I’m sure you are already well aware of the importance of marketing a business – you may have even already had some success in promoting business offline, in the real world. As more and more businesses choose to take their operations online, internet marketing becomes increasingly influential.
The digital marketing industry is currently worth well over $62 billion and continues to grow at an exponential rate. Embracing it is critical to your business success.
The potential of online marketing knows no bounds. Let us look at some of the reasons why it is so important to your business.
How To Market Your Website
The whole reason for internet marketing is to increase product awareness. People that visit search engines or social media seeking a product or service as the ones offered by you will come across your name and logo and become interested in what you have to offer. Through various types of marketing, your brand can been seen by people from across the world and immediately associated with a company that can be trusted.
You have built a website and filled it with content so that people can find your products and services online.
Your website is the station and internet marketing is the train that brings the passengers – the more people that you have passing through your station, the better the likelihood of you attracting interest and closing sales.
Speaking of closing sales, that is your ultimate goal. By marketing online, consumers are given a more convenient way to shop. By taking away the need to physically visit a store, people are more likely to buy on impulse, which means more money in your pocket.
As a small business, you do not have the money to spend on glitzy television adverts or giant billboards. You need to be a little more mindful of your marketing budget and a little more strategic in how you invest your cash.
Internet marketing is one of the most cost-efficient advertising methods there is. You do not have to spend a penny marketing your business online if you don’t want to. Organic listings in Google and social media – the two most influential marketing platforms – are both completely free.
Unlike your brick and mortar premises, a website makes you available to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that buyers are not restricted by store opening times and lifestyles that prevent physical shopping.
Through your website and social media accounts, it becomes easier for customers to keep in touch. It also gives you a new way to reach consumers and build stronger relationships.
If someone is searching for a business online, he or she expects to find a website. As I spoke about in the introductory presentation, not having a website in this day and age is unacceptable. Maintaining an online presence through good marketing allows you to keep up with the times and cater to consumer needs round the clock.
So that’s the importance of internet marketing summed up; now how do you set about implementing a strategy?
There are dozens of ways to market your website online, but every method and technique must be built from the solid foundation of the three fundamentals:
- search engine optimisation
- content marketing
- social media marketing.
Get these foundations in place and you will be well on your way to establishing your website as a leading performer in its niche.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, transcends internet marketing. When people think about promoting their business online, SEO is the first thing that comes to mind. It is also the thing that marketers will spend the most time trying to perfect, and for good reason.
The top spot of Google is like the summit of Everest – everyone wants to get there, but only a few ever will.
In the first video, I mentioned a statistic: 93 per cent of all online experiences start at a search engine.
That stat alone sums up why SEO is so influential.
SEO has to be at the forefront of your marketing efforts. Fortunately, by providing great content, you are already well on your way to reaching the peak of the Google mountain.
A solid SEO strategy is built around good content structured to include relevant keywords, and by this, I mean keywords that are related to your business.
In the past, search engine rankings were based on keyword placement, density and how many times a keyword was used to link to a page. However, Google’s algorithm updates – first Panda, then Penguin and most recently Hummingbird – have changed how keywords are used.
Using the old methods, people were easily able to manipulate the search engines and produce content that was stuffed keywords but had little or no relevance to the reader. Google’s new focus on quality does not allow that.
Keywords now have to appear in content naturally, rather than being shoehorned in. The content must always appeal to the reader first and the search engine second.
If you are producing the sort of content I talked about in the last presentation, there is a good chance that most of your articles and blog posts will already feature the necessary keywords without you even having noticed.
Google’s main objective is to deliver results that best match the users search. Hummingbird has allowed it to do this by understanding the relationships among topics, videos, and themes, and how these all relate to each other. Search is more sophisticated than ever, so stuffing and density have become irrelevant as a result.
Keywords today are more conversational in nature. They are now the tools used to discover and uncover user intent, and every word in a query is important.
Performing keyword research to identify what users are searching and what terms you should be targeting is still important, but your focus should be on creating content that addresses issues and solves problems.
Produce good content on a regular basis that is easy to read and encourages sharing and backlinks (links your website receives from other webpages to indicate its popularity), and search engines will reward you for it.
In terms of placement, you should look to place keywords in titles, descriptions, and alt tags in images – just make sure that you do it naturally.
SEO can be a time consuming process at first and it can be a while before you see the sort of results you expect, but it is important that you stick with it.
