Consumers begin their search for products and services online everyday. In many cases, they make the decision where to buy while online. For most businesses, the internet represents the single largest channel of potential clients.

I asked Tom Lickliter, a web strategist and reputation management specialist with Anchor Wave Internet Solutions to share some tips for generating business online.

According to Lickliter, you need to have a predetermined strategy based on your current situation and marketing budget.

If your marketing budget is low, start with the basics and do what works. As new income is generated, increase your marketing budget and apply more advanced techniques. Even if your marketing budget is robust, you need to start with a solid foundation and build your marketing plan from there.

The first step is to ensure your online reputation is consistent and credible. Your website, social media and email marketing campaigns need to look good, and perform well. Your website needs to optimized for the key phrases customers are searching for. Be sure to verify all of the online directories are reporting the same information about your business. Take a peek at your online reviews, too. Google loves consistency, and they reward businesses that are credible.

Google provides business owners with powerful tools to optimize their business through the “Google My Business” platform. Taking full advantage of this tool will help your business rank well in the local search results.

This may be a good time to look at Google pay-per-click advertising. Many businesses are seeing nice results with paid Facebook ads, too. When done well, Facebook and Google retargeting ads can be a great way to stay in front of prospects.

At this point, your online marketing campaigns will be way ahead of most of your competition. Focus on becoming the brand authority in your niche market with effective use of blogs, social media management and email newsletters.

For more detailed information, contact Tom Lickliter at 622-3731, ext. 119.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.