In today’s world, online marketing is a powerful tool that could determine the success of a business. Many newly-founded businesses don’t know and will never know the ways of traditional marketing. For them, online marketing is a reality. It’s a way to reach customers, it’s a way to promote and sell.
To gain success in online marketing, you have to first understand the basics of online marketing, and the possibilities this approach provides. Then you need to learn how to take advantage of everything that is at your disposal to improve your business even further. The following practices can help you achieve that.
Create valuable content
It’s all about the content these days. Content has become a central point of online marketing and thus it’s one of the best ways to boost your online marketing strategy. Here’s how content helps you with online marketing:
- It generates traffic (SEO)
- It helps you reach social media users (social media marketing)
- It’s a part of email campaigns (email marketing)
- It’s used in online promotions (SEM)
- It’s used to get new subscribers (lead generation)
You should embrace the power of content whenever possible in order to improve your strategy and online business. To make sure that your content strategy is really working for you and not against you, follow these guidelines:
- Original content helps you create credibility
- Posting content regularly while maintaining the same standards helps you gain trust and loyalty
- Storytelling is a process of involving the audience deeper into the topic
- Targeted content is created with a special target group in mind, appealing to their needs and questions, all of which is based on understanding the group and being able to identify with them
- Content is not valued in terms of how long (or short) it is
- Quality of content is more important than quantity
- Content should be accurate, authentic and engaging
Explore other forms of content
When mentioning content, the first association most people have is a blog, i.e. written content. This is completely logical, because most of the content shared online is in fact written content. There is one perfectly good reason for this – it’s easier to make it. Easier doesn’t refer to the effort involved because writing is really a hard work, and sometimes it takes hours and days to research a topic, to get creative with the words and fine-tune everything before it’s ready for publishing. However, there aren’t many technical aspects and additional work involved apart from writing itself.
With other types of content, such as videos or podcasts, you need to posses several additional technical skills to be able to produce such materials in the first place. Apart from the time needed to create content, you’ll need time to adapt this content to a particular format, regardless if that’s a video or a graphic. It’s not enough to come up with content that you’ll be presenting in a video, but you also need equipment to record it as well as skills to edit the video and prepare it for publishing. Besides requiring additional skills, this process also requires more time, which is why a lot of websites tend to stay in the safe zone and stick to the written content.
Obviously, this is your chance to do something different and stand out from the crowd. Take advantage of different content formats and you’ll see that this will help you boost your online marketing strategy. Start a podcast, host a webinar, create a video, or simply design a graphic. You’ll notice that investing time and gaining skills for producing content that stands out is well worth the effort.
Improve your web design
Another, equally important aspect of improving online marketing is your website. This is your online presentation, and as such, it needs to highlight the right aspects of your business. This is the place where you make contact with potential customers and you only get one chance for making a great first impression.
There are two components of web design you should consider. First, there’s the technical part. This includes having a responsive design, and all the plugins, pop-ups as well as other features working properly. It all comes down to the website being fully functional. There should be no errors or broken links, and the website should load fast. Basically, a website should be fully operational and easy to navigate.
Then we have a visual part of web design. Besides functioning properly, the website should also look nice. Utilize custom template design, images, videos, different fonts and styles for different segments as well as smart layouts to highlight the most valuable content and the most important services your business provides. What you need to think about here is the user experience and how the users will perceive your content. You should provide enough information about your business, your services, etc. and when a visitor loads your page, it should take less than 3 seconds to figure out if the content/website matches what he or she is looking for. In general, different industries require different layouts, because they want to highlight different things. This is why it’s best to think about your business and how the website design can help you successfully present it.
Optimize your website for mobile
Mobile optimization is absolutely necessary part of online marketing nowadays. Not only will you be missing out if you’re having a website that isn’t mobile-friendly, but you can, in fact, get penalized by search engines for this. Your website has to be able to resize pages automatically when viewed from mobile devices, allowing a perfect user experience on any type of device. Last year, mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic, so a majority of your website visitors will surely be visiting from a mobile device.
The following tips can help you a lot with mobile optimization: 10 Tips for Mobile Web Design Optimization.
