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10 Channels for Small Businesses Online Marketing This Year

Everyone writes and blogs about trends and predictions for the coming year, so we’ll join the crowd. John Arnold wrote about ten online marketing trends on years back. We’d like to list them here and debate whether or not we agree with his assessment to “test, invest or rest” the tactics in the modern era of marketing. Many we agree on but there are a few we disagree with so here’s our small business marketing advice for 2018.

Search Engine Optimization: SEO is useful because it’s all based on specially placed keywords that help your blog or Web site rank in Google and other search engines. People and businesses are going to continue flocking to Google to find everything that’s on their minds. But small businesses are still fuzzy on what makes a good keyword and how to use it to rank higher in searches. Add in the importance of long-tail keywords and you’ve got a situation ripe with confusion. Despite all of this, SEO is going to continue to be one of the biggest drivers of online marketing success for small business – and many know it. Plus, there are lots of places on the Web to help small business learn how to do SEO successfully (ahem, you’re at one of those places).

Paid Search: Also known as Pay Per Click (PPC), paid search is the sister of SEO. You still rely on specially selected keywords to drive traffic to your site, but instead of natural placement in Google, you’re competing for the paid placements and ads on the Google pages. PPC works but only if you’re spot on with your keyword selection. Although the prices will continue to come down, those little costs can certainly add up if you’re not on target with your keywords. Because there’s an investment where we’re not as bullish as John, but we still feel you should test it out.

Email Marketing: This is one area we both agree on. Email marketing is a great way for a small business to reach out to customers, existing and new ones, because of two primary reasons: 1) most people still prefer email as their number one source of information, and 2) it’s a relatively inexpensive way to do marketing. These two reasons, coupled with the big opportunities in newsletters for even stronger conversions, make us very high on this tactic in 2018.

Social Marketing: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and a host of other social networking tools came on strong since 2009, especially for small business. Every time I went to a small business in the last six months the owner not only told me he/she was highly interested in social marketing, but many of them were already using one or two tools. Look for social marketing to be even bigger in 2018 for small business because of it’s very inexpensive cost for marketing as well as it’s strength in local marketing focus.

Blogging: More small businesses now have blogs either to complement their existing Web site or actually to replace their Web site. Small business online marketing advice says either one can be an effective strategy, even for events promotions. But John makes a good point in saying blogging to drive traffic is different than blogging to drive sales. Using a blog to drive traffic is still a good idea. But even we’re not sold on the notion that you can set up a blog and all of a sudden turn your blog into a cash register. Add in the fact that a blog is most successful when it’s a community and you may want to consider putting on the brakes if you want your blog to be a sales machine.

Web Presence: This one is a bit interesting since it may not be what you think. Yes, having a Web presence is an important fact. John’s not debating this, nor will we. Where you place emphasis on your Web presence is the discussion here. In 2018, small business will have to change its way of thinking in that it’s all about getting traffic to your Web presence. Rather it’s more important now to place your Web presence where the traffic is. Do paid search on others’ Web sites or even places like, for example. If you know lots of eyeballs will be on other Web sites, you’ll want to consider placing your Web presence there as well.

Mobile Marketing: An interesting marketing platform that will get more looks in 2018 is mobile marketing. Some companies now have the technology to beam messages to your cell phone from wherever you may be headed. For example, if you are walking through the doors of a Best Buy, imagine if you all of a sudden get a text message on your phone that includes a Best Buy coupon. “Small business can take advantage of this kind of technology as well. It deserves more look, though, adding to responsive web design” says, web design Leeds team, Harrison Mann.

Podcasting: Ask yourself if you can name five podcasts or Internet-based radio shows/stations? If you failed to do so you’re probably in the majority. We like blog talk radio and we also like podcasting. But is it something you’ll want to focus heavily on for marketing as a small business this year? Probably not. Podcasting is a technology that has struggled to get on its feet and will most likely continue to struggle in 2018, and it doesn’t help that many small businesses are often intimidated about doing their own podcast. It may still be in its infancy with a bright future, but just not right now. There are some really fantastic shows on blog talk radio and you should put on your PR hat to take advantage of these.

Online Video: Not only are videos fun and easy to watch but with YouTube also a part of Google, videos are very searchable with keywords and tags. Small businesses should definitely be running to purchase video cameras like the Flip to easily produce videos they can post online. 2018 will be a big year for videos and online marketing.

Coupons: The use of tools like social media marketing and mobile marketing will make coupon offerings pretty innovative, intuitive and exciting for small business. Technology even makes it easy to utilize coupon marketing for local audiences, too. Even some “older” marketing tools like landing pages, which have proven their worth in providing great ROI for incentives like coupons, will continue in 2018. We’re bullish.

