If you are more of a traditional marketing expert, it may be time to brush up on your online marketing knowledge. It’s an area of marketing specialisation that is definitely here to stay. With ever increasing web usage (from 11% of the developed world in 1996 to 77% in 2013), online marketing may one day overtake traditional marketing altogether. As with all trends, it is better to be an innovative, early-adopter, than try to play catch-up once it’s too late.
Before we launch into how you can ensure your online marketing strategies are effective, let’s take a quick look at what online marketing actually is.
What is online marketing?
The simple definition is: techniques and strategies implemented by businesses to market, promote or advertise their products, services or brand online. It includes a whole range of tools and techniques: search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, social media, online and mobile advertising, pay-per-click advertising, digital marketing and content marketing. That’s just to name a few. New tools and strategies are being developed every day.
Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s launch into our top eight tips on how to make your online marketing program as effective as possible.
Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
As marketing professionals, you know that this element is true of any marketing campaign. Before embarking on any online marketing, work out what it is that sets you (or your service, or product, or brand) apart from the competition. What is your differentiator? It might that you offer 24 hour service, or the best quality product, or the most innovative project management system. Whatever it may be, your website and online marketing strategy must highlight your differentiator.
Define Your Audience
Know who it is that you want to engage. Again, this is true of all marketing campaigns. A campaign aimed at octogenarians is obviously going to be hugely different to one that is trying to entice teenage girls. The online communication tools, messages and content all need to be designed to appeal to your audience. If you audience is fragmented, consider creating profiles for each segment. Then, identify the most applicable online marketing strategy for each.
Don’t Push the Hard Sell
This can be problematic. Particularly if you have a sales background. But it is vital. Today’s consumers are savvy. They can smell a hard sell a mile away. They won’t sign up for e-marketing campaigns that push products down their throats. You can’t force them to click on landing pages that sell, rather than engage. Instead, you need to gain their trust. The best way to do this: deliver value. Offer your customers educational, informative or entertaining content. It will increase your website traffic, and generate and convert leads. It will establish you as an expert in your field. And who wouldn’t want to do business with an expert?
Create Clear Key Content
Your key content must be clear and it must be obvious. Make sure that visitors to your website know exactly what it is that you have on offer. Don’t be ambiguous. Don’t make it difficult for visitors to buy your products or download your software or sign up to your newsletter.
Craft Compelling Headlines
It’s sad but true, 80% of your audience will never make it past your headline. So, make your headlines count. Demonstrate to your customers exactly what benefits they can expect from reading any further. Cut to the chase and always be honest. But also do your best to be intriguing. Make your audience want to keep reading.
Build your social media networks
You can blow your own horn until you’re blue in the face, but a recommendation from an impartial third party is always more valuable. So, build your social media networks. Connect with experts in your field and contact them directly. You will be surprised at how often they are willing to share valuable content. If you’re just starting out, put the hard word on your friends and family: get them to like, share, re-tweet and post your comments.
This is no secret. You want your site to rank well in search engine results. How often do you scroll to the second (let alone the third, fourth or fifth) page of search engine results? As I thought: hardly ever. The way to increase your ranking is to get your SEO tactics in order. Do some keyword research and integrate relevant keywords into your copy (without committing the sin of keyword stuffing). Make sure you have title tags and meta descriptions for every page. It’s really not that hard. We promise.
Don’t Skimp on Website Design
You might have the world’s most informative content and have ticked all the SEO boxes, but if your website design is dismal, your online marketing campaign still won’t be a success. If your site is cluttered and messy, visitors (particularly first time visitors) won’t hang around long enough to read your ground-breaking content. Your bounce rate will skyrocket. Now, obviously design is quite subjective. While you may love the look and feel of your website, your business partner might hate it. So, try to remove your personal opinions from the equation and design a site that your customers will like, and find easy-to-use and navigate.
Make sure you also check out our free marketing budget templates article to help you budget for your online marketing efforts.
About Sally Wood
Sally is the Chief Wordsmith at Wordly: a full-service copywriting, public relations, communications and editing agency in Melbourne, Australia. Having worked in marketing, communications and public relations roles for over ten years, Sally is well-versed in just about every aspect of message delivery. Her professional experience includes: copywriting for web, social media and print publications; marketing and public relations campaigns that deliver growth and improve brand awareness; and internal stakeholder communication programs that improve employee engagement. Sally holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Postgraduate Bachelor of Letters (Journalism and Public Relations) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Communication. For more information about Wordly’s range of services, visit: www.wordly.com.au.
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