Whether you are an online whiz or not, you will know that standing out on the internet is harder than ever. Many industries seem saturated – a quick Google search for ‘hairdresser near me’ returned 2.46 billion results. You might be wondering if there is any point in continuing with online marketing at all.
But, never fear. There are some simple online marketing solutions you can implement (and keep on doing) to make your business gain eminence online. Follow this advice, and you can take your business’ internet marketing to the next level, and watch that reflect itself in your profit margins.
Here, I’ll talk you through five excellent online marketing solutions. It’s important to remember that these aren’t things that you can put in place and then forget about – they need to be monitored or updated (where applicable) consistently and frequently in order to provide the results you want.
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
You might be well aware of the pain of paying (perhaps a lot of money) for an all singing, all dancing website, only to have few visitors and – of those – even fewer conversions. The problem is that Google (other search engines are available) doesn’t care very much about what your website looks like – aside from whether it works properly.
Google uses a very complex algorithm to rank web pages in search results, but one of the main factors that makes a difference is the words on your website.
Several years ago, Google cared very much about keywords. Say, for example, you searched for ‘dog groomer’. A web page that said ‘dog groomer’ many, many times would rank highly – but it wouldn’t necessarily give you the information you wanted.
Now, Google cares more about whether the web pages it returns suitably answer the query. This means that it uses many factors to rank websites, including:
- Domain information
- Quality of content
- Site information (e.g. whether it is mobile optimised, whether it has a sitemap)
- User interaction (e.g. how long visitors stay on your website for)
- Social signals
- Brand signals
Keywords are still important, but not in the way they once were.
We’ve written lots about SEO – in particular, I’d love to point you to our blog post How To Perfect Your Website SEO. SEO isn’t optional. If you have a website and you want anyone to visit it organically, you need to be working on your SEO.
2. Content Marketing – Maybe The Best Of The Online Marketing Solutions
Which leads us ever so smoothly into the second online marketing solution you need – content marketing. I was going to include this with SEO but it is just too important not to have its own spiel.
Let’s start with a quote:
“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose
Content marketing is tightly linked with SEO. If your content is quality, you are more likely to rank higher. But it also has another purpose. Your content helps you to build relationships with potential customers. It helps to showcase your offerings in a friendly way whilst also providing value.
Content and SEO work hand in hand. Your content helps your website to rank highly, but it must be SEO optimised in order for anyone to see it.
How does content marketing work?
Well, imagine that you run a solicitors’ firm. You could rely on the hope that people will search for the name of your firm, or you could optimise your site for the things that people actually search for. Things like ‘what do I do if I’m getting divorced?’ or ‘what happens at a child custody hearing?’
You can add value by telling the people who visit your site after searching for these terms what they need to know, and you can point out your skills in the area too.
We have more on content marketing (blogging in particular) here.
3. Social Media Marketing
If you haven’t heard of social media…who am I kidding, everyone’s heard of social media. If you’re on social media, you’ll know how hard it can be to get organic reach these days. If you’re not on social media, you need to be.
Of course, it is tempting to feel that if your Instagram account doesn’t have 10,000 engaged followers then you’re failing – and you might as well not bother.
Then there is the ill-conceived idea that the only way to build a social media following is through viral content. I see so many business accounts blindly reposting memes and videos that are already viral in the hope that it will work for them too. Actually, gaining a following through viral content is one of the worst ways to get an engaged audience. You will find that unless your future content keeps improving, you won’t keep those followers – or if you do, they won’t be interested.
The key to social media is relationships. Better a 1,000 following with a 10% engagement rate than a 10,000 following with a 0.2% engagement rate (trust me, I’ve seen it – and more often than you might think).
So, where should you start? Here are some top tips:
- Don’t sell, sell, sell. Of each set of nine posts, only two should directly sell your products.
- Use the other seven posts to provide value. This could be in the form of how to guides, behind the scenes shots, or just a bit of fun (check out what happened when our Head of Marketing brought in biscuits).
- Engage – and not just with the people who approach you. Like and comment on other posts, engage in community discussion. People won’t come to you by osmosis.
- Consistency is key. A post every now and then if you remember won’t hack it – if you want to be noticed, you need to be posting often, at least a few times a week.
