By: Solar Energy Marketing on
According to a recent Nielsen Company study, the average American spends nearly 11 hours each day staring at a screen. So if you want to thrive in today’s competitive business environment, developing an online presence is essential.
But simply having a website isn’t enough.
That’s because every 60 seconds:
- 500 hours of YouTube videos come online.
- 3.3 million Facebook posts go live.
- 1,440 WordPress posts get published.
And unless you invest heavily in online marketing, there’s no way your own site will ever be able to compete amidst all that noise.
But the mere idea of “online marketing” puts many business owners off. There are so many best practices you’ve got to master and taboos you must learn to avoid. How do you successfully navigate the digital landscape – especially when resources and time are so limited?
Although online marketing isn’t easy, the basic fundamentals are pretty straightforward. And if you learn how to implement the 6 strategies below, you’ll be destined for years of sales, growth, and profits.
1. Build a Conversion-Focused Website
Your website is the glue that holds all the following strategies together. Without it, online marketing is essentially pointless.
But simply building a fantastic-looking website isn’t enough. It needs to be designed – from the bottom up – with conversions in mind. To that end, your site should:
- Be clean and polished. Trust is an essential aspect of the “sales” process. No one buys from a site that is full of typos, sloppy formatting, or low quality graphics.
- Target a specific need and audience. If you don’t lock down these areas, you’ll end up trying to be all things to all people. And this will both dilute your message and limit your reach.
- Be easy to use and navigate. And contacting you should be as simple as clicking a link and filling out a form.
- Have valuable content that people actually want. Potential customers will find the answers they need somewhere. Why not make your site the go-to resource for these questions?
- Be mobile-ready. Of the 11 hours each American spends online every day, nearly half of that time is devoted to smartphones. So your site must be designed for today’s mobile devices.
By focusing on the above areas, it becomes much easier to guide web visitors throughout the buying cycle – from Awareness to Consideration to the final Purchase.
But how do these web visitors even find you in the first place?
2. Implement On Site SEO
Part art and part science, search engine optimization (SEO) involves improving your site’s rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. And when dealing specifically with on site SEO, the process involves tweaking the layout and composition of your website to make it more attractive to major search engines.
How do you do that exactly? Simple.
You start publishing content that uses the same keywords prospective customers use when searching online.
Many businesses choose keywords by researching their industries and competitors. If a top rival is writing a lot of blog posts about “how to solve problem ABC,” this is probably a good keyword for you to target as well. But if others are already going after this keyword phrase, it’s going to be competitive – by definition.
This is why we also recommend creating “personas” designed around your audience. If you can think like your prospective customers, you’ll do a much better job of discovering the types of keywords they’re actually searching. Persona marketing also makes it easier to target less competitive keywords that are still highly relevant to your ideal customers.
Once you have your keywords, you need to weave them naturally into all of your content, metadata, internal links, and images.
Note that effective on-site SEO takes time. But the benefits are cumulative, meaning blog posts published 5 years ago can still drive traffic to your site 5 years from now.
This is why it pays to start early.
3. Implement Off Site SEO
Off site SEO is also the art and science of achieving high search engine rankings. But the focus is on securing quality links from external sources. The more of these links you have, the more “authoritative” your site will appear in Google’s eyes. And thus, the more likely you are to appear high in the search results.
There are many ways to accomplish this, including securing links from:
- Business directories like Google My Business and YellowPages.com.
- Review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Manta.
- Press releases (that you write for external publication).
You can also connect with industry leaders and top bloggers in your niche. If you have content that could be of interest to their readers, you might get some free link love. Some may even invite you to write a guest post, which is pure SEO gold.
The more high quality links you can secure, the better. You’ll rise in the search rankings. And this, in turn, makes it even easier to attract more links in the future.
But again, this process takes time, which is why starting now is so important.
4. Use PPC and Remarketing Ads
You’re probably already familiar with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in which you show off-site banner or text ads to prospective customers. If you have the budget, this is a great way to generate leads quickly. And because the feedback is immediate, you can easily adjust your ads – mid-campaign.
You can also use remarketing ads to continue the conversation.
How do remarketing ads work?
- Someone finds your site – using either Google search or a PPC ad. And their browser automatically receives an identifying tracker (a.k.a. “cookie”).
- Once they leave your site, they start seeing your ads on other online properties. With Google Remarketing, they’ll see those ads on random websites. And with Facebook Remarketing, they’ll see your ads whenever they log into their profiles.
The beauty of this approach is that you’re not showing ads to just anybody. You’re only showing them to those who have already visited your site. This allows you to stay engaged and build awareness – without breaking the bank.
However, there’s an even better way to remain engaged.
5. Leverage Email Marketing
The ability to tune out information is essential in the digital age. After all, we’re each bombarded with 5,000+ marketing messages on a daily basis. So we’ve learned to ignore banner ads. And we scroll past Google results and Facebook feeds all the time.
The days of “captive” audiences are quickly fading.
With email marketing, you’re able to connect with prospective customers directly through their inboxes. It’s technically possible for recipients to ignore your email. But they still must consciously delete or archive your message.
Of course, the goal is to make it impossible to ignore those emails. And you can accomplish this if each message:
- Is highly personalized for the recipient (i.e. first name at least).
- Addresses a specific problem that the recipient is facing.
Even better, some email marketing software can automate much of this process.
For example, recipients only receive a specific email after meeting certain behavioral or time-based criteria:
- Anyone who’s been in your system for more than 60 days receives email ABC.
- Anyone who’s visited your “Service” page should receive email XYZ.
Some email marketing software also comes with lead-scoring capabilities. So if recipients click on an email link or spend 5+ minutes on your “Winter Promotion” page, they automatically move from the cold lead column to the warm lead column of your sales funnel.
This allows you to direct future resources towards those prospects with the highest conversion potential.
6. Track, Analyze, and Tweak
Online marketing isn’t a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing process that never truly ends. How could it with thousands of new sites launching every single minute?
You can’t afford to stay in one place if you want to thrive.
This is why you must regularly:
- Track your progress. As a marketing guru, Peter Drucker, famously opined – “What gets measured gets managed.”
- Analyze what works. Reporting tools allow you to measure results and improve ongoing marketing efforts.
- Tweak your formula. This means dumping the dead weight and redirecting your resources to those online marketing opportunities with the highest potential ROI.
If you follow this basic template, your business can and will succeed.