In today’s world, unless your business has an online presence, then your business doesn’t exist!
I know that’s quite an opening statement but think about the growth of the internet and the speed at which this has happened. The youth of today are your future customers and do you really think for one minute that this generation of consumers will find your business if you do not have a presence online or in some form on their mobile phones?
Your marketing activities today need to include some sort of online strategy in order to establish your business and brand in the digital world. Every day that you do not do this, your competitors further solidify their position and the more crowded the online space becomes as new businesses enter the market. Make internet marketing part of your business plan now and make sure your current and future customers can find your business and product or service offering online.
Do this right and you could have a few extra £000’s on the end of your bottom line!
But where do you start? What are some internet marketing strategies you can implement to increase your online presence and drive traffic to your website?
The 3 core, underlying elements you should think about when devising your online marketing strategy are:
- Acquisition – Drive traffic to your site
- Conversion – Convert the traffic into sales or leads or whatever conversion your site is geared towards.
- Retention – Turning visitors and customers into long term clients and maintaining contact.
So let’s take a quick look at each of these elements before you begin planning your internet marketing campaign:
The old saying from Abe Lincoln goes something like “If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree I’d spend the first 4 hours sharpening my axe!”
Thorough research is paramount to a successful campaign. Any internet marketing strategy needs to incorporate thorough research. You need to research the keywords, the competition and your audience so you can create an effective marketing campaign.
Audience – Where do they hang out both on and offline? You should hang out there too! Try to get a feel for the conversation going on in your niche.
- What are their problems and concerns?
- What topics touch a nerve with them?
- How old are they or is the age range very evenly spread?
- Are they mainly male or female?
- What are their other interests?
You can go on and on but basically you want to get to know your target market so you can deliver the content, products and services that they desire or that solves their problems.
Competition – Just remember your online competition could well be very different to your offline competitors.
- Who are the major players in your niche?
- Who regularly shows up on the first page of the search engines for relevant keywords?
- What do their sites look like?
- What colours are they using?
- What do you like and not like about their sites?
- What products and services are they selling?
- Do they have data capture forms to generate leads?
- What are their calls to action like?
- What social networks are they present on?
- How many pages does their site have?
- How long have they been online?
Keywords – Keyword research could be a whole topic in itself but basically you need to choose keywords that you have a chance of ranking on the first page for. This means that NO you can’t be number 1 for the word “Loans”!
Your keywords need to be relevant and should incorporate “buyer” keywords in the mix which is keywords where the person typing it in is ready to pull out their wallet. So if you have an electronics site and one of your products is digital cameras an example browser, researcher and buyer keyword might be:
Browser = Digital Cameras
Researcher = Best Panasonic Digital Cameras
Buyer = Cheap Panasonic DMC-S3EB-KA Digital Camera
Unless you have a huge budget and lots of resource then the keywords you will target are going to be a mixture of researcher and buyer keywords. Over time you may rank for some browser ones but start off looking at researcher and buyer keywords – these convert at a higher rate anyway!
You need to look at your products, services and content on your site and then group relevant keywords together that relate to each category (digital cameras, televisions etc etc) and then plan out your future content and onsite and offsite SEO strategy.
SEO – (Mainly New But Some Returning Traffic – Returning Probably Type In Brand Or Domain Related Keywords)
Search engine optimisation will enable your site to rank (hopefully) on the first page of the search results (Google) for keywords that are relevant to your business and product/service offering. SEO tends to be one of the “core” online marketing strategies and should be a part of any campaign. This is because if it ranks for relevant keywords then your site will likely receive free (not counting any SEO costs to a company or outsourcers) traffic for as long as it ranks, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
The SEO marketing strategy is pretty much open ended as you can always add more and more keywords to target but you will likely have a target “set” that you will focus your efforts on. These could be a spread of lower competition keywords across various categories or an all out focus on a particular area. Ultimately this will come down to time, resources and budget.
SEO has changed drastically over the years and no doubt this trend will continue so a good adaptable company is a must. Also you can now hurt your site and rankings from poor quality SEO so be more careful than ever when choosing a company or carrying out your own SEO. Great onsite content and optimisation, natural and ethical offsite link building and social activity and you should well be on your way to high rankings and traffic.
You can read more about onsite and offsite SEO in my other post.
PPC – (Mainly New Traffic)
Pay per click marketing strategies involve creating ads that display in the search engine results (like at the top or to the right) – Google AdWords and other search engines tend to offer this too – or on other people’s websites (Google’s display network and other ad networks) or even on social sites (Facebook ads). Mobile and video ads are also available.
With pay per click you are essentially buying traffic and paying to have your ad show up for relevant keywords. You only pay when someone clicks your ad and visits your site so you pay per visitor essentially. The trick is balancing the numbers (and creating high converting landing pages) to create a profitable campaign. You then monitor this regularly and filter out the keywords that do not perform while tweaking things like budgets and ad positions to make it run as efficiently and as profitable as possible.
If you want fast traffic then this is one method to get it but you will have to pay for it.
