Establishing a strong online presence for your business is vital to ensuring continued growth and outreach. Even if a company maintains a brick and mortar facility, a well-oiled Internet marketing strategy helps connect substantially more potential customers while keeping the company competitive with those business running exclusively on the Internet. In order to build a viable online presence while connecting with these future clients, a business, regardless of size or industry, needs an online marketing strategy. To lay the foundation of a strong advertising presence online, make sure to follow these marketing tips.
Your Current Marketing Strategy in Review
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in existence for a week or a decade, you need to review your current marketing strategy. What social media platforms do you use? Do you post videos to YouTube? What previous marketing campaigns worked and what failed? You need a complete audit of your old marketing methods. This helps illustrate where you may have holes in the marketing strategy while also indicating areas you can improve upon. You likely don’t need to start your marketing approach from scratch. You just need a complete understanding of where you stand.
Formulate and Decide a Marketing Plan
Building a marketing strategy relies on a handful of platforms and services. Each of these services can make creating an email list, social media monitoring and outreach analytics far easier than going at it on your own. As you build your marketing strategy, you need to identify the best platforms for your company needs. Services like MailChimp, Google Analytics, HubSpot and others give you powerful marketing tools for companies ranging from start-ups to the enterprise level.
After selecting the platforms you want to use, educate yourself on how to use these features and tools from the inside out. The better you understand these tools, the easier it becomes to identify problems in your marketing strategy, make on the fly adjustments and boost the overall return on investment in your advertising.
Identify Your Customer
Before creating any kind of advertising for a product or the company in general, you need a clear idea of your key demographic. The more you know about your customer the easier it is to produce advertising directed specifically at this individual. It also helps with what social media platforms to take advantage of and what sort of included marketing content makes your product or service more desirable.
Now, you likely have some sort of an idea as to whom you want to sell to or what kind of person buys your product. A general outline of your ideal customer gives you a solid starting point, but you need to fill in the details before customizing a viable marketing approach. Without specific details regarding your target customer, you’ll end up spending far too much in pointless advertising with very little return to show for it. You need a complete persona on the typical customer. This includes their background (job, family, career path), demographics (gender, income, age, location) and even their identifiers (such as preferred forms of communication).
So how do you come about creating a persona for your ideal customer? If your business has been around for some time you should have enough analytical data to go through these personal points of interest and flesh out your ideal customer’s identity. However, if you run a startup, this kind of company information simply is not available. In this case, your best option is to research product forums of similar items and services for sale. Ask questions on your social media pages and even off up surveys (Twitter allows for a very easy multiple choice question post you should take advantage of). For any startup, a certain amount of trial and error is expected, but by putting in research, you’ll cut down on the errors (and, in turn, expenses) significantly.
Focus On Your Website
It doesn’t matter how incredible your marketing material is, if the website falls flat on its face, your generated sales will falter. So before you go out and begin marketing to the ideal customer you’ve identified, you need to ensure your website is designed to impress. In many ways, your website stands as the main point of contact with potential clients. Should they see catchy advertising, they will head over to your website. If someone wants to look up your contact information or is interested in searching for your other services, they head to your website. So present your website as you would the grand opening of a physical storefront.
There are a handful of pointers you need to follow when it comes to making a strong impression with your site. First, design for speed. Your website needs to load quickly. Now, websites always take a bit longer to load the first time through than on subsequent visits. This is because your site will place a cookie on the visitor’s computer, which allows for your information to download faster. While designing your website is an entirely different blog post, a few speed tips include removing as much unnecessary coding from the page, reduce image pixel size and cut down on the overall information on each page.
Other points of concern for improving your website is to ensure you have a mobile-friendly website and have implemented security features. If your website is flagged for containing malware, search engines such as Google will blacklist your site from the engine (which more or less is a death sentence for any page). Additionally, more Internet searches are performed via a mobile device than a traditional computer, so designing a mobile-friendly website is a must (Google also boosts mobile-friendly websites on searches performed on mobile devices).
Beyond building a fast, mobile-friendly website, focus on keeping it professional looking. As long as you follow these pointers, you’ll make a solid first impression to visitors of your site, which drastically improves your chance to convert marketing leads into sales.
