Marketing online is much more than opening a website or starting a social media account. While it is true that these things can help you reach your audience, there’s an art to bringing in new visitors. Too many business owners have the idea that an online presence will bring in sales or new clients within a few minutes of creating a website, when in reality, takes time to build a presence. Check out the following tips that will help you get the most out of your online marketing efforts.
1. Check Out Your Competition
No matter what type of business you run, there’s competition. While you may think you have the newest product or service, someone out there has a similar idea or product. It is very difficult to come up with something that has no alternatives in the market. Take the time to look at the people or companies you know or can find that have similar products. See what they are doing, how people are reacting, and take lessons from their efforts. Don’t copy directly, but there’s nothing saying you can’t try out some of their “moves.”
Not sure where to start? Look for keywords associated with what you’re selling. Plus these into a Google search, then find out who your competition is. By using Google AdWords and their keyword tool you may find new keywords that are working for your competition. It’s all about turning your competition’s success into your success (and avoiding their pitfalls!).
2. Start a Blog
Blogs aren’t just about sharing what you had for breakfast. While many blogs began as personal digital diaries, today blogs are used to inform and educate. The best use for a blog in your marketing efforts is to educate your potential customers. Tell them about your product or service. Let them know what you can do for them. Blogs can hold information, articles, pictures, and are a great place to showcase videos.
A video blog or a vlog is a blog that uses mostly videos to speak to an audience. Don’t make internet commercials – create videos that introduce you, your product or service, and your staff to your target audience. People are more likely to purchase from a company they feel they know, even if it is just through video.
3. Clean Up Your Site
Remember old websites from the 1990s and early 2000s that had flashing colors, scrolling text, and auto-play music? Make sure you avoid these at all costs. Today’s websites are slick, clean, and easy on the eyes. Anything that auto-plays is a huge annoyance and is likely to cause people to leave your website before it finishes loading.
An important part of marketing is to present a professional image. Even sites dedicated to humor usually have a pleasing design. Navigation should be simple. Don’t frustrate your visitors as they try to find content. Keep your contact information on a side bar or a dedicated page. Push old information off the front page, but keep a list of your most popular posts or pages. Also, do not cover your page with advertising.
4. Content is Everything
Why are people visiting your site? If you have nothing to give them in terms of information, education, or entertainment, why will people stay? While your site or marketing efforts do not need to be an encyclopedia, it’s very helpful to have good quality content. If people are trying to learn about your product, give them what they want. Your content needs to be relevant to your product or service. Don’t fill your site up with unrelated content that covers just anything with no purpose – the only thing you’ll end up doing is confusing your readers.
5. Place a Goal
What are your goals? If you don’t know what it is that you’re trying to achieve, neither will your potential clients. Make a game plan and stick with it. This doesn’t mean that you must be rigid in your marketing, rather make a plan that is fluid.
When you choose a marketing goal, create a plan that includes ways to change. For example, if placing your site or business in local directories doesn’t bring enough traffic, try larger regional directories. Step up your marketing efforts every few months or if you need, downgrade.
In the end, it’s important to remember – marketing is a trial and error game. You can only fail if you never try.