Today we are going to get a chance to interview @alexmcarthur. Alex currently runs his own small Utah SEO firm: MidScape, and leads online efforts for a top health and wellness brand. He was previously VP of R&D at SEO.com, VP of Search at Orangesoda and VP of Marketing for Tech Media Network, which includes Space.com and one of the biggest review sites online: TopTenReviews.com.
We had a chance to catch up with Alex to see what the word on the street is for a small business these days. In the best interest of respecting his time, we wanted to keep it brief but sweet. Hopefully this Q&A can be a cheat sheet for marketing your small business online.
1) How how did you get your start in marketing?
My first college classes were actually in computer science, while my minor was communications. It quickly became clear to me that I wanted to do something with a little of both. There weren’t many job descriptions geared towards online marketing at the time, but I wanted to be involved in the web.
2) What are the first three things you would do to promote your website online?
a) Provide clear call(s) to action. Far too many SMB websites ramble about whatever the owner is interested in. Your website can provide all kinds of great content and features, but if it doesn’t easily tell them what you’re selling and how to buy it then it isn’t serving it’s purpose.
b) Ensure sound website architecture and markup so the almighty Google drives traffic. Basically, you need to get traffic from search engine optimization, paid advertising and learn how to understand your website visitors with analytics.
c) Create a relevant, ongoing content marketing campaign. If you can create compelling content and share it through social media, local/community websites, etc you can build a very powerful, cost effective marketing channel.
3) What setback have you experienced that you learned from the most?
Take whatever time necessary to educate all stakeholders that still don’t understand the web and it’s users. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up when a business partner doesn’t see the value in all of the different aspects of online marketing for a small business. All of those little things add up online just like they do with any other part of your business.
4) What is the most important business advice you could give an SMB starting out in 2012?
Too many small businesses rely on a friend or family member to handle online marketing for them. I don’t think I can recall an instance where this worked out for the SMB owner (although a lot of neighbors and cousins show up the following week with a sweet new ipod). SMB online marketing has become much more affordable in the last few years. Because content marketing is so important, it is becoming increasingly important to possess a level of subject matter expertise to get the results to sustain a business.”
We believe Alex’s assessment of these principles of marketing on the web to be factual. Content, site structure, and working with real professionals are the best ways to get the desired results from your marketing and viability as a business.
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