4. Google And Facebook Ads
If you head over to Google now and do a search – any search – more likely than not, you’ll notice that the top three or four results are paid for ads. You’ll also be interested to hear that people who click on ads are 50% more likely to make a purchase, and online ads increase brand awareness by 80%.
However, you need to be cautious. Many ads are poorly set up and don’t accurately reflect the search term – this can lead to a negative feeling towards your brand. There’s also the possibility that the ad won’t actually reach your target audience.
But, a well planned and executed ad campaign can provide a huge boost to your business – just make sure that quality content is there on the landing page.
How About Facebook Ads?
If you’re on Facebook, you will probably know that organic reach has plummeted. It’s extremely difficult to get any sort of engagement from a business page on Facebook without paying for it.
However, there are more than one billion people on Facebook, so the audience is there – you just need to access it. Fortunately, you can by running Facebook ads. You have another benefit from advertising on Facebook, too – you can easily target the exact audience, in the exact location you want. You can pinpoint exactly who sees your ad.
I’ve saved analytics until last because they are all-encompassing. If you are going to carry out any of these online marketing solutions, you need to know if they have worked. You can use analytics to find out almost anything about how your audience interacts with your content. Here are just a few examples:
What People Do On Your Website
Taking the simplest example, by looking at the stats for how many people visit your website and how many people then make a purchase, you can see what your conversion rate is. You can then tweak things to see if your conversion rate improves. Marketers have run tests for the strangest things – whether people are more likely to buy a product if the ‘buy now’ button is red or blue, for example. Interestingly, there was a big difference between the two colours! So it might not seem worth it, but taking the time to carry out these little tests yourself could really increase your revenue.
Which Pages People Visit
If you blog regularly, you’ll probably notice that some of your blog posts receive far more traction than others. Looking at these stats and seeing if there are any trends can help you to hone your content to encourage even more visitors, and hopefully more conversions.
This will show you what your audience searches for and what they are interested in, so that you can keep on top of your content and keep it relevant.
Social Media Performance
This is an easy one to keep on top of, because the stats provided by social media platforms are really quite detailed. Once you have built up a library of content, you can start to analyse which times of day are best to post at, which types of content get the most engagement and which lead to the most discussion.
You can also see how your ads have performed – if lots of people saw an ad but very few clicked on it, you will know that the content wasn’t up to scratch. Likewise, if you have an organic post which is performing very well, you could pay to boost it so that even more people will see it.
Then Do Something About It…
There is no point in gathering analytics if they don’t lead to some sort of change. Your digital marketing should be constantly cultivated. Even if you think you’ve hit the sweet spot and everything is working well, online attitudes can change quickly and without warning – not to mention the various, regularly tweaked algorithms you need to keep on top of.
Where To Start With Your Online Marketing Solutions
As with most things in life, if you want results it is best to start with a plan. Set some achievable goals first of all, then you can start to tackle your campaign one step at a time.
Although all of the things I’ve discussed are important, it is not possible for some businesses to do them all straight away – whether it’s for budgetary or human resource reasons. This is where having a plan will help. Building your SEO, content and social media are really vital to get your business visible. Not only this, but many people now use both your website and social media accounts to test how trustworthy your business is. Having neither of these or if they are rarely updated will give a poor first impression of your company.
Whether you are already on the way with your digital marketing, or have yet to even consider it, it is so important for the success of your business. Its importance will only increase as time goes on – just think about how many people now use the internet for buying and booking things. When was the last time you didn’t use the internet to book something?
Fortunately, it is possible – although time-consuming – through these online marketing solutions to ensure that your business is booming on the internet.
Devising your plan, implementing it, testing it and updating it is a lot of work, and it’s imperative to keep on top of them all to ensure that your marketing campaign has an impact. On top of all of this, you need to keep your audience at the very forefront of your strategy (because they’re the ones you’re doing all of this for, after all).
If this sounds like too much work, we can help. We are a digital marketing agency helping clients both local to us in Northwich and Cheshire and internationally kick start their online marketing and showcase themselves as the relevant, exciting businesses that they are.
If you would like to see what we can offer, book in for a free consultation using the calendar below. We can’t wait to talk to you!
- Our Creative Content Specialist, Harriet Young, is a prolific blogger, Instagrammer and (almost) published author. A self-confessed book addict, Harriet loves to read, write and photograph books in her spare time - a hobby which transfers beautifully into her role of writing creative content for our wonderful clients.
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