I talk to a lot of small business owners who are trying to figure out the world of internet marketing. The days of buying a yellow pages ad or even some newspaper ads have been complicated by the many channels that are now available online. And not only are they complicated strategies in many cases, but they are also changing all the time. It’s very likely this very blog post will be outdated a year from now. Ughhhh.

So for now, here are five internet marketing tips that should at least point you in the right direction.

ONE: Stay current on internet marketing trends.

That means paying attention to what’s going on in this industry. Follow blogs and thought leaders and read what they have to say about social media and other marketing strategies. You don’t have to understand everything or actually become an expert, but at the very least listen to what the experts are saying is important. Remember the first time you heard about Pinterest and said, “What is that? Is that important for my businesses?” Instead you should be reading about new social networks and finding out before you hear about them from your kids or a friend.

Hint: [Follow David Knows Search on Facebook]

TWO: Blog weekly.

I’m so not kidding about this. Blogging is seriously one of the most important things you can do for a strong internet marketing strategy. It makes you an authority and it gives you something to talk about. It’s great for SEO and can help your site rank better and it also provides content to use in social media channels. Of course, be sure you’re blogging properly and not just writing fluff for the sake of writing. And look, if you’re not a writer, or you’re simply too busy running your business, this is an area worth investing in. Outsource the writing to an experienced blogger who can write on your behalf.

[Check out Five Ways to Blog… Wrong]

THREE: Get others talking about you.

That means a lot of things actually. Sure, you want people to talk about you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. That’s kind of a given. But it also means getting more online reviews or even getting people to write about your business and link back to your site. (SO IMPORTANT!) In order to get people talking, you have to provide great content, educate, entertain or even put controversial material out there. You’ve got to ask them IN PERSON to write about you. There’s no shame in asking a happy client to write a post on your Facebook or to review your business on Google+. In fact, I would ask you right now, if you like reading my stuff, would you consider letting me know on my Facebook or by commenting on my blog? Those social signals are a big signal to search engines and obviously, having others say good things about you is always good for business!

FOUR: Capture real life moments for online sharing.

Whatever it is that your business does, chances are there are moments worth sharing every day. Did you just sell a teenager his first car? Get a pic and share it online. Did you just teach someone to run a skid steer? Capture that on video so others who are considering renting a skid steer can see how easy it is. You’re installing a new deck or patio. Get before and after pics and make sure they’re posted on your site and your Facebook and your Google+ page. Tweet them if that’s appropriate. A fellow business just did something good for the community? Tell them you’re proud of them on their Facebook wall. (Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ restaurant in Kansas City welcomes new BBQ restaurants every time one is opened in KC – a classy and cool move.) It’s okay to let people know that you rock at what you do. It shouldn’t be all or even most of what you post, but it’s certainly okay to show the world that you love what you do and you’re good at it.

FIVE: Outsource the complicated stuff.

You got into your business to do whatever it is you do – not to do internet marketing. And while it makes sense to write your own blogs, participate in social media and post pics of your proudest moments, it doesn’t make sense to try and understand HTML and website optimization techniques, or manage your own AdWords campaign or even build your own backlinks. That stuff requires special skills and experience and you should leave that to the experts. Find the guys (or ladies) who specialize at this stuff and add them to your marketing budget. If they’re good at what they do, they’ll make sure you get a positive return on your investment. Meanwhile, you get back to what you do best – running your business and taking care of your customers, and let the professionals do their thing. (On a personal note, I wish someone had given me this advise before I spent an entire summer building my own deck!)

Hope you take some of this advice and run with it. If you do, let me know. I’m always excited to know that people actually listen to stuff I say.  ;o)

Thanks for reading.

David McBee