When it comes to the Internet, a lot of business owners and marketers feel they are in the Wild West. The online landscape is constantly changing, and it can be difficult to know what tactics are needed to effectively navigate your business to success.
Different online products and services meet different business needs. The most effective online campaigns have a synergistic strategy. It’s important to know what online marketing tools are available and that all your tactics are working together for success.
So let’s break it down…
The first place to start is with a website. This establishes your online presence. Your website is your online store, and it’s open 24-7. This is often the first impression people have of your business.
It always surprises me how many businesses invest in their physical building to a create nice, pleasant environment that makes their customers feel comfortable, yet neglect their website, their online real estate. If you properly plan or develop your website, it can be your best salesperson. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your website. Recognize the value that it brings to your business. Do it correctly at the beginning, and you’ll see your investment produce a solid return on investment.
So, once you have this great website, customers will just naturally migrate to your homepage, right? Well, when you opened your physical doors did the crowds come running to see your new beautiful store? For the majority of businesses, the answer is no. The same is true with the Internet. You have to drive leads and visitors to your website. This is where search engines such as Google, Bing & Yahoo come into play.
Search engines are the number one way potential customers find local businesses. There are two types of marketing with search engines. There’s search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC). The area at the top and right hand side that is called sponsor ads are the paid (PPC) listings. These ads are easy to control and you only pay when someone clicks on the ad and goes to your website.
The area below the paid ads is what’s referred to as the organic listings. SEO is performed to enhance these organic, natural, listings. There is a preference for people clicking on these listings, and the clicks are free. However, it can be a timely and complicated process to grow in your organic rankings. Both PPC and SEO are important. The more you can do to improve your rankings and make it as easy as possible for customers to end up on your website, the better off your business will be.
Search engines capture people who are actively looking for your services, but there is still a need for branding and telling your story to those who may not realize they have a need for your product. Online display ads (banner ads) are an effective way for you to have a visual message online and to tell your story to a strategic audience. You can either buy ads on a specific website, including social media sites, or you can purchase ads through a network of sites.
Another display tactic is retargeting. This is where ads follow you around and do want I affectionately call online stalking. When you go to a website, you leave footprints online. These footprints are called “cookies.” Cookies can be used to retarget the ad and put it back in front of you as you surf the Internet.
Social media is the number one activity on the web. Not only is social media an extremely important relationship marketing tool, through social content creation and link building, it’s also a tool that can affect your organic search results.
With social media, it’s all about engagement. Having quality content and quality followers is much more important than quantity. What’s great about social media is that a small input often has a large impact, as compared to traditional media, in which a large input often has a small impact. For branding, customer growth and expert positioning social media is hard to beat!
Having a cohesive and synergistic marketing campaign that supports your business strategy and goals is key. Each of these marketing products serve a specific purpose. If you learn the basics, have a clear direction for your marketing and brand, and have an integrated plan, then great results are closer than you know for your business.
If you’re interested in an integrated online strategy for your business, contact Fresh Collaboration for a consultation.