“Online marketing is a nuisance,” my friend announced after failing to find success with his e-commerce site in the anticipated time window. It was then I realized that a large number of entrepreneurs are still unaware of how to use online marketing in even a basic sense. As the owner of a digital marketing agency, I have worked with hundreds of websites and business owners on all facets of their online presence. The prevalence of businesses with little or no online marketing direction is still surprising to me.
If you’re also finding it difficult to leave a mark online, try these six tips below.
Identify and Confirm Your Target Audience
No business can be successful until it knows its target audience. The name of your business, the URL, the tagline and even the theme of your website largely depend on your target audience. By developing a customer profile and researching member demographics, you can begin to formulate a relevant target audience and use this information to better customize your online collateral. Only then you can move to actually marketing to them.
Online marketing is not only about having a website, but about how you use it. Leverage high-quality and targeted content in a way that attracts visitors and keeps them on the pages of your site, while actively converting them into buyers and leads. Use strategically written content based on research and data, your target audience (the reader), design elements and SEO (keyword strategy). Doing so can demonstrate that your site is the best fit for the visitors’ needs.
Visual content is a great way to also establish your authority and qualify your business as the best resource for the visitor. Infographics, videos, and other visual assets can play a key role in keeping visitors on your site, conversions, and for improving SEO metrics like time-on-site and bounce rate, which correlate to better rankings.
Keep Mobile In Mind
If your business or service is large enough, look into creating a mobile app. This is an investment that can quickly pay off. First, successfully test your business model online with a website so that you have proof of concept. An app should include the streamlined versions of your service or product, oversimplifying and highlighting the key features people enjoy and use most. Don’t worry about PR or major media exposure for your app right away. Simply list it with relevant keywords, reviews and contact information in the app store to gradually build a loyal user base. By having a mobile app, you will be able to reach your audience in an easy and branded manner that allows you direct access into customers’ lives.
Promote Your Business
There’s no point in being online if you are not promoting your business. To start, plan to create high-quality content on your site, both in the form of blogs as well as your service and product pages. The higher quality and more user-informative content you place on your pages, the more people will find them in the search engines. Content planned using keyword research is generally far more effective at gaining a wider footprint in search engines. If content is the vehicle, keywords are the map. You can always research competitors that rank well and study how they implement keywords on their site.
Use Social Media
Over 78 percent of the U.S. population is on at least one social media platform. But how do you choose which platform to use? The best social media platforms largely depends on the nature of your business. For example, if you sell products related to photography, fashion and beauty, Instagram or Pinterest might be the best option for you. Similarly, LinkedIn is the best social media platform to reach business individuals. Try connecting with similar businesses who are already active on social media to learn how they utilize their social channels before you invest time or money in a platform. With a little research, you can put all your time and effort into the optimal channels for your vertical and maybe even develop a unique strategy based on what you have learned.
Keep an Eye on Numbers
Effective online marketing is largely a numbers game. There are seemingly endless metrics to know and track in order to optimize your online presence. Learning what they are and how to manage them takes time. You can use analytical tools like Google Analytics to get valuable data that will streamline much of this process. This will help you make better business decisions and website adjustments in order to maximize the user experience, conversions and ROI.
Remember that results take time to show and you may not start to make sales or conversions right away. Success online is usually a process that involves hard work and time. Once you reach your goal, you will have to maintain that status, but you will also be far more effective and able to outmatch the competition.