In today’s digital world, acquiring a strong social media standing is indispensable to running a successful business. If you have already made the investment in a top-notch website, meticulously designed to reflect your business goals, populated it with engaging content, topped with enticing headlines, offered attractive promotions and catchy marketing messages to lure people in, and launched it just in time for some great announcements; take a moment to sit back and admire your work…or should you?
What’s the saying from the nostalgic baseball movie starring Kevin Costner? “If you build it, he will come.” That may be true for a baseball field in an Iowa cornfield, but not for your new website on the World Wide Web. Now you face the dilemma of bringing in qualified traffic. After all, that is how you enhance your customer base and generate more sales. However, a tiny question rears its scary head; how people are going to find you.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO refers to the process of boosting your website’s rankings in the search engine’s organic results via optimizing your pages with the right keywords that people search for, and viable link building. When people search for something, they are highly unlikely to look beyond the first few pages of the search engine results. Unless your website makes it in those “first few pages”, it would be lost to the vast depths of Internet! However, the burgeoning success of SEO has shifted its focus off superfluous keyword stuffing and manipulating search engines for rankings, to providing an engaging, educational, meaningful, and valuable user interaction that keeps them riveted. In 2016, more than ever before, SEO is less black and white than it used to be.
While on-page SEO refers to revamping your website for maximum optimization, off-page SEO entails going beyond the boundaries of your site to boost rankings, such as blogging, link building, social networking, and social bookmarking, to build, market, and advertise your online reputation within your niche. Some popular ways to augment organic search results are through eradicating barriers to search engines’ indexing activities, using optimized titles and descriptions, posting updated SEO friendly content, use of search engine friendly navigational structure, obtaining proper URL structures, tweaking the existing content of your website, enhancing the number of inbound links or back-links, cross-linking, remaining involved in forum communities, marketing your website on the most popular book marking sites, promoting press releases, and link baiting.
Blogging and Guest Blogging
The saying “Content is King” cannot be emphasized enough! Providing fresh, relevant and unique content on your website helps to draw in more visitors and makes you stand out amongst your competitors. One beneficial way to generate traffic from unprecedented sources and expand to a wider audience is to also take your message on the road by writing for prominent blogs in your niche as a guest blogger. By simply incorporating a link to your website at the end of the guest post, you pave way for new potentials to discover your expertise and be intrigued to click on your link for more information about you and your business.
Pay per Click (PPC)
Search engines, like Google, provide an option to buy advertising based on click troughs to enhance your visibility to people searching for a product or service related to you business. All you have to do is pay a fixed amount every time your ad is clicked on (hence the term pay per click), and the ultimate goal of the click is to convert a potential lead in to a customer to see a return on investment. With Google Adwords, for instance, there’s no initial starting cost and you can even set a budget of what you are willing to pay for each click. Keep in mind some search terms and industries have higher PPC rates than others. Simply choose the most sought after keyword phrases and the search engine would put your ad out in front of your target market. Your main focus here should be conversion so you garner the best ROI possible.
Google AdSense is another cost-per-click (CPC) advertising initiative by Google. Google makes use of its Internet search technology to serve ads to users based on the user’s geographical location, website content, and other factors. If you want to advertise with Google’s targeted advertisement system, you have to enroll through Google AdWords and choose the keywords you want to market on. The AdSense spiders crawl the web and match your ads with other websites that allow AdSense ads, having same or related keywords incorporated in their content. Your Ad would automatically show on those websites.
Not only is the world enamored with Facebook, an average person is estimated to spend about 40 minutes a day scrolling through their feed liking, commenting and posting. Using Facebook ads enable you to target people in a specific geographic location, target demographics, friends of your followers, people with certain interests, folks who like other pages in your niche, along with other options. In addition, it is a highly cost effective way of encouraging new traffic to your Facebook page and website on a limited budget, especially because you can set a daily pay per click budget similar to Google Adwords. You’re basically enticing a target group of Facebook’s audience to learn about your business, visit your site and buy your products and/or services.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing is not dead, as long as it is done right. Done with purpose, a strong message and to a targeted audience, it’s still as viable and effective as ever. Old-schoolers still prefer email marketing since the personal nature of this marketing medium sets them apart from other methods. Emails can be addressed to individuals and boost brand loyalty and trust with both existing customers and potential leads.
