What Should You Be Doing?
It’s not enough to just have a bright and shiny website. The old adage ‘build it and they will come’ just doesn’t apply when it comes to getting your website and your business seen online. You have to have the latest of marketing buzzwords, you have to have a strategies, and specifically internet marketing strategies.
Whatever your website designer or developer told you about how just having a great, new, all singing, all dancing website and this alone being your highway to business greatness, this was far from the truth. The hours of planning your website, the structure, the user experience, the copy, the images and the important widget that takes you to the top of the page again are nothing to what comes next. This is where the real hard work starts.
You’ll obviously already know who your clients or customers are, where they hangout, where they shop, what car they drive, where they live and how much they earn – you do know this don’t you? So now you’ll know what your unique sales proposition (usp) is and how you need to talk to and attract these people – won’t you?
Now you’ll need to put all of this knowledge into some kind of internet marketing strategy (or ’plan of action’ or ‘online marketing plan’ if you prefer to remove some of the marketing jargon). To complicate matters more, you’ll also need to think about inbound marketing and outbound marketing, do you need one or the other, or a combination of the two? More about inbound and outbound marketing in another insight.
There are dozens of different types of internet marketing strategies, but or now, let’s take a look at a few things you might want to consider within your own marketing strategy;
There are many internet marketing strategies and there is no set order to which you should use or in which order, so let’s start with content marketing. It’s another of the current marketing buzzwords, but none the less, a very important one. You obviously need to put some kind of content out there, but what?
You laboured long and hard over your website copy, but that will be nothing compared to what you’ll be producing over the coming year if you really want to attract people into your lair (sorry – website). Content really is King. Without the King the followers have no one to follow, no one to turn to for help, advice, guidance and… you get the picture. You need to become the King (or Queen) of your business or profession. Great content can make you the King, and as ruler, you’ll be above your competitors when someone needs your services and who wouldn’t want the services of the people at the top of their profession?
So what kind of content could work? Well, blogs. Blogging may seem passé, but it’s a quality way to deliver your quality content to your soon to be quality clients. Blogs are a fantastic way to express your company values, beliefs and your knowledge, as giving away your knowledge (not everything, but enough) and helping people is a sure-fire way to connect with your future clients.
As part of your blogging you’ll also be using images and perhaps infographics. We process images much faster than reading copy, so hooking them in with the right pictures will encourage them to read what you have to say – it’s that simple!
Finally, you may be looking at video content. This is where we get a little controversial. Regardless of what other people say, video is not the be-all-or-end-all of content and should be used in the right context and be as professionally produced as you can afford if you and want to use it. Yes, we are in the age of the home content producer, but would you use a service from someone on TikTok dancing their way through a home video sales pitch – probably not!
Personally, childsdesign’s opinions of how well video works for the majority is open. We see a lot of Google Analytics for websites and a lot of sites have video on them. When you look at the amount of time spent on any one page containing video it is often quite high, but when you look at the number of views the video has had, the numbers don’t match up – a page that has 2+ minutes spent on it with a 30 second video looks promising, but drill down and the page has had 3500 views of which less than 2% of visitors have actually watched the video.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is often seen as some kind of black art and like most occult practices comes with a heavy price. Well things have changed, the ravens have flown, the cauldron of keywords has been spilt and just being a real person with real world (and word) content can easily be enough to give you the visibility and high Google positioning that once could only be dreamt of. Search engine optimisation should form a large part of your digital marketing strategy.
Some marketing people don’t see SEO as an internet marketing strategy, but it really is. Knowing what people are actually searching for and the words that they use in those searches is crucial to your online success. If you’re being told by your web designer that it’s all about how it looks, ask them how are people going to find your website? If you have a content managed system (CMS) within your website, built in something like WordPress then you’ll have all of the tools and control you need to do everything yourself to a good level using specific SEO plugins – remember though, just because the plugin says it’s green, what shade of green is?
Most people can get relative success working on their own SEO. But a few first page, top 10 listings for un-researched keywords can often be vanity rather than reality. We’ve seen plenty of websites ranking on page one for specific search terms, but when researching have had to tell the website owner that, for all the hard work they’ve put into ranking highly is for a term, it’s searched once or twice a month, so traffic won’t be high and it really is niche!
This doesn’t mean that you should only be looking at terms that have thousands of searches each month. Competition will be high for those terms, and, if you’re thinking you’ll get around the competition using paid search, well, the chances are many others are already trying that and pushing up the price for those paid ad spaces – perhaps it’s time to start thinking differently about your internet marketing strategies and look at alternative ways that will often give better results and better website traffic.
