According to Todd Hockenberry, owner of Top Line Results in Tampa, Fla., taking the first step in understanding your online presence is a huge part of reaching your customers. Even if there isn’t enough money in your budget for a complete website overhaul, there are a few things you can do to take the first steps in the world of online marketing.

First and foremost, start at a basic level – understand your customer’s needs and how their target customers search for solutions online. “This is basic search engine optimization and, when done well, leads to very interesting revealing insights about customers and how they are looking to solve problems,” says Hockenberry. This can help your online presence and your business to better understand the marketplace needs.

Secondly, take care of your database. According to Hockenberry, it’s your most valuable asset. Use it to email your contacts regularly with valuable information; don’t send your contacts sales pitches. “Show your contacts that you are listening to them and are worth talking to about their needs. Email still has a very high return on investment if done properly with the right amount of information.”

Little changes can go a long way. Take a look around the web and investigate what types of web pages would help your customers the most, follow news sources in your market, and start writing down customer requests and questions to help give you ideas for blog posts. Inbound marketing takes time and effort, but it’s the most effective way to attract the right customers at any budget.

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