In a recent article I discussed why your business needs to be online. It’s really simple: everyone else it. However, perhaps you’re daunted. Maybe, like so many before you, you just don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’ve heard stories of disappointment and poor results; of people spending obscene amounts of money on services that yield no dividends. Perhaps you already are online, and your online presence isn’t delivering on your expectations.
Internet marketing is effective
We know the web is the new wave in marketing, so how can you use it effectively to market your business? With over 2.4 billion users worldwide, you have a potentially enormous audience – far bigger than your monthly shop front foot fall – and you need to take every opportunity to engage with that audience.
Here are five simple steps to harness the power of online marketing:
Get a website
. It’s simple and clear, and on a website called “Web Design in Durban”, it’s a message you’ll hear over and over again. You need a website. You need a piece of the cloud to call your own. Your website is your showroom. This is your space to detail your services, display your wares, and make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you. The static content on your site – the core foundation of meaty, useful information that stays online for months or years on end – needs to be punchy, concise and persuasive.
Tip: clear, professionally-taken photographs are your secret weapon.
Get a blog
. Once you’ve established an attractive and well-expressed website, you need to keep the content fresh. The best way to do that is to post regular news, reviews, special offers, tips, ideas and information to your site. And the best tool at your disposal for this purpose is your blog. We’ll discuss this in more detail in a later post, but to simplify: a blog provides an easy-to-maintain architecture for publishing fresh, relevant content to the internet using your domain space to do so.
Tip: Search engines LOVE fresh content.
Take advantage of social media
. Whether it’s a passing fad or not, the fact is that social media is here right now. It may not be here in ten years’ time, but if you don’t take advantage of what social media offers, your business is unlikely to be here in ten years’ time, either. In another post we’ll cover the basics of selecting the best social media portal for your business, but for now, let’s reiterate: you need to be using social media to promote your business. It’s a powerful tool, and it’s free!
Tip: You’re already using social media, just use it more effectively.
Guest blogging and PR
. At the heart of content marketing is the science of PR. No matter how good your writing is, if it’s not getting “out there”, you’re wasting your time. People don’t just stumble across good writing – or even great writing. Why not? Because there are a lot of good writers out there. I doubt even Ernest Hemingway or Jane Austen would “get found” in the modern age without some serious PR. You have to make a noise about it.We’ve already discussed the potency of social media for this purpose. But an avenue often overlooked for the online marketer is guest blogging. Guest blogging refers to posting articles related to your field(s) on blogs and news sites in your industry. Because content marketing requires generating a LOT of content, many content marketers are only too happy to have a guest blogger share content on their site. That’s a whole day’s worth of writing they no longer have to do! The knock-on effect works both ways: your business has the boost of reaching an entire pool of readers you may never otherwise have been able to access, and the host blog has the implied nod of accreditation from you and your site because you’ve been willing to be associated with their blog.
Tip: Furthermore, if you include a mention on your blog and social media about the guest blog, they get even more traffic from you, and develop a wider circle of influence.
. Google, Facebook and a number of other companies offer marketers the opportunity to pay for their online impressions on search results pages (SRPs) and social media portals. The beauty of pay-per-click advertising (which we discuss in more detail in a later post) is that the impressions can be highly tailored to your target demographic. Results are already pre-qualified by the fact that users only see your ads when they type in specific keywords that you’ve selected. This means they already want what you’re selling. You have complete control over what you’re willing to spend per impression, per click, per day, per week and so on. You simply pay for your advertising in advance, and the campaign runs until the funds are depleted. No unexpected costs, no contracts, no fuss.Managing a pay-per-click campaign is a time-consuming business. It goes well beyond the initial keyword research, advertisement design and campaign set up. Each day, traffic through the campaign and the website needs to be carefully monitored, and adjustments are often required to make sure the campaign is as effective as possible.
Tip: you probably wouldn’t try to manage your print media campaign without a little help from experts. Make sure you enlist expert help in your marketing campaign, too.
What do you think? What forms the basis of your online marketing strategy? Is there anything you’d add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the box below, or contact me. These five aspects of online marketing are the foundation of a successful campaign. They’re my speciality. If you’re just getting started, or if you’re not satisfied with results you’re getting so far, let’s chat.