I scan hundreds of feeds and read dozens of articles each day so you don't have to. From a great year end compliation of posts to simple reminders of the need to focus on the basics, find out which articles I dubbed as must-read for the small business crowd today.

  • Beth Harte has put together a great list of things to look for in a social media marketing consultant. It was spawned by her earlier post on the Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert is a Carpetbagger and does a great job of shining some light on what companies should look for when entering this brave new world of marketing.

  • Karon Thackston has a post offering a great reminder of the need to look beyond your optimization and toward the conversion abilities of your site and your copy. Karon offers up an example site and shows how they've gone completely overboard in their use of keywords and destroyed the site's ability to convert. She also points out the site's complete lack of rankings for the phrases in question, making the sacrifice on the conversion potential side even more frustrating.

  • One of the biggest challenge I have in dealing with small businesses and social media marketing is the journey to convince them of SMM's value without letting them go overboard. Anyone who has spent time engaged with social media knows it can be addicting. I have to work to keep myself in check on getting too excited about things, so it comes as no surprise those new to it find it difficult to establish balance as well. David Armano had a great post over at Logic + Emotion on New Year's Day that poignantly explains the process of companies coming into the social media space. Here's hoping the new year will be rife with companies who quickly move from "new convent" to "evolving true believer."

  • If you're a fan of year end "best of" style complications, you won't want to miss Tamar Weinberg's "Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2008" list over at Techipedia. From search to social media to blogging to the major social media networks and platforms, Tamar segments out some of the most useful and insightful posts from last year. Even if you don't plan on reading them all, this is a great one to bookmark

  • Paid Search campaigns are one of the biggest offenders in online marketing in terms of wasted dollars rushing out the door. Common mistakes and misperceptions can cost a company tons of money and mismanaged campaigns often lead companies to pull the plug on what could have been an excellent profit center. Brian Carter tears down five common myths about Google AdWords in a post over at Search Engine Journal today. If you're advertising via paid per click now or plan to in the future, it's a must read.

January 5, 2009

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Puppy's Picks - January 5th, 2009