Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message. The message about business brand, product, services, or other potential customer need. Online marketing can include Email, Social media, Ads (advertising), SEO (search engine optimization), Google AdWords, affiliate marketing, sponsorship, and much more.
Being said that we are going to cover online marketing strategies in three different aspects.
- How people find you online
- What if you set yourself up for success
- You can bring it all together
How people find you online.
People are taking up their favorite businesses directly; they’re consuming and sharing content they find useful or entertaining from those businesses. They are asking connection for a recommendation. Your business has an opportunity to be part of more of these conversations.
The more you can do to keep your business top of mind and make it easy for others to talk about you. The more you increase the chances of people recommending or seeking you out when they need what you offer.
Beyond being part of the conversation, you must understand what people may find when they go looking for your business. Specifically by name, or by something your business offers.
1. What people may find when they look your business online.
It’s no secret that people turn to a search engine like google to get more information about the businesses, they’re investigating. Let take a look at some of the things that may show up on search engine results page; or SERP, when someone searches for business by name.
- Paid Ads
- Organic (non-paid) search results
- Google My Business listing
- Social Media account
- Info from other sites.
2. What if people are looking for something your business is offering.
People don’t always search by name. Sometimes they know they want to buy product or a service, but they don’t know who offers it. Then they type in a more generic search term, like ” restaurant near me” or “tax preparers”
- Imagine you were throwing a dinner party and you want to impress your friends with a selection of cheese not found on grocery store. So you jump on your computer or mobile device and search “cheese near me”
If we apply these results to what may show up for your business, your customers may find:
- Your website
- Social media account
- Reviews sites
- Business listing s
- Competitor listings
3. (reality) If you’re not online, prospects can’t find you.
Whether people search for your business by name or something related to your business, your customers and prospects should be able to find you. Your job is to make sure your business can be found, the information is accurate, and that you’re answering the questions your potential customer may have
As people visit your website and click through from various search results, they’re starting to form opinions about your business. Ultimately, they’re asking themselves, “Is this the right business for me”
If your business is present, engaging and interacting, and providing resources, you’ll increase the chances of people finding your building your business and choosing you.
The question is, what tools should you use to build a strong foundation for your online marketing efforts? Let’s take a look at how to set your business up for success.
What if you set yourself up for success?
With an understanding of how people may find you online, what should you do to make sure you have a strong foundation in place?
Let talk about the tools you should use and some tips to get you started.
- A mobile friendly website
- An Email marketing tools
- A primary social channel
- Up-to-date business listings
- A way to easily get found online marketing
1. A mobile-friendly website:
Yes, your business should have a mobile-friendly website. Your website is at the center of all your online activities. It’s the hub you’ll want to point people to drive business. You shouldn’t rely solely on social media sites.
Think about the first thing you do when you want to investigate a business. Typically, you’ll go looking for a website to learn more. Your potential customers are doing the same. And they’re frequently doing it on a mobile device, making a mobile-friendly website important for today’s consumers.
When we say mobile-friendly, what we mean is mobile responsive. A mobile responsive website provides a great experience for visitors regardless of how they’re viewing it because it adapts to the device being used to access it. With a mobile-responsive website, visitors won’t struggle to find the information they need. The good news is that you no longer need to be a web designer to build an effective mobile-friendly website.
a) Your website structure
When people visit your website, they’re looking for an answer to their questions.
- About Page
- Contact Page
Your website should have a menu page. If you are selling products, you should have an online store. A spa should have a services page. Most businesses benefit from having blog functionality on their site as well (more on that later)
1. What question you should answer on your homepage?
People don’t have a lot of time. Be clear. Be specific.
i) Who is it for?
The visitor is asking, “Is this for me?’ Who is your ideal customer? Do you serve a particular group or industry? Make it clear who your product or service is for.
ii) What should visitors do next?
Make a purchase? Contact you? Request a demo? Give an email address for resources? Make it clear what action people should take as their next step.
2. What question you should you answer on your About page?
i) Your story
What problem are you trying to solve for your customers? Which obstacles did you face and overcome trying to solve this problem? Why is your business important to you?
ii) Why should people care?
How will potential customers benefit from working with you? How will you solve their problem and give them peace of mind? Do you have testimonials to support?
iii) What make you or your business different?
