The internet is an essential part of business today. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, an online presence is expected.
Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, an online presence is expected. Anytime I want to look for information on a local store, I search it online first.
No matter your business, the internet is vital. Not only can it help you with local search, but it can also help you access markets all over the world. If you want to grow your business and remain relevant, online marketing is essential.
As you grow your presence, here are five types of online marketing to make sure you include in your planning:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
First of all, it helps if people can find you. They need to be able to locate your products and services with a few keystrokes. This is where SEO comes in handy.
SEO is all about making sure your website is visible to search engines and optimized to show that you are applicable.
This isn’t about putting up a bunch of content that doesn’t do much and is stuffed with keywords. That sort of thing worked alright 12 years ago when I first started writing online. Since then, search engines have become more sophisticated. You can’t just keyword-stuff your way to top rankings.
Instead, you need to figure out what keywords people are most likely to search in relation to your products and services. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, your SEO strategy should include your locale. Work to use meta-data and other methods to show that your site is the right fit for someone searching for what you offer.
2. Content Marketing
This type of online marketing is all about how you use content to position yourself and your business. Adding content to your site can also be part of your SEO marketing strategy. Many of these strategies go hand-in-hand.
Different types of content accomplish different things as you move forward. Hitting on the types of content most likely to help you reach your goals and attract customers is important.
If you sell products, it makes sense to create video reviews and tutorials of what you offer. If you want to be a thought leader, you can also consider creating white papers to offer to others. Your blog content is also considered a form of online content marketing. It should be designed to be useful and informative.
No matter what type of content you create, it’s important to make sure that it serves a purpose and adds value for your customers and potential customers.
3. Social Media Marketing
Very few of us are actually excited at the prospect of social media marketing. However, this aspect of online marketing can’t be ignored.
A large percentage of your potential customers are likely to use social media. They might be interested in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, or any other type of social media. You need to meet them there.
You don’t have to be everywhere, though. Consider your customers. Where are they most likely to spend their time? If your audience is more likely to be on Pinterest and Facebook, and rarely goes anywhere else, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on Twitter.
You also need to recognize that you might need to spend money on your social media strategy. Online marketing isn’t free. Some of the most successful social media campaigns are the result of paid marketing. While it’s nice to think that you can get a lot of organic clicks and go viral without paying anything, the reality is that those types of successes are rare.
Don’t forget to incorporate your content strategy into your social strategy. One of the best ways to use online marketing is to create interesting content that is shareable. Then, you can use your paid social strategy to get that content in front of more eyeballs.
4. Email Marketing
Believe it or not, email marketing is not dead. It’s still an important part of an online marketing strategy. Building your email list allows you to directly reach people who want more communication with you.
Your email marketing plan should be designed to encourage people to return to your website and keep you top of mind.
Additionally, the right campaign can also help you target customers who want access to special deals and promotions. You can offer special sales and coupons, and give discounts to those on your list.
In order to be successful, though, you need to offer value. Your emails should be relevant and provide something that your customers and potential customers want. Information contained should be of value, and provide them with something they can use, whether it’s a special deal or inside insight into an issue or product.
Carefully think about your email marketing as you prepare your online marketing campaign. Make sure it coordinates well with the other areas of your marketing strategy.
5. Conversion Tactics
Finally, don’t forget about adding conversion tactics to your online marketing campaign.
Once you start drawing people to your website, you need to be able to close the sale. That means optimizing your website for conversion.
You need to make it easy and natural for visitors to complete the action you want for them. Whether it’s buying something or signing up for your email list, it’s important to use tactics that encourage them to buy.
Website navigation should be intuitive and it should be easy for potential customers to complete a transaction. Even in your content, you can include buttons that take customers to products that you highlight.
When you bring someone from an email or social media network, make sure that they come to a page that is optimized for conversions. Plan it out carefully so that visitors are more likely to complete an action. You will see your sales rise and your profits grow when you take the time to optimize for conversion as part of your online marketing strategy.
Bonus: Don’t Forget Personal Branding
While you’re at it, don’t forget about the personal branding aspect of online marketing.
Even though you might want to keep things separate between you and your business, the reality is that most of us are personal brands now. We are expected to be genuine and be ourselves.
While you don’t want to make your business all about you, it can make sense to be a little more visible and approachable.
You can also include your personal branding in your content strategy. Set yourself up as an expert or thought leader, and publish your work on other websites. This allows you to reach more people, widen your audience, and gain credibility.
You don’t have to go so far as to have a bunch of social media accounts and a ton of thought leadership posts, though. Even doing something as simple as getting involved in your local Chamber of Commerce or submitting the occasional relevant op-ed to your local newspaper can be a big help to building your reputation and visibility.
Online marketing and offline marketing are both parts of your strategy to improve your sales and grow your business. Make sure you integrate your efforts and create a plan that allows you to make the most of all your ad dollars.