Social – (New/Returning Traffic & Retention)
Your business should have a Facebook page and Twitter account as a minimum. This is where you build and communicate with your audience and share things that they will be interested in along with any new posts on your site, news, developments, viral/funny stuff and anything else appropriate for your audience. People may only visit your website once but check their Facebook account every hour! If they like your Facebook page, you then have access to this person whenever you like as whenever you post to your page, they will see this in their timeline and could then visit your site again thus generating extra traffic.
If you have grown your audience then they will share and link to your content when you share it across your social networks. This is word of mouth advertising internet style! The social activity and natural links will also help your SEO marketing strategy.
Other accounts you could manage are Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Video – (New/Returning Traffic & Some Retention)
Youtube is one of the most popular search engines on the internet. If you created a Youtube channel and posted regular videos to it that were of interest to your audience or helped them then you would grow your subscribers and gain extra traffic from your videos showing up in a Youtube search and also in the search results or from other sites if a website owner has embedded the video on their site.
Email – (Retention & Conversion And Suppose You Can Count Returning Traffic)
You could have an opt in on your site so people can subscribe to your mailing list. You would then send out a mixture of helpful information, updates and sales pitches to improve the relationship of your list.
EBook – (New Traffic And Conversion)
You could create an ebook that provides useful information or a tutorial for your audience and then either make this available free with certain PLR rights or sell the ebook through your own site, a network or even Kindle. The reason you might consider making it available for free is so other people pick it up, share it and give it away creating a viral effect. In the ebook you will have links to your site and product offerings so you have an opportunity to generate traffic and sales from it.
Amazon, Ebay, Gumtree etc – (New Traffic And Conversion)
If you are a retailer then have you thought about expanding onto other platforms as oppose to just your website? You might want to look at setting up an account at Amazon and Ebay to further extend your reach, traffic and sales.
RSS – (New And Returning Traffic)
Really simply syndication allows people to subscribe to your site’s “feed” where any new posts you make on your site will be added to the feed that people can read thorough their readers. You can also submit your feed to various aggregator directories to gain even more exposure.
Affiliate Program – (New Traffic And Conversion)
One possibly underused internet marketing strategy is the use of an affiliate program. This is where you will offer a profit share per sale or lead to the person who referred the visit that converted into the sale. They will have their own unique url so you can see which affiliate made the sale and manage things accordingly. This can work well as you only pay them when you make a sale. They will send you traffic and this traffic, as well as generating additional sales could opt in to your newsletter or like you Facebook page so you now have another person you can contact regularly.
Google Maps & Location Based Search – (Mainly New Traffic But Also Some Returning)
Some niches have a lot of location based searches where the person typing in the keyword will add a location to it to try to find a business that covers their particular area. If this applies to you then get a Google maps position and start creating optimised pages for the locations you want to target.
Mobile & Apps – (New And Returning Traffic And Conversion)
Mobile is one of the fastest growing internet connections on the planet and is set to overtake desktop use in the next couple years. People making purchases, contacting companies and looking for businesses in their local area could all use a handheld device so consider a mobile marketing strategy as part of your overall online campaign.
A mobile version of your site should be a given with further thought of whether an app would be a viable option.
Webinar & Podcast – (New And Returning Traffic And Conversion If Geared Towards A Product Offering)
Would it be possible for you to conduct a webinar or video consultation either with yourself or a person from your company or an “industry expert”? These can make great viral marketing campaigns and capture the interest of your audience if the content is good. This will drive extra traffic and gain further brand recognition. You could even upload it to itunes either free or with a price tag!
Tracking & Testing
Whatever internet marketing strategies you choose to adopt, you should always have some sort of tracking set up so you can analyze your data and monitor the effectiveness of your campaign. Google analytics is the most commonly used and can give you lots of data such as traffic, conversions, visitor locations, time on site, bounce rate, top performing pages and much more.
Analyzing your data will allow you to refine your marketing campaign to focus and build on what works and ditch any non performing areas. You should do a monthly analysis as a minimum.
Choosing Your Internet Marketing Strategies For A Successful Campaign
- Research should be carried out exactly the same regardless of what online marketing strategies you employ.
Acquisition – you need traffic to acquire new customers.
- SEO (onsite and offsite) should be paramount with some sort of social presence such as Facebook and Twitter as a minimum (even if all you do is post updates and don’t actively engage with your audience).
- If you have the budget then consider PPC.
- Your website should be mobile optimized as best practice and this will become more important as time goes on.
- If location based search applies to your business then a selection of target locations are also a minimum.
- You can add some or all of the other strategies to this foundation to grow your campaign.
Conversion – This will be mainly achieved from your website pages as it is the job of the page to convert the traffic landing on that page into a lead or sale.
Retention – Your Facebook page and Twitter account will serve as the minimum retention strategy to keep a form of contact with past visitors and customers but feel free to add more.
Use these platforms to engage with these people and build a relationship with them. This will lead to trust, word of mouth and viral advertising and higher conversions among other benefits.
Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? That’s why business owners tend to employ agencies to handle their internet marketing strategies!