Become an influencer
Building influential brand is a sure way to establish yourself on the market. Chances are you are not the only one selling that specific product or service, or the only blogger writing about a certain topic. However, what you need to work on is your brand and building a reputation in your niche. The aspect of influence has been even more analyzed in influence marketing, a whole new sector of online marketing devoted solely to practical ways and methods of building influence online. Here are a couple ideas to have in mind:
- Building influence takes time
- You need to choose the niche where you will be building influence
- Social media is one of the best ways to establish the influence
- It is recommended to use a personalized approach, i.e. an actual person communicating with the target group
- Before gaining influence, it is necessary to earn trust and credibility
Connect with people online
The foundation of the online world is communication and connections. To be able to leverage the power of internet marketing, you have to become a part of a community. You have to identify yourself online, create a persona and then connect with people. This connection can be done in numerous ways. You could chat with social media followers through live chat streaming. You could ask questions and answer doubts through comments on Facebook or Twitter. You could organize AMA (ask me anything thread) on Reddit. You could communicate through emails. Finally, you should use your blog to connect with your target group with highly personalized blog posts and powerful CTAs (call to action) which will encourage the visitors to participate in the discussion using the comments section. Each opportunity to interact with your target group is an opportunity to make that bond even tighter. It’s a chance to build your influence and gain loyalty.
The importance of personalization has been strongly highlighted as a necessary part of improving the online marketing game. When connecting with people, try:
- To address them by their name
- To use your own name as a signature
- To answer in a timely manner
- Not to speak in general
- Not to use the same old template
Keep up with the technology
Online marketing is changing rapidly. With new software releases, new updates of the existing apps and new practices being introduced, there’s a lot to keep up with. However, every online marketer needs to be well-informed and to know about how technology and recommended practices change over time. Using online marketing to actively promote your business means that you never stop learning about the online marketing.
Perhaps the best way to do this is by following an influential blog. Many online marketing blogs post regularly about the changes and trends you need to keep an eye on. Another way to keep up is to be active on social media.
Use the power of Google
Google offers a wide range of tools to help you with online marketing. From Google AdWords with organized paid campaigns to Google Analytics used for monitoring your website’s performance, these tools are designed in a way so that they are user-friendly. The method of boosting your digital marketing with Google tools is going to make a true difference, so it’s well worth experimenting with.
Here is the list of Google tools you should be using to help you with online marketing efforts: 15 Google Marketing Tools You Should Be Using.
Embrace social media
Social networks are fundamental for online marketing. They help you with content distribution, lead and traffic generation, and they also help you build your brand and influence. Instead of being doubtful, look at social networks as something permanent and omnipresent that you need to embrace. Use them to your advantage by communicating with your target group or simply presenting your services. Use them to promote your business with paid ads or to check out your competitors’ profiles and what they’re doing.
Leverage the power of the CTA
Your online marketing strategy has a certain goal. Regardless if that is a sale, a visit or an RSVP, when you design a strategy, you need to have a specific goal in mind. You can use different media to achieve this goal, such as email, blog, social media, website, guest post, etc. What they all have in common is that same goal, which can be achieved by leveraging the power of the CTA.
A CTA (call to action) is a button inviting the online visitor to complete a certain action, the one that has been marked as your goal. By designing an online strategy, you need to encourage the click on the CTA, which will urge people to take action, regardless what that action might be.
Use paid advertising
There is no doubt that a lot can be achieved with organic or so-called unpaid reach both in search engines and social media. However, paid advertising can help you go beyond and reach people using advanced targeting options. The process of advertising in search engines and social media starts with designing an ad. The ad should contain keywords for which you are bidding. These keywords should also be related to your website. You also need a CTA that encourages clicks. Beside a text ad, the most common format used, think about visual elements, especially when it comes to social media advertising. The use of images and videos can make your ad quite distinctive and memorable.
Monitor and analyze everything
Monitoring is the way to complete every online marketing strategy. Every time you try to boost your online business with one of the tactics, make sure you finish up with monitoring and analysis of your efforts. This helps you:
- Learn more about your business
- Learn more about your audience
- Figure out what kind of an approach works best in terms of increasing conversions, visits, etc.
- Determine the steps you need to take for improving your business in the future
The final thought
You should always look for different ways to improve your business, and nowadays, online marketing is certainly a way to do so. Analyze the approach you are currently using, and figure out which of these methods could be applied to your business. You might want to work more on building your influence. You might want to try out different types of content. Or perhaps, you haven’t thought about paid advertising so far, but believe it could be something worth exploring. To begin with, choose one of these methods and then break it down. Determine goals, establish the approach you’ll be using, set up the budget and metrics to analyze.
Online marketing has a great potential, and you can never be sure where the road might take you. New actions might not yield results at first, but they can also take you beyond what you ever thought was possible and help you expand the horizon for your business.