Give people a compelling reason to subscribe (great content, contests, insider information, etc.) and then keep up a stream of great emails filled with compelling content so they don’t unsubscribe. Encourage them to keep returning to your site by keeping them abreast with what they have missed, such as latest products, white papers, blog posts, and videos. It’s the content circle of life!
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is akin to outsourced marketing, since you hire affiliates who are paid to bring in new customers. You don’t pay them for simply driving visitors to your websites; you pay them when they convert visitors to customers. If you generate even a million new leads a month, but they don’t equate to more revenue or leads, it’s almost useless. This is what contributes to the popularity of affiliates.
Affiliates can promote your website through myriad ways, such as a YouTube video of your product linked to an affiliate ID, paid traffic like Adwords, reviewing products, blog posts, email blasts, etc. When you hire affiliates, you can put restrictions on what they can and can’t do. When the affiliate drives you a lead or customer, you pay them.
7. Social Media
Social media has exploded over the past few years and new platforms are emerging each year. The social sites have given businesses unprecedented ways to communicate with and engage in meaningful interactions with potential customers. By building trust and credibility over time, you gradually convert them into customers. Although, you have to create compelling reasons to get them to follow you, or Like you or subscribe to your page. You need a constant stream of engaging content that encourages meaningful interactions with your brand to remind them why they stopped by your website in the first place.
In addition, social media is also a great tool for word of mouth marketing and viral marketing. It helps you keep tabs on where your potential customers hang out, what they talk about, what they think of you (as well as your competitors), and what recommendations they provide. It is also a great tool for real-time communication and customer service inquiries when a crisis hits!
A quick social media breakdown:
• Post regularly to Facebook so that you show up in your fans news feeds more often. Since most people are tired of the noisy place that Facebook has become, try to stick with content that is meaningful and pertinent to what people prefer.
• Instagram is a great platform for hints at new products, behind the scenes candid shots, or sharing your daily routine, which makes customers feel like they are a part of the brand. You can be very informal when posting pictures on Instagram, but always keep in mind the image you aim to project as a brand.
• Pinterest should reflect your aspirations and aesthetic for your company. Keep it reflective of your branding and story. Anything off brand or personal should be pinned onto a personal board – not part of your business.
• Twitter can be used to connect with interesting people and see what is happening in the market in real-time. Jump into conversations whenever something pertinent pops up, and even break the ice by just tweeting directly at someone you follow. Re-tweeting is a great way to get recognition of your brand leveraging another Twitter account’s followers.
Building your influence and reputation is an indispensable part of driving traffic to your business website. Through viable public relations strategies, you can project your business as an expert in your niche and tell your brand story without tooting your own horn. This serves to establish your credibility, compounds your brand awareness, and ultimately increases conversion rates. For example, by serving as a source in a journalist’s articles, where the outlet provides a link-back to your website, it only sends traffic your way but also enhance your reputation. In addition, by appearing on a commendable press outlet, one that is heard and trusted by people makes them trust you more. Press releases can also pique interest in your services and products, as well as provide another valuable source of content for your website. By having an “In The News” page on your site, on which you post press releases and stories written about your business, you provide yet another reason for search engines to rank your site higher, enabling more people to find your site and give those people a tangible reason to do business with your company.
9. Mobile Optimization
Having a “mobile-friendly” website ensures your site delivers the most optimum user experience for any device that is used. With a majority of people searching the web on smart phones and tablets, your business must have an optimized site. If people, who use a smaller device to view your website, have to pinch, zoom or excessively scroll their screens in order to navigate, all that fiddling could cause great frustration and ultimately reduce the traffic to your site. You may be surprised to learn that many websites are still not designed to account for various screen sizes and load times, and in fact, some search engines are now lowering their ranking due to it. Just recently, Google announced updates to their Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) and search algorithm in support of mobile friendly websites, making it harder for non-responsive websites to show up in search results. Without optimizing your site, consumers may not even find your site and, as a result, sales will ultimately suffer.
10 . You Know Your Business. We Know Online Marketing.
You may know how to run your business, hire employees, run a kitchen or build custom furniture. What you may not know is how to do everything you need to do to keep your website up to date, have a strong online presence, understand and leverage a variety of social media sites, and find time to write an interesting blog on a regular basis. As expert web developers and online marketers, we understand the balance between form and function. For more than 18 years as a full-service Internet marketing agency, eCreations has been taking the frustration out of creating and maintaining a company’s online presence, by helping our clients build their brand, attract new customers, increase loyalty and boost profits.