frequent contributor to Article Marketer, a highly popular article distribution service. Reach new customers the smart way!
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