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American Marketing Association - Cleveland Chapter. The premier association for marketers in Northeast Ohio.

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As part of our effort to keep you up-to-date on the latest marketing trends, we've gathered insights from thought leaders in Cleveland and across the nation on the Cleveland AMA blog.

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5 Tips for Growing Your Business Online

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Did you know that 97% of consumers search for local products and services on a search engine like Google? Sadly, 45% of businesses don’t even have a website yet! In today’s competitive environment filled with technological advancements it is vital to be wherever your customers may be looking for you, and talking about you. So here are 5 Starter Tips for Growing Your Business Online:

1. Keyword research: By using Google’s Keyword Planning tool you can unlock invaluable information that will help grow your business online. You can do keyword research to see what people are searching for to find your product or service. You can also find out the frequency of these searches and what months have the highest search. After doing this research you should be able to capitalize off of these searches by correctly rewording your website and online channels, creating blog headlines, URLs, and so on. This will help SEO. You can also use this to big on keyword’s through Google Adwords.

2. Pay Per Click:That brings us to our second point, PPC (pay per click) advertising. This form of advertising is appealing to advertisers because they only pay if the ad is clicked on. This can be a very effective and inexpensive tool to grow your business online. It can also be ineffective and costly, which is why keyword research is so vital. Now you can do PPC advertising in various search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and on social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and many more.

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3. Social Media: Social media networks are free and can be a great asset to your organization. Social media is especially good for client engagement and reputation management, but it can also be an effective tool to increase revenue. Nowadays there are plenty of social media networks and it’s up to marketers to know where their customers are or could be. You can do conversation tracking to find out what people are saying about you or your products or services. You can also find leads. But make sure you use social media to have fun and engage your fans, don’t be too “in your face” sales-driven. Get creative and have fun.

4. Website:This is probably the most important part, your website. Be sure to have an engaging, simple, and clean website. If you don’t have one yet, get one ASAP, it is 2014! Your website should be full of engaging information and content that your clients can get good use out of. Make sure you have appropriate “call to action,” engaging images and headlines, easy to read fonts and colors, and so on. Make sure your website has correct and appropriate titles and metadata descriptions. This will help search engines like Google properly index your website. Make sure you’re taking emails and engaging them with email marketing to keep them up to date with your products and services. Also, make sure you’re blogging regularly. This will help drive traffic to your website in subtle ways. Blog about engaging topics that may interest prospects and share your blogs via social media networks.

5. GoogleProducts:If you aren’t already doing so, you need to take full advantage of Google products like Google Local, Google Plus, and YouTube. They are all free and can really help drive business your way online. Complete your profiles as accurately as you can on all three of these networks. By using Google products, you are enhancing your SEO as well. An effective Google Local profile will help people find you in search engines and on Google Maps. Google Plus is a great social media network that can also help people find your business online. Finally, YouTube is great for publishing videos that may help prospects find your or learn more about your organization, products, or services. Make fun, engaging, and informative videos on YouTube to not only help people find you online, but also to stand out among your competitors.

Endrit Kosta is an entrepreneur, consultant and marketing guru. He founded a digital marketing and branding company called "Market Me Management" that helps small businesses control their image and generate revenue online, and "EventsInCLE.com," an online philanthropic effort to promote tourism and create economic benefit for the city of Cleveland.