Unfortunately, when it comes to online marketing, there are no “magic” programs or “one-size-fits-all” solutions. And this is because online marketing is a complementary element that must be added to your online presence in order to achieve the best results.
If you have not begun building your online presence yet, below are six steps that you should follow:
1. Set up your marketing budget.
When setting up your marketing budget, the most important thing is to be realistic, and determine exactly what you can and cannot do. Additionally, it is imperative to make strategic investments, which will deliver significant returns over time. How long potential customers must be nurtured before they become leads and how many leads turn into sales opportunities are two of the most important factors you need to consider before setting up your marketing budget.
2. Build a website (or improve the one you already have).
Developing a successful digital marketing strategy is almost impossible without a website. Here are a few points to bear in mind when building your site:
- design an appealing yet easy-to-use interface;
- make contact information visible;
- use the most relevant searchable keywords for your sector (as an example, the most relevant keywords for a web design business are web design service(s), best web designer(s)/service(s), and web design name-of-city/name-of-city web designer(s), which can be used to advertise a business locally);
- optimise your website for mobile devices; recent statistics indicate a rapid increase in consumer and company adoption of mobile devices. Here are some statistics: more than 1.2 million people use their mobile devices to access the Internet (source: Trinity Digital Marketing); 15% of Web traffic comes from mobile devices (source: Internet Trends 2013); about 50% of people use their Smartphones on the way to stores, while 60% of people use their Smartphones while in stores to look for information (source: Delloite Digital); about 25% of all Internet searches are done via mobile devices (source: The Search Agency).Once you build your website, it is vital not only to update it with new information regularly, but also to monitor it using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.
3. Use social media.
Today, an increasing number of people are becoming obsessed with social media. While marketers use social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ to advertise their businesses, regular individuals use the same channels to find information, share ideas, and click on appealing ads. Yes, it is almost impossible to visit one of these sites without popping into a compelling ad along the way. Furthermore, you can use social media to communicate with people and build customer trust.
4. Generate leads.
About 80 percent of webmasters cite lead generation as a primary goal of inbound marketing. Here are a few steps you should take in order to generate valuable leads from email newsletters, landing pages, online forums, and social media.
There are two main types of email newsletters: promotional emails, which inform subscribers of new products or products on sale, and “keep-in-touch” emails, which offer readers helpful information. To collect visitor details for newsletter delivery, you can complement your site with a subscription form that requires subscribers to fill in their contact details. To get your website’s visitors subscribe to your newsletters, it is important to: offer something in return for signing up (e.g. whitepapers, e-books, free access to specific products or services, etc.); make your sign-up form highly visible on each page of your site; ask current subscribers to forward your email newsletters to their friends and include a link to the sign-up form in each issue; and promote your email newsletters in different places, such as forums and social media sites.
Sign-up forms can be also combined with landing pages and used to collect visitor information when they are buying products or downloading freebies. Using landing pages is very important because they target particular leads, taking visitors to the products or services they are searching for. Thus, a landing page can help you find out exactly what is working and what is not. For instance, if a landing page has a high bounce rate, it means that people are interested in your offer, but something prevents them from getting it. Although it could be anything, from poor webpage design to a bug that causes an error, knowing that there is an issue is the first step to identifying and solving the problem.
Coming down to forums, the main advantage of using online forums for lead generation is that the people you are about to contact are already looking for your products or services. If you decide to participate in forums, make sure that you find threads relevant to your niche and provide information in a meaningful way and timely manner; always respond queries – it is rude to start a conversation, then walk away; make it easy for people to contact you by providing clear details about your website (instead of using “Click Here”, provide a brief description of your business and site) and even offering an email address; and post links to free resources other than your site.
Social media websites have become legitimate lead generation channels. Facebook, for example, provides a variety of techniques that you can use to generate leads from organic posts, events, tabs, or targeted advertising. Twitter makes available lead generation cards that are displayed as tweets, revealing sign-up forms when someone clicks on them. Most of these cards are preloaded with users’ names, email addresses, and “Twitter handles”. LinkedIn, a professional social network, lags between Facebook and Twitter. Making available Lead Collection, sponsored updates, and direct ads, LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites for B2B lead generation.
5. Be consistent.
Regardless of whether you produce a quarterly report or a monthly newsletter, consistency can help you build a solid relationship with your current and future customers.
6. Get listed.
Two other important aspects are to get your business listed on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., and set up profile pages in Google Places, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. Ensuring that your website appears in all these places can help you expand your presence online, which means that an increasing number of customers will find you instead of your competitors. To make sure that people can find your site, the information you provide should be accurate at all touch points and consistent with your brand. How can you do that? By simply identifying which pages, newsletters, links, and ads Internet users access in order to visit your site, and then provide information according to your findings.
4 Tips to Measuring Your Web Presence for Better Marketing Results
1. Online visibility measurement
How visible your website is depends on your site’s search engine ranking. Many software solutions, ranging from page and link analysers to keyword and ad suggestion tools, are ready to help you find out the most popular keywords for your practice area along with the keywords your competitors use, the links to your site that appear in the first ten search engine rankings, and the websites that link to certain pages of your site. You can use the same tools to verify your site’s relationship with search engines and even to analyse web traffic in extreme detail. But too much focus on keywords, which leads to heavily optimised web pages, will be penalised by search engines. Most search engines love subject matter expertise along with high-quality content that provides superior user experience. In a nutshell, you can use keywords to optimise your website but make sure that you play by the rules.
2. Social media measurement
Merged with web analytics, social media measurement tools can be used to analyse the traffic coming from social media channels. With these tools, you can evaluate your social media accounts, monitor your top followers, track their activity, identify the best time to post messages and ads, and even get detailed information about your website’s presence across search engines. Some of the best social media measurement tools available today are Google Analytics, SocialBro, IconoSquare (formerly Statigram), Hootsuite, and SocialMention.
3. Quantitative measurement
A relatively new concept, the quantitative measurement of online presence is considered one of the most essential online marketing developments after Google AdWords. Special tools, such as Klout, SumAll, CrowdBooster, and TweetStats, allow you to analyse your site’s online presence and even quantify your brand’s influence across the Web. Most of these tools provide regular reports, while enabling users to filter data according to their preferences.
4. Qualitative measurement
Many web presence analytics tools include traffic quality metrics, such as the Bounce Rate and Time on Page/Time on Site in Google Analytics. But if you are serious about measuring the quality of your website, there are some additional elements you need to consider. In Google Analytics, you should also check the Goal Completion rates or Conversion rates in order to define the quality of your site. These rates indicate the completion of any activities that contribute to the growth of your business. For instance, once a visitor signs up for your newsletter, the operation appears as a goal conversion.