Maybe your key business objectives read something like this:
- Increase new business traffic, inquiries, or sales by X%
- Reinforce position as the premier provider of (put your service or product here)
- Introduce new products or services
Maybe your web marketing strategy should be this simple:
- Create a comprehensive Online Business Optimization Program to increase higher traffic and awareness via searches, links and target engagement.
So where do you start?
Create an Online Marketing Plan
Most companies have a website. It’s table stakes. But in today’s competitive business climate, you have to ask yourself, is that enough? Are you getting all the traffic your need? What about the abundance of new web channels and media that are now part of everyone’s everyday experience? Should you pay for website clicks or attract them naturally? Is something missing or are you spending too much in one area? What works with your clients and customers? What makes sense for your business?
These are the questions a sound online strategic plan will answer and help you decide which online marketing tactics make sense for your business.
Here are just few ideas for you to consider.
Good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, starts organically with your own website. This means you have to correctly align your page titles, headlines and copy on each page using relevant keywords. Understanding keywords relevant to your business in searches and how to use them correctly is table stakes to online marketing. We call it “Getting Google-friendly.”
If done right, organic optimization will help increase the number of times your site appears via search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Organic SEO is an ongoing process that can take more than six months to yield increased traffic to your site, but in the long run it can be the most effective.
Online PR Program
How do you fill the pipeline with great news about your company or brands? Maybe it’s time to supplement your traditional PR efforts with digital or online PR strategies. With online PR you can shape public perception of your company with potential customers. It’s just the beginning of managing your company’s reputation online. We distribute keyword-targeted news articles and information, including images and video, through syndication channels for many of our clients. These appear on relevant media websites, industry blogs/newsletters, and other content sources, to help increase links to your website and find good news surrounding your good name.
Linking your website via directories, blogs or other relevant websites is key to driving your organic search rankings. It takes a bit of work. Search for directories or business listings within your industry. Some are free. Some are fee-based. Some are junk. Join them all if you can. Google favors links on external sites back to your site. Just make sure it’s relevant.
You can also trade links with business partners, share blogs you like, or provide a link from your blog to your web site. Send them an email and ask for a trade in kind. Just make sure it’s not competitive or irrelevant.
Warning: Be careful of site-paid links or companies that try to sell you a linking list. You may get blacklisted if you don’t do it the old fashioned way.
Email marketing is the most cost-effective way of engaging and activating your existing customers and clients. Read more about Email Marketing for Brand and Customer Loyalty here.
Blog Marketing can reinforce your position as an expert in your field while increasing links and raising your visibility in organic searches. You can create a blog for maximum exposure and impact, adding features like RSS channel news feeds, email sign-ups, links to your business website or social networking communities.
Keywords and interesting topics are the key to any successful blog. All you have to do is write about what you know on a regular basis and promote it a little.
Are social networking sites the business tools of the future? Yes, if you know how to work them. If you run a small business in these changing times, ignore them at your own risk. Your competitors may already be networking and micro blogging their way to a stronger Web presence, enhanced credibility, and more customers.
The most popular sites for business are LinkedIn, Plaxo and Xing. Everyone knows about Twitter by now. StartUpSpace.com is for new and growing businesses. Small businesses are finding value on Facebook’s Visa Business Network, a small business-only social network. The whole concept of social media is a lot like birds of a feather flocking together — in other words, people with a common interest or objective interacting online. Social networks enable that interaction, in professional but also fun and interesting ways.
While there aren’t many strict rules about using social networks, there are do’s and don’ts, as well as strategies to employ to get ahead.
Need a sugar buzz for your business? During key sales periods, or for breaking news events, a PPC program can drive substantial qualified traffic using specific search terms. Pay Per Click requires you to bid on keywords you anticipate a target market would use when searching for a product or service. Basically, you pay to have your site appear in the “sponsored listings” section of search engines like Google or Yahoo. You’ll pay for each click that you get through these ads.
PPC programs can also target other relevant content sites and social networks. This offers you several micro opportunities to target customers with specific niche interests. We recently implemented a Facebook PPC program targeting students at the top small universities around the county, with school-specific messages. It was a huge success!
So if your small business is looking to grow by stealing market share or protecting what you have, optimize your business online. It may just be the answer you are looking for as you think about your marketing plan this year.
Learn more about how web marketing can help optimize your business online.
For more information on website optimization, contact Tom Casale or Bill Kamper at [email protected] or call 312-886-7669.