The amount of information online in terms of marketing and advertising is dizzying to say the least. Social media and SEO and PPC and all the different catchphrases and acronyms are enough to make any business owner throw up his or her hands and succumb to the sheer volume of information. While any given marketing campaign should be tailored to a specific niche and goals, there are still some fundamentals to developing an effective web marketing campaign that can be applied to almost any industry.
An Introduction to Marketing your Business Online
In order to develop a consistent and powerful online presence, a business owner needs to understand why people go to the Internet in the first place. While each person is different, in general, people are online looking for information. Not only are they looking for information, but they are looking for something helpful. At the core of any online marketing campaign should be useful content that will delight your niche market. This can be in the form of text, images, video or pretty much anything else as long as it benefits your prospects and customers. In essence, you must find a way to provide value to your customers without making them pay for it. The following are all components that, when used in combination, form a strong web marketing campaign.
Start a Blog: If you don’t have one already, start a blog. Develop an editorial calendar that you can follow and post at least once per week, although more is better. Generate content that your target market will like or that they will find useful. The purpose of the blog is two-fold: First, you can drive more traffic to your site if you host a blog on your domain and provide engaging or otherwise useful content. Second, you can effectively target more keywords when you have a blog post because each post can serve as a new page were you can target a new keyword. You can also link text in your blog posts to inner pages of your website, which gets more traffic for parts of your site that may not be seen as much.
Social Media: You knew I was going to say it, and these days, it’s pretty much a necessity to be on some sort of social network. I’m not saying that you should rush out and join every new or popular network. In fact, many businesses do themselves a disservice by rushing out and joining a social network before “listening” to see if their target market is even present on a platform. This is the worst thing you can do because if you are spending a lot of time on a network where your core market is not represented, you are wasting time and resources. Odds are, unless you are a defense contractor, your target market is probably active on some social network out there. Find out which one it is and create a profile there. Promote a link to that profile on any other property you can from your website to your Google Place page.
Its also not enough that you are just present on a network, you also have to interact with people there, or at least post on a regular basis. Businesses that are not engaged with people on a social network experience little or no benefit from having an account there. Post things that encourage a response from people. Respond to others posts, follow others and otherwise participate like you would if you were on the platform as an individual. Post content from your blog or links to your website pages on occasion. Use the platform to promote deals or special events. Encourage people to share your content.
SEO: Optimizing your site for search is a great way to market it online. If you do all the work yourself, it’s also a great free way to market your site online. There are tons of great resources out there to help you learn about SEO. Building up organic exposure for your website can be a great supplement to your other web marketing efforts. It is definitely not the fastest or most precise way to get more traffic to a website, but its effects can be long-lasting.
Video: This is a good one and by far my most favorite tactic for marketing a business online. Aside from social media websites, people spend the most time watching video online. Coming up with a catchy, viral marketing video is a great way to get exposure for your website. There are also a lot of cool things going on with video like the ability to annotate and embed links. People love sharing short, punchy videos that tell a good story or are entertaining and informative.
Infographics: These are a great way to spread awareness of a brand online and also to build backlinks. If you can create a quality infographic, people will share it and embed it on their own websites. That is very powerful for branding and if you have links in your infographic, it’s also very powerful for SEO. Infographics are also a very helpful form of content. People love seeing useful information displayed in an attractive way.
Email: Email marketing is one of the older forms of online marketing, but it’s still effective. Email is great for supporting a content-based web marketing approach. For instance, you can set up RSS feeds for people to subscribe to a blog via email. You can create white papers or other content that people can exchange an email for in order to download. You can then reach out to those same people and let them know about more content that may be of interest to them. You can also use that relationship to promote special offers. There are lots of good strategies for leveraging email in your online marketing.
Any one of these tactics used on its own can be effective, but using them all together and to help support or complement each other will make your online marketing efforts that much more powerful. There are two main themes to being successful with an online marketing campaign. One of those is making quality content and the other is developing a consistent presence throughout the web. If someone is just typing in your brand name, you should be the only company that appears on the first page of Google. An effective campaign reaches out through many channels online to maximize the amount of exposure a brand can get.
What are your favorite methods for online marketing? Do you have any tips or tricks that you have found to boost traffic significantly? Drop us a line or let us know in the comments section below.