Website content marketing has been used to great effect in building brands and inspiring confidence long before Tim Berners-Lee was even born. Newspapers and magazines have been using this marketing technique to great effect for years. As sales of old media diminish, these very same newspapers and magazines are putting their skills to good use online.
Content marketing used to be all about the promotion of articles, but the field has now expanded to include everything from blog posts to videos. Remember all of those different types of content I spoke about in the last presentation? All of those can be included in a content marketing strategy.
When it comes to promoting your content online and having people trace it back to your website, there is one fundamental rule: quality.
Quality is everything in content marketing. Readers will not accept anything less and if humans do not like something, search engines definitely won’t.
Content marketing is all about putting together the sort of error-free, factual, engaging copy that I introduced you to in the last presentation.
The most effective way of doing this is through guest blogging.
Following Google’s Hummingbird update, many marketers began to move away from guest blogging, fearing that a history of low quality content aimed solely at attracting backlinks had ruined it for everyone.
This was a mistake.
Yes, Google’s Matt Cutts has told everyone to stop guest blogging for SEO purposes and his company has waged war on aggressive marketers, but Google has never said anyone should stop producing content for guest blogs. Rather, make sure that the content being marketed is valuable and featured on reputable websites.
Guest blogging, and indeed content marketing as a whole, needs to be done for exposure, branding, increased reach, and community.
Forty-six per cent of people read blogs more than once a day, so if you can identify highly reputable websites in your niche that allow guest blogging, by all means approach them with some top-notch content.
Social Media Marketing
The third and final foundation of successful internet marketing is social media.
Social media is what brings search engine optimisation and content marketing together and it has quickly become the most popular way of sharing content.
Social media marketing is critical. Whatever type of content you produce, social media should be the first place you go to share it. Google now uses social network popularity as a ranking factor so having a healthy presence across a range of different sites will help push your website towards that cherished number one spot in search engine results pages.
Research shows that people are more likely to trust content that is shared from a person they know, and on social media, people know a lot of other people. Sharing your content with ten people can easily result in it being seen by ten thousand or even ten million – the audience potential of social media knows no bounds.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the big three sites to be on, but do not limit yourself to these channels. Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, and Vine all encourage sharing and all offer viral potential.
In order to market your content effectively you will need to take the time to interact with your fans and your community. Too many marketers get caught up in the belief that success is based on how many followers you have; hence the reason why countless services have sprung up offering to sell you 10,000 fans.
Effective marketing is a case of quality (there’s that word again) over quantity. You have to show the people that do follow and like your page that you are accessible and willing to answer questions or deal with complaints.
Run you social media accounts in a professional manner and people will soon begin to trust you. Additionally, you should make sure the content you share is interesting rather than promotional. If you have something to promote – which I have no doubt you will at some point – make sure you do it in an interesting way.
So, those are the three fundamental elements that a solid online marketing strategy must be built on. Understand and use these as the groundwork of your campaign and you will be able to effectively market your website.
With those elements in place, let us look at a few other useful ways to market your website.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click marketing, or PPC, advertising is paid advertising that can be used to great effect to bring relevant traffic to your website. PPC ads are those advertisements that feature at the top and to the right of Google search results, as well as on selected websites in the Google Display Network (websites that are affiliated with Google).
PPC works by you paying a fixed price for every click your ad gets in the search engine. Your goal after that is to turn a click into a conversion. Google AdWords is the most popular PPC platform and has no minimum spending requirement. You simply choose your keywords and phrases and Google will help get your ads in front of your audience.
Retargeting ads make use of tracking cookies to place ads on search engines and websites to encourage visitors to come back to your site. This marketing tactic works best on people that come to your site but leave without having purchased anything and gives them a gentle reminder of what they are missing.
Ninety-eight per cent of your traffic consists of people that visit your page without converting. Email marketing is used as a way to engage those people and give them a few compelling reasons why your products and services can benefit them. This type of marketing is one of the oldest internet marketing tactics there is and has been used for years with great success. Show people what they are missing and provide them with a reason to come back.
YouTube not only harnesses the power of video, which I spoke about in each of the previous presentations, it allows you to advertise on other people’s videos by targeting ads that are relevant to your business. A video does not always have to go viral (although that certainly does help); as long as it includes a call to action and a link to your website, the traffic will come.
So there you have it. It has been a long old journey, but hopefully a beneficial one. From not having a website and knowing of no reason to invest in one, you now have all the information you need to create an online presence and successfully market your business on the internet.
If you need any help or advice regarding the subjects covered, do not hesitate to get in touch.