So, you have worked hard to achieve a fantastic looking website for your business but, instead of growing your business, your potential customers keep finding your competitor's website instead of yours. Having a great looking website alone is not enough to generate business, it needs an effective, planned, online marketing strategy. So where do you start? With so many options available to increase your visibility online, it is a case of finding the best strategy, or strategies, to suit you and your business.
Online marketing or eMarketing has now developed through a range of technologies that now allows you to market your business directly to the most appropriate audience. It gives businesses of any size the very real possibility to reach customers both locally and world-wide without the need for large advertising budgets.
Regardless of which marketing strategy you use, the key to success within any online marketing campaign is to measure and analyse. By analysing the results of your online campaign you can swiftly adapt to your customers needs and fine tune your marketing, minimising spend wasted on less effective campaigns. By closely analysing your marketing campaign, it allows you to respond to the needs of your market quickly and efficiently.
So what are your options when it comes to marketing your business online?
The first option to consider is search engine marketing, which can be organic search (SEO) or paid search (PPC). Search engines drive a huge proportion of web traffic and search is normally the first place people go to when looking for anything online. Paid search or pay per click is exactly what it's name implies. A well set-up pay per click campaign can be very effective and is targeted directly at the most appropriate audience. However, it is essential to keep it closely monitored as the more targeted your traffic, the greater the conversion rates and return on investment.
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is about improving the number of quality visitors, who click through on to your website free of charge by organic optimisation or effectively free-clicks. This involves making the right changes to your website code and structure, as well as the on page content to make it as accessible as possible to search engines. The more accessible your website becomes, the more likely you are to rank higher in the organic search results.
Today, our social networks are yesterday's word of mouth. Social networks can provide a massive reach for very little cost, especially if your marketing provides value to your customers. Viral advertising campaigns on Facebook, for example, will often include something funny or a chance to win something in a competition. People are then far more likely to share your post and generate interest in your business. It is a low cost way of advertising your business and can be very effective. Blogging is also another way to pass on valuable information to your customer base that can then be shared further. Do remember though that once your business is accessible online, it can become vulnerable to negative comments, even if there is no truth behind them. The reputation of your business is out there for all to see so swift online reputation management is essential. By engaging quickly and responding positively to any negative feedback, you will help to protect the reputation of your business. Remember William the worm found in a Tesco cucumber? The complaint went viral when Tesco responded quickly with humour which left the reputation of it's business intact. In fact, the customer service representative at Tesco was so effective in his poetic response, it would have undoubtedly increased people's positive perception of the large supermarket chain.
There are many vehicles to getting your brand noticed online, whether this be paying for adverts on affiliate websites, email newsletters or even online directories. Many online directories feature highly in search results due to the authority given to them by search engines. However, a word of warning. If you do choose to advertise in directories, don't be tempted to use the same wording for each entry or lift areas out of your website. Google will view this as duplicate text and penalise your website as a result. Always keep your content fresh and unique.
The final area that you may wish to consider as part of your online marketing campaign is email marketing, which can be both powerful and cost effective. Once you have correctly built up your mailing list this will give you direct access to a targeted audience. Software such as mailchimp has excellent analytics with it to help monitor your strategy. Keeping your message clear and interesting will help to grab your audience's attention. Spamming your email list with lots of irrelevant emails will quickly lead to a drop in interest in your business and your customers will unsubscribe.
So once you have put your online marketing strategy in place, what next? By analysing whatever option or options that you have chosen, you need to optimise your conversion or simply put, turn those clicks into sales. By minimising the drop off rate from your website, your audience is getting what they are searching for. Your online business is then truly working for you.