From website to social media network, most businesses today have an online presence. In
some instances lightning strikes, even when a company doesn’t have an online marketing strategy. Those businesses can count themselves lucky.
But for the most part, companies should work on creating a well-rounded Internet marketing strategy for their online presence (website, social media, affiliate marketing) because it could be the one thing that stands between profit and loss.
For someone who has never done it before, the prospect of creating an Internet marketing plan is probably more daunting than making the plan itself. Don’t worry though; it gets easier as you move along. If you have the budget for it, you may want to bring in an experienced professional to manage Internet marketing efforts. If you don’t, however, consider adopting these three methods to help catapult your online presence.
Having an organic, or natural, presence on Google and other search engines is the most cost-effective way to draw traffic to your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the procedure used to make a website appear on the first page of a search engine query.
Here’s How It Works
The most important rules you should know are: keywords are key and content is king. You need to publish good content with appropriate keywords and ensure easy website navigation in order for visitors to stay longer on your site and buy your products.
This is how people – and search engines – find you on the Web. But it’s important to remember not to go keyword crazy. Websites using too many keywords run the risk of being considered spammy by search engines, which will hurt rankings.
You also want to make sure keywords are the most accurate to your visitors’ demographic. Just because a keyword is used in a popular search doesn’t mean it is a good fit for your product.
Placement of keywords is also very important. They should be utilized in titles, content and URLs, among other places. Think like a visitor while crafting and inserting keywords on your website.
About that king thing … yes, content is king. A good rule of thumb is to add content (news, interesting links, musings, anything relevant to your brand) to your website on a regular schedule.
Creating a blog is an excellent way to keep your website fresh, both for human visitors and search engine spiders. Also, utilize content to create links between pages on your site. This can help keep the visitor on your site longer and keep them coming back for more information.
A September 2012 survey by the market research company Lab42 noted that 50% of social media users found a brand’s Facebook page to be more useful than its website.
The power of social media is fast becoming evident to businesses of all sizes. Along with Facebook, companies should be exploring other social networking sites, such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Flickr. Creating a presence on these networks can bring companies closer to their audience, spread the word about their products or services and help them manage customer service issues in real time.
The best thing about social media: It’s free.
Here’s How It Works
The main focus of social media is to create a dialogue with your audience/customers. You should make them feel as if they are the most important people in the world because, as far as your business is concerned, they are. An array of social media tools such as TweetDeck, HootSuite and Sprout Social allow businesses to monitor what their audience is saying and respond quickly, helping them steer the online conversation.
Depending on the type of product your company is selling, affiliate marketing may be a great way to spread your brand’s Internet presence. If your website has solid traffic, affiliate marketers could be eager to work with you.
Here’s How It Works
Through the use of a source code, an external business or individual who does online marketing will set up outlets to sell your products. They receive a portion of profits from the sale of your product, which you can track by the source code. This can be an extremely effective way for your company to reach a larger audience.
You may be wondering whether there’s a downside. The answer is, “Maybe.” Here are two reasons why: first, you can’t continually monitor or control the branding or verbiage used by affiliates; and second, you may end up competing against your own affiliates for keywords and placement if you are utilizing pay per click (PPC) programs.
Should you choose to bring an affiliate network on board, it’s a good idea to create a brand guide for the affiliates to follow. This should include your brand’s color codes used for logos, images for logos, and specific wording you want and don’t want. And, of course, if you have the budget to do so, designating or hiring an affiliate manager to oversee the network can be beneficial.
Embrace the Possibilities!
Sure, it can seem overwhelming to consider incorporating all three of these methods, particularly if your company hasn’t undertaken such a strategy before. But don’t fret. Conduct some research, create a plan and go with the approach that feels most comfortable.
Before you know it, your business could be boosting its brand presence and, hopefully, its bottom line.
Sandy Miller has been helping clients with marketing and advertising projects for over 15 years. In that time I have seen lots of changes but nothing as exciting as the introduction of social media.