I get this a lot in networking groups – what are the “basics” I should be doing for my business? It’s a tricky question because, as we know from the blaring media, there are hundreds of online marketing tactics you could be doing. Which ones you choose to focus on depends upon where your customers are and how they prefer to get their information. Here is a starting list.

1) Have a Newsletter. Every business that wants regular communication with its customer base should have a newsletter. Your newsletter mailing list is your mailing list. It belongs to you. Whether it contains loyal clients, prospective customers, or folks who are just slightly interested in your business, an extensive mailing list is as good as gold. If Google, Facebook and Twitter all broke tomorrow (which they won’t, of course) your mailing list would be intact and you could still talk to your customers.

2) Know Your SEO. How is your page ranking in comparison to your competition? Where is your website traffic coming from? Who visits your site, how often, and why? What do visitors read the most on your website? What is your top selling product? It is essential to have Google Analytics, or another similar analytics tool, as you do your online marketing so that you can track which marketing tactics are successful and which aren’t working.

3) Be Social. Social media allows you to connect and relate to customers, to reinforce your brand, to learn about your target market, to promote your business, to improve your SEO, and more. Determine where your customers are, establish a presence there, and keep it up.

4) Author a Blog. Everyone and their cat has a blog. (This is true. I once came across a cat community website where owners set up pages for their cats and give blog updates from the pets. Really.) But, there is a reason they are so popular. In fact, several reasons. A well-written and frequently updated blog will educate your customers on your product, provide information about industry trends, establish your business as a thought leader, and give you content to feed into your newsletter, social media updates and other marketing tools.

5) Set Goals to Monitor. Every business has goals that they want to accomplish with their marketing. Are you trying to create awareness of your business and brand? Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website? Are you trying to set up a way bring qualified lead to your mailing list? Decide what you are looking to achieve and then set up your schedule to monitor your progress.

The holidays are right around the corner. As we all know there are more people online during the pre-holiday season. By doing the basics listed above you can make sure your business is ready for them.

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