Small business marketing once meant stuffing envelopes for direct mailings, hanging flyers, and mailing postcards that listed a business's latest deals and promotions. However, the Internet has changed all of that.

Marketing your small business in this day and age requires that you take steps to increase your visibility online.

Here are six ways to market your small business online:

' Search Engine Optimization. Regardless of the product or service you offer, the single biggest mistake you can make as a small business website owner is to ignore search engine optimization (SEO). This means making sure that your website is easily crawled by search engine spiders, contains the right set of keywords, has relevant content, and features unique titles and meta descriptions.

' Social Media. Social media is an important marketing channel for your small business. Each time you Tweet, update your Facebook status or post something to your LinkedIn profile, you are marketing your business and increasing brand recognition. Social media helps give customers insight into what your business is about and, over time, helps foster brand visibility. You can also use social media to strengthen offline marketing campaigns.

' Local Listings. There is a wealth of free marketing opportunities out there through local listings, which is why you need to claim your place on Google Places, Bing, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Yelp, FourSquare and all other third-party sites. Creating a wide variety of complete and accurate listings is the key to your business's search visibility.

' Blogging. There are few better online marketing vehicles than your own company blog, because blogging allows you to establish authority and publish valuable content regularly. Both the search engines and customers love blogs because of the fresh content they offer.

' Testimonials. Testimonials should always be a part of your business process. Encourage customers to leave comments on Google Pages, Yelp or any other review sites you use.

' YouTube. When you create video content related to your business or industry, you not only have a new marketing vehicle that allows you to connect with consumers, but you boost your SEO as well.

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There are some pretty incredible emerging trends coming out of the United States, regarding the Google and Bing battle for search engine market share. While many people have disregarded Bing in their SEO campaigns, due to the perception that the search engine produces less useful results, they may be making a terrible mistake.

Microsoft's Bing has strong momentum against Google at the moment and he offers up the following data to back that up:

' In October, 2010, Microsoft and Yahoo completed their contract that allowed Bing to power Yahoo's organic search engine.

' In January, 2011, Microsoft made a deal to add two points of additional market share.

' Since then, Microsoft has made many small deals, slowly increasing its market share.

' Bing was then integrated into Hotmail and into the pages of many online news organizations.

' As of June, 2011, Bing's organic market share in the United States was roughly 33%

This means that one in three people are currently using Bing. More importantly, a recent study shows that Bing users may actually be worth more to advertisers than Google users.

The study claims that an individual Bing user is worth one and a half times the value of a Google user. The value was calculated by the user's likelihood to click on a website's call-to-action.

While Google still leads Bing at a ratio of more than two to one, that is down from last fall's three to one ratio.

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When a business enters into a contract with a website design firm to create an online presence, the agreement should deal with intellectual property rights and address which party will own the web content.

Typically, copyright automatically favors the party that produced the content. Obviously, this can cause problems for business owners who want to, and should be, in control of their own website content.
However, the issue becomes more complicated when it comes to ownership rights of the underlying code that makes up the website.

When a website maintenance agreement is entered into as part of the contract, the underlying code can be subject to a separate escrow agreement. This protects both parties by allowing the code to be released to the business, only if the website design firm cannot meet the pre-determined maintenance obligations.

Usually, web design firms will use parts of the code in other projects in an effort to save time and money. For this reason, it is unlikely that a business will be able to gain exclusive rights to the code.

At the very least, a business should ensure, from the start, that the web design firm that it hires grants it the right to use the code. A business owner entering into a contract with a web development firm should also procure any warranties or indemnities that will protect against claims of copyright infringement by third parties, as they relate to the content or design.

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