Learning from Missoula's Karen Porter, Growing Your Business Online - MBN Symposium Series #2

This blog entry is part of my series called "The 2011 MBN Symposium". To read other posts in this topic and gain more valuable insight into the presenters at the 2011 Symposium, see the series here: Missoula Businesswomen's Symposium

As a UM Business Marketing student, I actively seek out opportunities to learn more about online marketing, social media, and networking- and last month's Missoula Businesswomen's Network Symposium was a real smorgasbord. I am a new member of MBN and the education and fun it's provided thusfar has been well worth the membership fee! Think of my excitement when I heard Karen Porter, (an award-winning UM Marketing professor and co-founder of a mother-daughter owned business, Skinny Dip Candle) would be giving a talk on growing an online business!

Karen Loye Porter's presentation at the Missoula Business Network Symposium was the most valuable for me as a small business owner, partly because of the sheer volume of technical knowledge she shared and also because she met me right where I was in my stage of growth- such that every topic was a point of learning for me.

I'm excited to share some of my notes from her talk, "Growing Your Business Online (Without Draining Your Bank Account or Losing Your Mind in the Process!)" I hope that these notes can be of some help for you too!

Karen started with some down-to-Earth basics:
A Website, Blog, Facebook Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Places, and Adwords are among some of the most valuable resources to us on the web right now. The internet is full of distractions so getting our priorities straight is very important! The idea is to make the best of these by maximizing our time and efforts spent online. Make sure you have clear goals for your website. Otherwise, what's the point?

Using Facebook for business:
Do you use a business Facebook page? Do you know the difference between a Facebook fan page and regular profile? I actually have a Facebook business page for Alpenglow Apparel (see it here). At first, there were HUGE growing pains learning how to use it. After being so accustomed to using regular (personal) Facebook profile was difficult for me to navigate the unique social bounds for their business pages and work to gain an active following.

Naturally, I was on the edge of my seat as Karen let us in on some great tips for how to use Facebook specifically as a business. Lots of business use (and abuse) Facebook without realizing it! There's tons to discuss on this topic and I wish I could go into more detail, but if you're a little lost in that area too, you could check out  Karen's free Facebook Business Page Tutorial by joining her mailing list at www.ImpactOnlineMarketing.com It was definitely helpful for me! It comes with a handy checklist for optimizing your Facebook page that will help you cover all your bases.

Some sound "get found" Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advice from Karen:

  • Get on Google Places, "claim" your business on the map, making sure to fill in all the fields!
  • Know the words your customer is searching
    • The Google Keyword Tool shows monthly searches for words. In the left-hand column, unclick "broad" and click "exact"
  • Use the words you found from the Google Keyword search on your Headlines, "pepper" them across your page, with a different keyword on every page.
  • Ask for reviews, good reviews will boost your SEO
  • Go to a professional to help you where you lack knowledge, but be careful- make sure they explain their "tricks" to you. Some "tricks" SEO service providers use are outdated and may even HURT your ranking!
Well, that's all I have for you! Don't you wish you had been there for the real thing? Or maybe you were there! I would love your comment feedback. You can read more about Karen and learn more great tips on her brand new blog!

See some of Karen's great body massage candles and sets: Skinny Dip Candles they offer 36 candle scents as well as their own gift pack, called Pamper Packs. They manufacture locally right here in Missoula but sell across the U.S.
    

Laura's related reading:
Search Engine Optimization Secrets: SEO For 2011

This blog entry is part of my series called "The 2011 MBN Symposium". To read other posts in this topic and gain more valuable insight into the presenters at the 2011 Symposium, see the series here: Missoula Businesswomen's Symposium

Content by Laura Gabriele