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Which Internet Marketing Chores Have You Been Putting Off?

Most of us, if we're being honest, have a list somewhere in our home or office that basically amounts to a catalog of unfinished projects and unfulfilled expectations. Whether it's cleaning out the garage or losing an extra five pounds, a lot of us have unchecked items on our "to-do" reminders that always seem important enough to write down, but never quite critical enough to actually devote time and energy to.

Not surprisingly, we see the same kind of thing in the world of business web design and Internet marketing all the time. There are a number of small jobs that clients tend to put off taking care of, or don't bother sending our way. The difference here, though, is that failing to attend to them can actually create some long-term difficulties when it comes to attracting online buyers, keeping up search engine optimization, etc.

With that in mind, here are a handful of Internet marketing "chores" that you should make sure you're taking care of right away:

Getting rid of broken links and erroneous pages. Not only do broken links lead customers to dead ends in your business website, but they do harm to your Google search engine rankings. Now is the perfect time to prune them, and to get rid of any missing or out-of-date information on your web pages at the same time.

Finally putting your blog back on track. Most companies start their blogs with high hopes, but abandon them once they realize how much time and trouble it takes to keep generating new content. Few things are better for tracking search engine visitors than producing new blog posts, though, so it's time to get your content plan back on track.

Filling in your social media profiles. If you have incomplete profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, now is the time to put a bit of energy into each one. That's particularly true for Google+, which is largely ignored by businesses despite its extraordinary potential.

Uploading a new marketing video to YouTube. Besides being owned by Google and considered "the world's second-largest search engine," YouTube shows billions of videos a day and is a great way to introduce yourself to new potential customers. Isn't it time you uploaded a clip that shows off your products or expertise?

We won't lie: We could probably go on and add a dozen other items, but then most of you might not ever start on your list, much less finish it. So, why don't we get together this month and see what we can do to get your Internet marketing plan in order?

How Small E-commerce Retailers Can Take On Big Competitors

 With giant online retailers like Amazon, Zappos, and even eBay constantly expanding their reach, it can seem like there’s no room for smaller e-commerce sites to grow and thrive. But, having a few really big fish in your pond doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be profitable… or that you can’t actually outsell them.

While it’s true your business might not have the resources they do, or the established customer base, you’re probably going to enjoy one advantage that the others can’t – you can focus on one market or industry while they have hundreds (or thousands) to stay on top of. In other words, you can dominate your niche without having to worry about competing with everyone else. You don’t have to beat them at everything, just the game you choose.

Leveraging that advantage takes a bit of strategy and an adjustment to your mindset, but it can be done. In fact, there are lots of small e-commerce retailers out there who are competing, and winning, against much bigger competitors every day. Here’s what you can do to follow their example:

Don’t try to outspend another business when you can’t. Simply pushing up bid prices on pay-per-click ads, for example, isn’t likely to work over the long term. All you’ll do is create a bidding war that you’re almost bound to lose. Think about spending better, not bigger.

Consider pricing very carefully. The same goes for lowering prices. If you’re going up against a major chain and trying to underbid them, where do you think that’s going to lead in the long term? There’s a reason these companies can sell products for insane prices during a Black Friday sales push – they have the extra cash to burn if it means winning a customer. 

Find ways to add value for customers. When customers visit your big competitors’ websites, they’re probably going to find low prices mixed with generic product information. One way you can set yourself apart is by giving “value-added” services. These could include customer reviews, videos, product comparisons, and other types of content that buyers won’t find elsewhere. These can be worth more than you might think in a customer’s mind.

Practice viral marketing. For as popular as the biggest businesses might be, buyers don’t usually have much loyalty to them. They’ll take their business elsewhere if they can find a lower price or a better deal. Smaller companies, on the other hand, can use a little more personality in their marketing, developing fervent fans and followers every day. Often, these men and women will “root for” a smaller competitor and keep buying from them even if it costs a little more.

Don’t merely accept it as a given that you can’t compete with the Goliath in your market. You might be surprised at what you can do to draw customers in, and keep them coming back, to your e-commerce site if you just give them a good enough reason.