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Use online marketing practices to build a bigger following

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Building a small business website and using social media platforms are just a few ways firms can embrace the power of the internet as a way to create new sales and marketing opportunities. The popularity of online marketing has grown in recent years, and so have the number of lead generation strategies.

According to a recent survey conducted by small business community Manta, 90 percent of respondents take advantage of the opportunity to network with customers and prospective clients over the internet.

"Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is," said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta. "Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business, so it's not surprising that they are embracing the channel."

While internet marketing is growing in popularity, so has computer hacking and phishing attacks from cybercriminals. Small businesses should be sure to protect their website with security solutions such as encrypted passwords and virus protection. Investing in small business cyberliabilty insurance can also make sure companies are protected in the event a website is compromised. 

Building an online presence
The ability to partake in cost efficient online marketing has made it even more important for small business owners to look at ways they can create a presence for their firms on the internet.

"Over time, I've realized that it's very important for me to maintain a consistent presence for both my business and myself online," said Joseph Buczek, president of Lighthouse Construction and Restoration, an expert remodeling, repair and design-build company.

A recent article for Duct Tape Marketing outlined some ways small business owners can reach out to potential clients over the internet.

•Search engine optimization: Small businesses shows up higher on searches when they produce content that is educational and contains strategically placed keywords, while also having page elements such as blog titles, URLs, ALT image attributes, subtitles and internal links. 

•Mobile and location-based services: The power to reach out to customers who are close to a small business will give them the opportunity to create more business. Using mobile specific ads and asking customers to use apps such as Foursquare  may be able to generate new business opportunities.

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