What makes online marketing strategies effective, especially for small businesses? In this post, we’ll cover the basics of how to build a marketing strategy online. We’ll cover a better perspective with a few online marketing strategies for small businesses to use.
Online Marketing Strategies: Does Your Business Need Them?
The average small business is in a bind. Let’s face it: The fast pace of marketing trends, technological skills and tools, and the competition can be overwhelming. This is why we feel that now is the best time to share our knowledge and experience. Digital marketing is more complicated than many professionals would like to admit, and sometimes it may seem you could never outperform top marketers. But if you know that digital marketing is important, that technology reigns supreme and wielding SEO the right way can provide results, you’re already on the right track.
Should I Hire A Marketing Professional?
Hiring a marketing agency or a freelance digital marketer or consultant who knows what they’re doing is a great start for edging out your competition. These professionals see marketing as their life’s work. A marketer who specializes in digital marketing—or online marketing—will have a thorough knowledge of how to build a strategy to attract new leads and generate revenue from an online platform, like your business website.
While marketing can’t be learned overnight, there are some shortcuts worth considering if you can’t afford to outsource your marketing. Here are some strategies for better online marketing:
1. Your Small Business Website
The foundation of any effective online marketing strategy is your website. Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, having a website of your own means you own the content and control it completely. You never have to worry about whether changes to some algorithm mean people won’t see your content (but that is where SEO comes into play; we’ll cover more on that later.)
Using a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress is a great starting point if you don’t already have a business website. What is WordPress? WordPress is a free, open-source website platform that you can run on your own hosting to quickly and easily create a website. While there are lots of website platforms out there, WordPress powers the majority of websites on the web.
What should you take into consideration when building a small business website?
With the prevalence of smartphones, an online marketing strategy won’t be effective if it don’t take mobility into account. Mobile is the state of the internet when it has no limit of location, access to the web, or data storage. Modern wireless technology has led your potential customers to use mobile devices more than stationary computers, so that’s why web-design is so important.
Mobile, however, requires a special way of reaching your consumer. Once these leads arrive to your site, how your web pages appear to them is crucial. Strategically, you need to customize how your web pages look for mobile users. Google states that readers leave within three seconds if a site doesn’t load, so always take mobile into account. Make sure your website theme is responsive and has a mobile-friendly design to automatically adjust to the screen size of your website’s visitors.
Landing pages are special pages that live on your website, designed for a singular purpose such as an email opt in or even a direct sale. You’ll want to utilize these special types of pages to make sure your website is converting. Landing pages can be easy to set up and design with the help of a WordPress landing pages plugin.
2. Email Marketing
Online users will check their inboxes, on average, about 15 times a day. This outnumbers the visits they’ll make to any given website. Email marketing leads in online marketing because it brings you to where your consumers are.
A few tips? Keep email marketing strategies personal. Don’t worry about chasing your consumer down just for a few clicks. You also have the advantage of writing and then submitting new content every time your leads are reached. Using email as a strategy is wise, but there are some things to know. Let’s see how we can make email marketing right for a small business.
Your Central-Content Pieces
Fresh content makes email intriguing and will keep your consumers interested. Put email aside if you only intend on saying hello to your leads. These readers should be targeted, which is to say that they must fit a consumer profile. You should know what they’re looking for and how to offer them a solution. Knowing what readers need gives you an objective view. Writing content is then easy. You’ll have a purpose for saying hello.
Once your content is relevant, polish each subject line to really get people’s attention. Take into account their pain, your solution and where you both can meet eye to eye.
Building an email list is one of your best sources of traffic to your website. It might be difficult to close each person—at the onset of your relationship with them. What’s important is that you set up a way of getting leads into an email-sales funnel. Often, that’s done with an opt-in page. By offering something of value to your readers, they’ll provide their email addresses to you.
A WordPress content upgrades plugin can help you offer content upgrades so visitors opt in to your mailing list. What is a content upgrade? A content upgrade is a unique type of email opt-in created for a specific blog post or page. In exchange for an email address, users are offered a download related to the post or page they’re visiting.
Nurturing Versus Selling
Just be aware: you need to nurture your relationships … especially your email relationships. Online products and services aren’t quite as straightforward as those found in our retail stores. Most of what we buy each day is the result of familiarity. You need to tell your leads a lot about who you are, what you do and how. This is how you nurture them before selling.
The single-most confusing part about email marketing is automation. With automation, the best marketers arm themselves for various lengths of time. Through automation, they rely on a large batch of content for later releasing. They do not attempt to write a message every week and then send it out. This is the secret. Start by creating a year’s worth of content, which is 52-different messages, and then send it out per week—via automation.
3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to organic traffic to your website. You might find it difficult to put enough pieces together for a real impact. With SEO, you can repurpose your marketing and rely on the slow, steady growth of internet traffic. The secret is to do SEO right. Search engines, websites and blogs rely on SEO more than any other feature.