Focus on the Social Media That Works For You
Having a social media presence is a must. It gives you additional communication options in addition to making it easier to connect with your ideal customer. However, there are dozens of social media platforms out there, so attempting to build a following on every single option not only is time-consuming but incredibly expensive. As your business grows and you can afford to bring on additional social media marketing talent you can revisit the idea of adding more platforms. For the time being though, you need to focus your online marketing efforts with the platforms that best help you and your business.
Facebook and Twitter are two of the most obvious social media platforms to take advantage of. Google+ helps as well and is similar to Facebook, although you’ll want to use it for a different purpose. If you are a visually based company (such as you sell physical products or offer design services), consider using a visual social media account such as Instagram. Professional outreach may draw you to LinkedIn, while a service such as YouTube opens you up to additional forms of connecting with customers. You don’t need to be on all social media platforms in order to generate marketing interest in your business. You just need to be on the right ones to better serve your needs.
Use Different Social Media Accounts Differently
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is treating all of their social media accounts the same. This would be like using a screwdriver and a hammer in the same way. Each is a tool and provides benefits, but should not be used in the same manner. Over time (especially with Facebook and Twitter), you’ll see which social media account receives the most interactions in the form of comments, shares, and likes. Once you identify a pattern, put more time and effort into this particular account. You can automate your other account (such as having regular posts go up on Twitter).
Google+ is another social media account you need to take advantage of, but again in a different way. Google originally intended for the platform to compete with the likes of Facebook, but this never truly materialized. That doesn’t mean it is without usefulness. Google+ is an excellent service to use when it comes to boosting SEO. From sharing blog posts to publishing your YouTube videos, Google likes when you play in their ecosystem, so by playing nice and using Google+, you’ll, in turn, be rewarded with heightened search engine optimization.
Every social media platform has its own provided benefit, yet is slightly different from the next. Because of this, you should never treat each social media platform the same. Spend your time on the accounts generating interest and use the other accounts to help boost your overall search engine and marketing appeal.
Creating a Budget
With social media and other outreach options, it now is possible to connect with customers without spending a cent. However, in order to extract the greatest potential from your marketing material, you will need to establish a budget. Before allocating where to spend your money, you first need to define the marketing budget. This is where the original marketing audit comes in handy. By seeing what has worked in the past and what failed to generate the desired results, you can edit and adjust where you spend the company’s advertising dollars.
Once you have identified how much you are willing (or able) to spend on advertising, you need to determine if you will use paid promotional content (such as Google Adwords or paid advertisements on services such Facebook). You’ll also need to look at Pay Per Click options and creating different landing pages. Allocate your marketing budget between your different outreach methods. This, however, should not be a concrete budget. It should remain fluid. By having a fluid budget between marketing methods, you can take money from an underperforming avenue and put it towards another that is bringing in leads and potential clients.
Fluidity Is Vital
Creating a digital marketing plan is a must for building and maintaining a vibrant online business. However, this plan should never remain stationary. The beauty (and challenge) of marketing on the World Wide Web is the Internet itself is in constant motion. Due to this, your marketing strategy needs to grow, change and evolve right along with it. After you audit your current marketing strategy, identify social media services that work for your particular business presence and decide upon what kind of marketing you want to carry out (PPC, social media advertising and so on), you need to regularly monitor your marketing performance. Over time, you’ll identify avenues of growth, find what advertising forms generate the most traffic and which may lead to the highest percentage of sales.
You’ll also see what isn’t working as well as you might like. When something underperforms, you need to edit keywords, make sure it best targets your ideal customer and, if necessary, pull funding and put it into advertising that is proving financially desirable. Fluidity is vital when it comes to your online marketing strategy. Nothing, from where you market to even your target audience, should remain stationary. Constantly analyze, investigate and monitor. This is the only real way to build a successful marketing strategy while building your company’s online presence.
As you monitor current trends in your own marketing, make sure to keep your ear to the ground for any new and upcoming trends. There are always new marketing methods with financial potential. You just need to remain aware of both what is currently working for you and what may prove beneficial in the future.
A strong online marketing strategy is a must for any company to survive in the modern day of business. While continuing to utilize traditional marketing methods still has a place in your advertising approach, the vast majority of customers and potential clients will find their way to your business via the Internet. This is exactly why you need a well-planned and organized online marketing strategy for your business. By following through with these tips and tricks, you’ll set yourself up for greater success and a better return on investment into your marketing material.