If you’re conducting business today without an online presence, you’re stuck in the old 20th century way of thinking. So many potential customers are online looking for products and services that if they don’t find you there, they’ll find someone else. And to conduct an effective online marketing campaign, there are essential steps that have to be taken. If you want to beat the competition, you have to build on these fundamental building blocks.
Website: Optimization is a Must
The first thing your business needs is a website. This is home, this is the hub. People need a place to go to find out about you, to see what you offer and to find out why they should consider your services.
In order to achieve those ends, the design of your site is crucial. With the blazing satellite internet speeds available today, users have come to expect immediate results. For example, the average online user has an 8 second attention span. That doesn’t give your site much time to draw in potential customers. In fact, if you can’t grab them within the first 110 words, you’ll lose them.
Simple boilerplate sites aren’t going to cut it any longer. Employ a designer and get involved. You need a site that is visually appealing, but at the same time intuitive and easy to use.
Content: Quality Will Always Matter
A website alone is not going to compete any longer. Content is king. For example, suppose an online user is searching for an electrician and comes across one who offers free articles about how to fix common electrical issues and, on top of that, has a Facebook page that is updated regularly with company information and testimonials from past customers. That online user is going to much more inclined to employ that electrician’s services because his online content has created trust and competence.
An ongoing blog dealing with the subject matter of your enterprise will also keep your site foremost in search engines and social media. That constant stream of “content” is fresh and on point. It expands your online presence, which in turn translates into more customers.
Social Media: Don’t Underestimate its Integration
Social media may not sound serious enough to be an effective tool for marketing, but nothing could be further from the truth. A social media marketing strategy is a must. There are huge numbers of people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during the day. That’s a large audience that the savvy online marketer cannot ignore. Another attribute of social media that is extremely appealing to online marketers is the fact that these platforms have an extreme reach and it is free to have the accounts.
Being on these social networking sites and keeping them updated directly impacts the number of new customers who find your company online. And quite simply, users now expect it. When they find your site, they expect to see social media icons so that they can connect with you on that level, and they expect to see your engagement and interaction with customers. If they really like your business, they want to stay updated on your company. Don’t underestimate the significance of marketing with social media.
It’s important to ensure that your content stays the same across all of the social media sites that you have a presence on. You don’t want to alienate any of your audience by having inconsistent messages. The amount of interaction can be overwhelming, so assigning people to measure specific accounts ensures that no customer gets ignored.
For Facebook and Twitter, you can promote your content. For a small fee, your advertisement can show up in timelines, whether that user is set up to view your content or not. This is really invaluable as you’re reaching a market that you weren’t able to get to before and you’re bringing your brand to a place consumers already are. These users could see your post, and even if they aren’t interested, they could share the content. Remember, even one person sharing the content could equal thousands of new customers for your business.
It’s a brave new world we live in, both real and virtual. The active, vibrant marketing opportunities that exist online have to be understood, embraced, and when you’re ready, built by your own unique ingenuity.
Published: September 25, 2013