Since the Internet began, it has been an ever-changing medium. Over all those years, and we have made a point of keeping up with the various technologies. Before Search Engines, our online marketing startegy consisted of swapping links with other websites. When Yahoo! came out, things started getting "complicated". We now had a real target to shoot for. But then Google appeared and totally changed how to market a website.
Your website is your store front. It represents your company. First impressions can last a mere few seconds. If your web site is shabby, then how would you expect a potential customer to have any faith in what is is you have to offer? Website design, whether a member site, an e-commerce site, a resource site or any kind of site, must look current, up-to-date and professional.
Your navigation must be user-friendly. They must be able to go where ever they want, without getting lost. How many times have you gotten stuck in a loop, unable to get back to the home page? We’ve all been there. And then, how quickly do you hit the back arrow to get out of Denver baby?
It’s a shame, and unnecessary, and unacceptable. The hard part was already done… they got you to the site. Their SEO – for whatever reason – was working. But since the site was so unmanageable, they couldn’t retain you.
Your website development doesn’t have to be flashy… but it can be. It just has to be efficient and easy to find an answer to their question; whether it’s “Do you have Nike Monarchs in size 9?”, or “How do you make carrot cake?”. The Internet is there – for those of us with a website – to provide answers to peoples questions as easy, and as succinctly as possible.
Search Engine Optimization
Shortly after Google came out; a guy named Bruce Clay was instrumental in creating a group of protocols to utilize the new search engine platform called Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO.
SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. In short; we follow Google's rules and Best Practices to make your website more relevant than your competitors.
However, that's only the beginning of creating a complete Internet Presence. We now must include social Media platforms such as: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Yelp, Angie's List,and a myriad of others; which all need to work in tandum with your website, which should always be considered your "Ground Zero". Not to mention; they each need to be optimized correctly and exactly so that they all tie together as cogs in your online machine.
Just building a website, without following Google's rules, is akin to putting a flyer on a telephone poll and hoping somebody sees it. Your website, in fact, your entire online marketing strategy, needs to be mapped out before any part of it is implemented.
Social Media Marketing is essential for a complete Internet Marketing campaign. It consists of a group of online platforms where people connect and communicate, such as; Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and literally millions of blogs (Weblogs) all across the Internet, about any topic you could possibly imagine.
Social media sites are where the people are. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? Social media gives you the chance to interact with hundreds, thousands, even millions of potential customers. Social communities are breeding grounds for interaction, which is a huge market that must be utilized to be able to achieve success in your Internet marketing strategy. However, these platforms are not places for “hard sell”, they are for attraction and awareness of who you are, and what you do. Since social media is readily available to everyone, it greatly enhances potential for creating brand awareness.
With conventional advertising you are talking at the potential customer. But with online advertising, you have the ability and opportunity to talk to the customer. With social media, you are the publisher. You need to determine exactly what your customers need and publish valuable, relevant and compelling information, through social media platforms, blogs, email and more. Show them that you are an authority, and that what you have to offer will be valuable to them. By positioning yourself as an authority in your field, you’ll stand out from your competitors, generate buzz and increase your value. Providing valuable relevant content boosts your credibility and builds trust. Once you establish yourself as an expert, the customers will come to you. Value, credibility and trust, added to high visibility (social media) gives you the perfect formula for complete success.
All of the things mentioned above are important for organic search. But you may want to consider Paid Search as well. Google AdWords is a good platform for a bigger company, as it can get expensive. However, these days Facebook Ads are really a much better fit for the small to medium sized business. With both platforms you're able to drill down to your target demographics, so you are not advertising to someone that has no possibility of being interested in your business.
The beauty of a paid search campaign is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. The user is only seeing an ad that directly relates to his query. PPC is the definition of immediate gratification. Within hours or even minutes of you enabling your first campaign, you are able to determine which keywords, or keyword phrases are, or are not, sending traffic to the relevant landing page. In each pay per click advertising campaign you cater your keywords and your ad text to which phase the user is in, in the buying funnel. Whether in the awareness stage, the interest stage, the learning stage, the shopping stage, or ultimately, the buying stage, you fine tune your keywords and your ad text and send the user to the appropriate landing page, hopefully to make the conversion (purchase, sign up, subscribe or register).
You can't afford to take your online marketing for granted. When it's done, and done right, your phone will be ringing.
What are you waiting for?