Let’s take a quick look at what it takes and how it can boost your online traffic:
The Online Marketing Strategies of SEO
Search engines are databases. Some people find this surprising, but a search engine isn’t the actual internet. Google, for example, is located online, yet the actual web consists of a network that’s much larger. Search engines allow us to access things that are assumed to have a high degree of relevance and use. This technology has the ability to weed out the nonsense of the web and provide us with what we value. This is only possible with SEO, or search engine optimization.
After examining and then giving your content a rating, search engines can access data for a later date. If someone makes a request, hopefully your content falls inline with their needs. Search engines will know if your message aligns when you’ve helped the technology out a bit. You can help this technology by completing an SEO profile of your brand, website and its content. You have to speak the way search engines are listening.
Collecting a few words or phrases gives you an advantage when leveraging search engines. These are often called keywords. We consider researching your industry as the first step to take. Finding the right keywords is how you make a connection between the needs of the consumer and the ability of the search engines to link you both. Even with today’s technology, like social media and content marketing, keywords are as important as ever.
Want to learn more? Learn all about WordPress SEO with our free SEO training.
Use your keywords in a strategic way. You can start by structuring your content to display your key points without compromising the message of your posts. The title, the first 100 words, your subheads and anchor texts are where you want your keywords used. Focus on meaning, for with its sensitive opinion, the search engine is looking for keyword abuse. If you think that you’ll gain credibility by ALWAYS using a phrase, think again.
Keep your message true to its title and purpose. Use keywords only when they convey that message. This will keep your SEO integrity intact for the search engines.
Schema is an advanced method for small businesses to consider. Schema, though it accounts for less than one third of all websites, is listed with one out of every four websites in the top of Google search. Its credibility comes from an ability to directly communicate with the search engines. Though one site, for example, waits for its content to be crawled, a site with schema will directly send its data to the search engine.
In the end, search engines get a more thorough review of your website and its content. By simply having a better understanding of the info it receives, a search engine is more likely to recommend the things that it comprehends. You can work with a professional to help you use this code or go directly to schema.org. Look for tools created for small businesses and be strategic about how you label your brand, site or content.
Locations and Maps
Also known as local SEO, for through the growth of mobile, locations are being shown in search roughly 60 percent of the time. Forty percent of online users will specifically search with the hopes of finding the location of something. Optimizing for local search, however, isn’t only for businesses that have real addresses. Google can place your brand on its map even when you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store. Simply try local SEO.
4. Paid Advertisement
Small businesses overlook the obvious when measuring how effective paid advertisement can be. What they focus on, as if their businesses never have enough of it, is the money that they’ll spend. Financial fear is the first misconception to come along with advertising. The only time that advertisement is worth it is once you’ve confirmed the cost of your leads. Cost should never outweigh what each lead spends. Find out how effective your ad is with research and testing, which keeps things cheap.
Why Ads Work
Paid ads are worth considering because there’s no guess as to who will see them. Today’s technology puts you directly in front of the leads you choose. Simply find out who your most likely buyers are. Then, place them as the target for your ads. Your ads, no matter where they’re made live at, only appear in front of the people who matter. This is not just how you manage the cost; it’s also how you ensure that your campaigns convert.
Pay per click is a standard option for managing the cost, distribution and targeting of your ads. Targeting is limited to who and where your ad is shown. Google uses keywords as its targeting method. By paying for a specific word or phrase, you’ll then get the rights to its traffic. This means that anyone using your matched phrase in Google’s search ends up seeing your ad. You’ll only pay once those people click on your advertisement.
Social Media Ads
Social media is becoming an influential market for placing your ads in. This has to do with how social media content is presented. Unlike search engines, which display data from the web, a social media newsfeed, ideally, shows data from your friends and family. Your data will blend in. You can send ads this way if you want a different angle when reaching your leads.
Your biggest advantage, even when without marketing industry experience, is leveraging the power analytics. Today’s analytics software generates the finest analytics data we’ve ever known, something most marketers didn’t have access to several decades ago. We can better follow our leads, collect their demographics and give them a lead score within a matter of minutes. Believe the data within your analytics and compile it for a historical presentation.
Analytics bring together all of your other online marketing strategies into one bigger picture so you can make better decisions. Which pages are bringing in the most traffic? Look at ways to optimize those pages more with email opt-ins or special offers. Is there a search query that brings in traffic you didn’t expect? Consider writing additional content to connect your product offering to what people are searching for and finding you.
Learn more about Google Analytics with our Google Analytics training course.
The Future of Online Marketing Strategies
Consider tying all of these pieces together as you improve your online marketing strategies. Small businesses, when they can’t afford an agency’s digital-marketing services, need to be creative and proactive. Modern CRMs are software packages that can organize your online marketing for you. These systems have the ability to generate leads, organize them into a list, syndicate content, and help with keyword research and track conversions. Staying on track with your online marketing is one of the best ways you can help your small business succeed.
Each week, the team at iThemes team publishes new WordPress tutorials and resources, including the Weekly WordPress Vulnerability Report. Since 2008, iThemes has been dedicated to helping you build, maintain, and secure WordPress sites for yourself or for clients. Our mission? Make People’s Lives Awesome.