What are some of your marketing predictions for small business this year? We’d love for you to chime in here.

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15 Indispensable Websites for Business Owners


As a business owner, you learn new things constantly. From customer management to product development, funding, and marketing, every experience offers an opportunity to learn. However, that doesn’t mean you should just leave things up to chance and let experience teach you how to manage your company. You need to go out of your way to brush up on your knowledge – whether that means learning how to start a small business or expanding a company that’s been in your family for decades.

Fortunately, you don’t need to make major changes in your schedule or budget to be well-educated in business. You just need the right resources so you can increase your knowledge and study on your own pace.

Here are 15 indispensable websites for business owners to help you out:


1. Forbes Entrepreneurs

The leading resource for news and updates about the business world, Forbes Entrepreneurs offers a wide array of helpful materials. From real-time industry news to analyses, commentary, and inspiring stories, Forbes helps entrepreneurs get in the loop of the business world.

2. Onevest

Onevest is a gift to both investor and startup entrepreneurs. Providing crowdfunding services from accredited sources, it is a trustworthy site that helps entrepreneurs put their innovative ideas into reality. If you are looking to invest, the company promises to help you build your portfolio without management and transaction fees or carried interest rates.

3. 20Four7va

Do you need an administrative virtual assistant (VA)? Are you looking for a social media VA to manage your social profiles? The 20Four7VA outsourcing company is a credible source for whatever virtual assistance service you need. From website development to content writing, 20Four7VA offers a variety of online services that are indispensable in today’s business world.

4. Mixergy

It’s normal to have moments of doubt every now and then. When you do, just make sure to get counsel from credible mentors. Mixergy will provide you with this service through online courses and interviews. The classes offered by this virtual business school range from buying ads to practical strategies that successful entrepreneurs applied in expanding their companies.

5. Google for Entrepreneurs

It comes as no surprise that the biggest search engine company is a big supporter of innovation. Google for Entrepreneurs is a testament to that. It is a community dispersed in 125 countries all over the world that continues to grow. Google for entrepreneurs supports start-up businesses by providing financial aid, workspaces, and virtual products.

6. Women on Business

Recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Websites for Women, Women for Business empowers women to reach their potential whether in business or their chosen career path. The company provides educational resources as well as profile-raising opportunities.

7. Under 30 CEO

Under 30 CEO is evidence that pursuing a life of entrepreneurship is a great adventure. Created by world-traveling founders, Under 30 CEO helps people live the life of their dreams by offering proven business strategies and virtual courses.

8. 4 Hour Work Week

Many entrepreneurs struggle with time management at the early stage of business. From escaping the 9-5 grind, they now put in more hours into grueling work to build their company. The 4 Hour Work Week was created to help business owners be more productive without expending long hours. It provides helpful apps and tactics designed to increase every entrepreneur’s productivity.

9. Entrepreneurs Journey

A powerful resource for people who want to learn how to make money online, Entrepreneurs Journey provides digital tools and proven sales techniques for online business. From email courses to podcasts and videos, the platforms for learning are as diverse as the business ideas shared in the site.

10. BuyerZone

BuyerZone has been helping business owners make intelligent purchase decisions – whether they are on the buying or selling end. Whether you are looking to buy or sell computer equipment, point of sale (POS) systems, or storage containers, BuyerZone will do the work for you so you can make smarter purchasing and selling decisions.

11. BPlans

Many aspiring entrepreneurs feel stuck on how to grow their promising business ideas. Bplans is created to help them get from point A to point B. Providing powerful tools for business planning, sales pitching, funding, and company management, Bplans has over 500 business models to help entrepreneurs kickstart their ideas.

12. CreativeLive

Creativity fuels business people to turn their ideas into money-spinners. Boasting of more than 10 million students, CreativeLive provides thousands of classes covering Art and Design, Photography, Craft, and Finance. The educational materials are taught by experts and can be accessed through on-air broadcasts, videos, and articles.

13. Score

Aiming to help small business owners kickstart their companies, Score has been providing mentoring and business services for over 50 years. The company covers 62 industries with volunteer mentors and free business tools.

14. Startup Digest

Another treasure of novice entrepreneurs, Startup Digest helps budding business people get their companies off the ground. Aside from providing practical business ideas through tailored reading lists, the company also links people to relevant resources in their local area through events.

15. eCorner

it doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or a veteran in business – you need to continuously educate yourself about the industry. eCorner can provide a wide range of educational materials from leadership to product development and innovation. You can enjoy all these learnings through videos, articles, and podcasts.

These 15 indispensable websites for business owners will help you grow your company to its full potential.



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Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at|