Back to Basics: A Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing | Even if you’ve toiled 20 years in the offline marketing world, online marketing is a whole new ballgame. There are new terms to learn and a new definition of success to subscribe to. The pace of innovation on the internet means that smart strategists shift their approach every other week to keep up with emerging technology. If you have little to no experience with digital marketing, the good news is that you can jump right in.
The medium is malleable enough that everyone is learning as they go along, even those who’ve been in this business for a decade. Read on for a primer of online marketing that will set you on your way to make smart decisions on behalf of your client or small business.
Start with Basics
Don’t try to master search engine optimization on your first day of online marketing. Instead, layout your aims and then figure out the best way to achieve them. Do you offer direct sales through your website? Do you know your target audience? Do you already have thriving social media accounts?
Now, it’s time to set goals. Make them as specific as possible. Instead of “increase traffic to a website,” put a number on it. Perhaps you want to double or even triple your traffic. You might even be more interested in driving sales conversions by offering products directly to the consumer. Whatever you’re hoping to do, put it down on the TODO list and keep it in view. Every online marketing move you make should be done with that goal in mind.
Consult with a veteran online marketer to make sure that your ideas are on track. Try to find a friend in the business or an online acquaintance who can meet with you. But, if you can’t swing that, paying an SEO company is a worthy investment. They can give you ideas you’ve probably never even considered and warn you of strategies that aren’t worth pursuing.
Master One Outlet at a Time
You don’t have to dive into Google Adwords, Twitter and SEO all at the same time. Instead, pick one area at a time to focus on and explore. For example, say you run a plumbing business, and you’re interested in getting more customers from a neighbouring township where you have little traction. Read up on Google Adwords, including the new Keyword Planner tool and run a small campaign first.
See if the geo-targeting abilities that have been integrated into the most recent version of the Planner help you get more business. If you’re happy with this campaign, run another. Get comfortable with Google Adwords before you move on to Bing or Facebook campaigns. You’ll have a deeper understanding of metrics and targeting that will help you as you move forward in online marketing.
Try the Grass Roots Approach
Online marketing is not all about paying to reach people. You can also run more organic, word-of-mouth campaigns that focus on spreading information about your business. This is where the line between pure content and advertising blurs. That is one thing that’s different about online marketing, as opposed to offline marketing.
Here are a few great ways to market your company that you won’t have to pay a dime for:
- Social media: Open accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to start. Engage your followers with witty, interesting content that moves beyond simple sell points.
- Blogging: If you don’t already have a blog on your site, start one. Invite people from the industry to guest blog for you; they’ll promote their own posts, sending more traffic to your site. Already-established bloggers can also be a great way to build interest in your product. Collaborate on a giveaway or review with a blogger whose audience is ideal for your industry.
- Join online groups: Comment on forums and other venues about your company and your products. Leave links so that people can find what you’re referring to.
- Make a viral video: Tape your colleagues singing “Call Me Maybe” or do a fun holiday-themed video that can draw millions of potential customers to your YouTube page.
Study Other Companies
Sometimes, the best ideas can come from examining what has worked for other companies in your niche. Do you notice that one of your competitors is seeing a great response to a Pinterest-based contest? Brainstorm ways that you too can run a Pinterest contest but do it differently than your rival.
Be sure to monitor your competition’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to see what new ideas they are broaching and be gracious. Compliment them if you notice something that’s worked. After all, you’d like them to offer the same congratulations to you when your latest campaign takes off. Chances are they’ll be copying you right back.
In conclusion, if you follow these simple steps, it should make online marketing a lot easier for you and your company. Try these different steps until you find ones that work for you. Who knows, you might even like online marketing better than offline marketing.