What are you better at than anyone else? How will you use your skills to help your customers? What’s your plan for them?
3. What question should you answer on your contact page?
i) Where can I find you?
Do you have a physical location? where is your company based? Which social media channels do you use?
ii) When can I reach you?
What are your hours of operation? Are there different hours for support? Other functions?
ii) What can I contract you?
Is there more than one way? Start your preferred method. What should they expect in terms of a reply?
2. Email marketing
Why is email marketing important today? Simply, because it works. And yes, email is still ranked as one of the most effective marketing channels according to Ascend2’s 2019 Digital Marketing Strategies Survey Summary Report.
Like your website, email marketing also creates an asset you own. The contacts on your list are yours. And if you’re doing right, those are people who have said, “Yes, I want you to market to me.”
Email marketing also allows you to automate much of the communications so the emails your contacts receive feel timely and relevant. Automation assures you get the right messages to the right people at the right time.
When someone signs up to receive your emails, they are actively demonstrating interest in you and your business.
Take advantage of this time when a new contact is highly engaged and automate a couple of emails to continue the conversation. Whether they sign up today or a weak from today, they won’t have for you to manually send an email to hear from you.
a. Welcome/Delivery Email
You should send a welcome email immediately after someone signs up. Deliver what was promised, welcome your new subscribers, and reiterate what they should accept in the future.
b. Invitation to Connect
Send an email a few days after your welcome email. Let your new contact know of the other ways in which they can engage with you. This will most likely be on your social channel online marketing. So invite them to connect with you.
This email is important because once your subscribers connect with you in other locations. You will have multiples ways to engage and stay top of mind.
If your subscribers engage with you on these public forums, your business gets exposed to their connections. They are likely also to make excellent prospects for your business.
c. Plan on sending an email at least once a month thereafter.
Consistency is the key to any form of marketing. Write down the potential opportunities you have to reach out to your email contacts. These opportunities could be national holidays, events specific to your business. Or even those made-up marketing holidays. Share a combination of helpful resources and promotional emails to provide the most value to your contacts.
- Set-up a simple, automated welcome series.
- Plan to send an email at least once a month
- Think about other emails you may want to automate.
3. A primary social channel
If you are like many small business owners we talk to, Social media marketing can feel overwhelming. And it often feels like you’re spinning your wheel. Doing a lot of activity across many channels with little to show for it.
You should reserve your business name on the important social channels so you have it. But you don’t have to be active everywhere. That’s why we recommend starting with one channel that makes sense for your business.
Ideally, choose a primary social channel based on the customers you’re trying to reach. Also, consider what channel you’re most comfortable using and how it fits with the personality of your business.
a) Each social channels also has its own personality.
You should not be posting the same thing on every channel. You can use the same theme but modify your post to suit the channel
b) Focus on how social media can help you with business goals such as awareness, customer service, and driving actions.
Engage with people on social so you can ultimately move them. It will help your website and build your email list, so you have a list of contacts you own to drive business.
Don’t forget social media isn’t the only place where people may find and engage with your business
4. Up-to-date business listings
Today people use a variety of apps and websites to find the information they’re looking for. Sometimes these listings are automatically generated and other times your customers may create them.
As a business owner, you’re able to take control of this listing by claiming them. Which often as simple as clicking a button and submitting requested information that proves the business is yours.
Make sure all information is correct and set up to date access all sites. The last thing you want is for someone to find incorrect information as it could cause you to lose business.
a) Facebook page
Your Facebook page should provide all the correct information about your business.
b) Google my business listing
Claim your Google my business profile to take advantage of the prime placement in google search results.
b) Yelp page
Many people use sites like Yelp to find business around them. The more robust your listing, the better your chances are standing out amongst competitors.
- Claim your Facebook page, Google My Business profile, and Yelp listing.
- Identify any other key listing that may be important for your business.
- Make sure all information is correct on all sites.
- Find out more about setting up your Facebook business page, Google My Business profile, and taking control of your list.
5. A way to easily get found online marketing
Increasing chances of found online, content is what people search for, consume, and share online. If you produce relevant content consistently that aligns with what your audience is searching for. You’ll have more people finding you and sharing your content. You’ll also make more connections for your business and reach more people, who will also share your content.
