Online marketing is a fantastic tool to help you build your business and boost your sales. The only way to do that is to get more people to know you exist and to teach them to trust you, so that they’ll buy from you. The great thing about the World Wide Web is that, if you know how to harness its potential, building your database becomes a simple process: you provide valuable information regularly and keep your promises. In this way your business will get found by both Google and people. But how does it actually work?
Being found on the first page of a Google search is an aspiration that most businesses have. The competition is fierce – we’re talking millions of other businesses providing the same products and services that you do – but not insurmountable, if you know what to do. Organic search refers to those results that come up when you put your search terms into the search engine. In order for your marketing to be effective in an organic search you need to have your website URL listed with those search engines, your website needs to have well written copy and be search engine optimised.
News sites, written by great journalists, do well with this kind of search. For example, if you were to type ‘Mandela’ into the search bar, you’ll find that at least half the sites that come up on the first page are up-to-the-minute news articles relating to Madiba’s health.
Creating a presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ is a valuable investment for any company’s marketing strategy. These sites provide you with the ability to build interactive relationships with your customer base and to carry out some subtle but powerful market research in the process. Customers who can ask questions, pass on information, recommend you and have their concerns answered in a professional but informal setting are much more likely to trust your business and buy your product or service.
Hashtagging your posts is a great way to connect with other people interested in the same topic. So going back to our earlier example, #Mandela on Twitter or Facebook will bring up all the current interactions relating to the gentleman in question. Try it and see for yourself.
A blog provides you with a means to get regular information to your database. The more useful content you provide the more people will sign up to your database. This addition to your website also ensures your content is fresh which is important for Google’s algorithms.
Email marketing through newsletters or direct mail is one of the most economical and effective ways to build your database and prove you are an authority in your field. This form of content marketing relies on providing readable, compelling information that solves a problem or provides knowledge that your customers can’t do without. It is also a great way of highlighting special offers or new products and services.
All of the above is all very well, but unless you tie everything together with measurable goals and a strategic plan to achieve them, it is likely to just whistle in the virtual wind. Yep, time and money wasted trying to be found, even though you’ve abandoned your business in an etherical no-man’s land. Once you have your marketing strategy and the goals it is striving to meet, constant testing will tell you which aspects are working and which ones you should actually abandon, based on the unique needs of your business.
What online marketing tools do you use to give your business the leg-up it needs to become a business-specific authority on the World Wide Web?