Marketing. Plenty of starting businesses hate that word and online marketing can be even more challenging. As there are websites and competing businesses in just about every niche imaginable, using marketing to stand out from your online peers can seem to be an incredible challenge. This is especially so if you don’t have that much money to put into your marketing budget.
But there are plenty of tips which any online business can use to market their business no matter their financial situation. Here are five tips to develop a successful online marketing strategy.
1. Don’t forget your audience
This is the simplest, yet most important tip of all as market research is essential to marketing. Are there particular demographics you are trying to attract? What websites does that demographic frequent? What qualities will they be looking for when they look at your product and how can you show your product has those qualities?
These are just a few questions which any online business should know the answer to before they plan a marketing strategy. Come up with a few, good open-ended questions and then conduct your own market research. Be social and ask customers for their thoughts and check what people are saying about your company on social media. This will help you identify your weaknesses and know what your marketing strategy should look like.
2. Look into Content Marketing
Instead of buying ads on Google or designing some complicated website, you can set up a simple blog or Instagram detailing little facts about your business. You can take a humanist approach which shows your business as being a warm and friendly place, or discuss the ins and outs of the industry in a more technical fashion. As noted above, you have to know what your targeted audience is like and then create content that will cater to them.
Content marketing is more inexpensive compared to traditional appraoches, but it is challenging. You will need to update your content regularly, think of interesting things to say all the time, and create well-crafted blogs or videos to attract people to your website. If you are interested in learning more about content marketing, then the Content Marketing Institute is a great place to start.
3. Get active on social media
Even if you create the greatest blog post ever, it does not matter if no one actually reads it. Places like WordPress are a good way to set up content marketing, but content marketing must be tied into a social media marketing campaign to get it out to potential readers.
But an active social media strategy does not mean creating a business account on every social media website. Focus on one of the major social websites and slowly spread out to the others, once you have a reliable following on your first website. Facebook is probably the default choice, but you can use LinkedIn if your business is more formal and professional and Instagram or Pinterest if your business is more casual. And avoid Twitter.
Social media marketing strategy is a major field, and this article can provide additional hints on what to do.
4. Understand the importance of SEO
A sound social media strategy is very important, but Google remains one of the biggest tools which new customers can use to discover your business. For that reason, it is important to have a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Remember that Google tracks and ranks websites by how many other pages are linking to them. This means that you want to link to other pages so that those websites may link back to you. You also need to update your content regularly. If you do, then others will link to the new articles and videos you produce, getting your website higher on search rankings.
Dieter Hsiao, CEO of Mezzologic, believes that companies must take a holistic approach to link building, which means collecting links from multiple channels.
“It’s maximizing a company’s web presence, ensuring that customers can easily find and obtain the information and resources they need – and making it simple and enjoyable to research and buy the company’s products,” says Hsiao.
While there are small tricks you can use to improve your SEO rating like links and consistently using major keywords, understand that the best way to get high on a Google search is to come out with consistent, quality content. I cannot emphasize enough how important content and content marketing can be for any online strategy.
5. Cater to mobile customers
We know that people are using their mobile phones to go online and conduct business more than ever, but we still underestimate just how much. An April 2016 report from comScore indicates that 65 percent of digital media time is now spent on mobile.
Consequently, any business must have a mobile strategy. This means that it is necessary to design your website so that it is easily navigable by mobile users. It may be a good idea to create a separate website for mobile users, especially if your small business is a retailer or restaurant. Also look at getting less information in every web page – while people may be spending more time on mobile compared to desktops, they still spend less time per page compared to desktops.
At bare minimum, creating a website which is difficult to access and navigate with a mobile will slow traffic down to your website. Make sure that potential problem is fixed.
Featured photo credit: SEO Planter via flickr.com