If you aren’t capturing data from prospective clients on your website then why do you even have a website? Capturing a prospective client’s email details and them allowing you to send them an email is a big step in the right direction to getting that new client.
One of the best internet marketing strategies when it comes to email marketing is sending to people that already know you. It doesn’t have to be all about new customers or clients though, don’t forget about all of those you already work with, supply service or sell products too – this low-hanging space is often overlooked, but as a part of a digital marketing campaign you could get some instant results just by informing these people about the things you have that they aren’t currently purchasing from you.
Depending on your approach or strategy you may send a straight text email or you may send an html email, all singing (the right tune) and dancing (the right steps – getting them to call you for an appointment perhaps). Rather than sending directly from your computer you’d be advised to use a CRM or Customer Relations Management system. This will allow you to send out in high volumes (depending on your email list size) and importantly, track who opened your email and what interested them enough that they clicked on it and went to your website – you now know a little more about that potential customer.
There are many CRM systems out there to suit all needs. Mailchimp is one such system that is popular with both small and large businesses. It’s of special interest to small businesses as it’s free to use for emailing lists of up to 2000 entries with ample free email capacity each month. The system gives plenty of detail and stats about the emails you send and you can use either their own templates or you can create your own (which we’d recommend as part of your overall branding) html templates.
Social Media Marketing
We’ve left this until the end as it really does incorporate all of the above and would take up a vast number of posts on its own to even get near to touching the tip of the iceberg.
If you are looking for a digital marketing strategy for a brand, social media is no longer the new kid on the block, it’s now firmly on the list of internet marketing strategies and not the ‘my kids use it’ space it once was seen as. A social media strategy should definitely be a part of your overall marketing strategy and online marketing plan. Now more than ever, social media marketing has become the biggest driver of qualified traffic to your website. Social media marketing has the ability to lift your brand profile high above your competitors and if you’re a small business, to take on the big boys and girls and get to the clients and customers first.
Remember though, social media isn’t about posting pictures of your breakfast (unless you’re a breakfast cereal producer). Posts need to be intelligently constructed, reflect your brand and brand values, connect with your customers and potential customers and be a part of your overall digital marketing campaign to get any results at all. Social media for brands is about attracting, retaining and responding.
Responding is the bit most marketers aren’t good. There are still too many people that believe they’ll get sales just because someone has reacted to a social media post. Yes, it does happen, but just like the majority of business, your brand needs to interact with those that interact with you. How you interact is a good reflection of your brand and the service that might be expected – no reply, no customer service. Every connection, follow, share or like is a potential sale – do something with it!
So, What Next?
Well, if you think you know your customers and clients then that’s great. If you’re unsure or haven’t reviewed their profiles in some time then it might be worth taking a new look. If you don’t fully understand who you are marketing too then it’s unlikely that your internet marketing strategies or digital marketing campaigns will bring in any results.
Next, take a look at your website. Take a look at your analytics, see what the profiles of the visitors are (if your target audience is business professionals aged 45+ in the hospitality sector and your key visitors are 12-15 year olds interested in make-up, it’s a sure sign that you’re attracting the wrong visitors). Review your bounce rate – to high with a high volume of visitors then something is wrong. Is your content up to date? Does it give vistors everything they need to make an informed enquiry or purchase? Is it easy to contact you?
Carry out a website audit to see how the search engines see you. An audit will highlight areas of your website build that need attention and you should also review how your website is aligned to your internet marketing strategies.
Carry out an SEO audit. This isn’t about the build of your website, this is about the words you use and how you use them – again, do they align with your internet marketing strategies. Are they the right words? Could you have greater impact using different words? Are they presented the way that the search engines want them to be (it’s no good thinking that you don’t want to do what Google wants, if you want to be found, you need to do some of the things they expect or your competitors will win out).
An SEO audit will show you a lot more than just words. You can carry out a competitor audit too, to find out where they might be showing up more successfully than you.
Finally, if you are already carrying out any form of online marketing plan, then reviewing honestly how it’s working and the results that it’s bringing in needs to be done. If you’ve changed any of the above then your plan will have changed, it may even change which online marketing strategies you use – not all strategies are right for all businesses. If you’ve not changed any of the above and your marketing efforts aren’t getting the results you want then stop blinkering your self – throw your current strategy away and start a fresh!
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