This content helps search engines like google find your business and can result in free traffic to your website. Yes, there is some technical aspect to consider for SEO search engine optimization, read more here. But at its core, it’s about delivering relevant and meaningful content to the people you’re trying to reach.
A blog post is a functionality that makes it easy to add content, or post, to your websites regularly. Whereas your website contains information about products and services, a blog gives you the ability to demonstrate your expertise by answering more specific questions for prospects and customers.
a) Search engine love fresh blog content
You get the most benefits when your blog is connected directly to your website and not off on some other platform. Choose a publishing frequency that works best for your business. That could be once a week or once a month. You can then use this content on your social media email channels to lead people back to your website.
- Add a blog to your website domain
- List the top questions you get from prospects and customers.
- Create a calendar to regularly publish content that answers those questions.
You can bring it all together
How do you bring it all together to drive new and repeat business? The reality is that if you’re not top of mind, people forget about your business. And that can cause you to lose money. Let take a look at how you can bring all this together to online marketing.
It’s all about getting people to your door or mobile-responsive website. You now know that happens through word-of-mouth referrals, searches online, paid advertising, mobile search apps, or through the listing site.
Whether you are prospective customers is engaging with you, you should provide a positive experience. That’s often as simple as making sure people are finding the answers to their questions. Make sure you are responding and engaging with people and generally being helpful.
At this stage where someone is feeling good about your business. It’s a great time to entice them to stay in touch with you. This could be mean following you on social channels, or even better, join your email list.
Next, your job is to engage with these people who have opted to connect with you regularly. This engagement is at the heart of the relationship between a brand and its customers.
Engagement keeps you top of mind and puts you on the path to creating repeat customers, loyalty, referrals, and increased exposure for your business. Simply, engagement creates more awareness and brings more people to your door.
When your connections engage with you on social, forward your emails, or share your content with their connection with their contacts, those interactions create more visibility for your business in the first place.
And that’s how it all work together.
By focusing on those core elements of connecting, experience, entice, and engage a small business can create the relationship and interactions and keep existing customers coming back and increase word of the month and social visibility that brings new customers through the door.
Here’s how you can take action
1. Create a mobile-friendly website as are the source for potential customers.
By answering questions of prospects and creating helpful content, you increase the chances of people finding you through search, consuming the information you provide. Sharing those resources with their connection.
a) Capture email addresses fro website visitors.
Offer a promotion or exclusive content to entice people to join your email list. Then you’ll have an away to follow up and encourage people to do business with you.
b) Interact and egage on social. Remember it’s called social media for a reason.
Social network best when you’re not just asking people to purchase your product. Use a social network to generate awareness, support customer service, and drive action. Ultimately, try to get social followers to take the next steps by visiting your website and joining your email list.
b) Engage with reviews to build trust.
Say “thanks” when your customers take time to say positive things about your business. Also, be sure to attend to negative reviews as well. People are looking to see how you’ll respond. Respond professionally to see if you can rectify the issue. People who are watching can tell if someone’s being unreasonable.
c) Use email marketing to provide exclusive, helpful, and promotional content.
Email marketing allows you to build more meaningful customer relationships and drive business because people have opted to receive information from you. They’re more engaged with your business than typical social media followers. Provide subscribers with deals they won’t receive from other places. Email can also drive action on your social channel.
d) Amplify your effort with paid advertising.
With your fundamentals in place, you can drive traffic to your website. Expose with your business to more email addresses to get even more business.
Some high-level questions you should answer to gauge success.
- Are people visiting your website?
- Is anyone joining your email list?
- Who is contacting you?
- Customers making a purchase?
How long does online marketing take to work?
From an organic, or non-paid perspective you should think in terms of months. But once you build that foundation and have those strong relationships with your customer, the time frames shorten. Then you can experiment with paid advertising. The last point to address online marketing is…
How will you know your online marketing effort are making?
There’s no shortage of things to measure today. Likes, followers, share, opens, and clicks are all leading indicators. Don’t focus on these vanity metrics alone to determine success. Pay attention to the things that are meaningful for your business.
|Be there when people are looking.||Provide a consistent and helpful answer to their question||Engage to stay top of mind|
Across all that you’re doing online, the idea should be to use your mobile-friendly websites, email marketing listing, content, and advertising to be useful to your current and potential customers.