Audit Your Current Digital Marketing Efforts (if any)
Before we discuss about creating your new digital marketing plan, let us do a simple audit of your past online marketing efforts (if you have any so far). Let us look at what has been done previously for your business on the Internet; for example your website, any social media network, blog, etc.
Let us be thorough, and evaluate your current online presence so that you can see where you are at. Only then can we create a good and effective digital marketing plan for you to know where you want your business to be, how successful you want your business to be, and what needs to be done to achieve that.
Assess Current Digital Marketing Checklist
Here is a checklist for you to assess your current internet marketing (if you have any):
How do you currently market your company?
How do you currently promote your online presence?
Why are you thinking of putting a digital marketing in place?
Have you spent any money on advertisements?
Which media are these advertisements on?
Are the advertisements on these media working?
Have you used Pay-Per-Click ads in before?
Do you have a business website?
What techniques do you currently use to drive traffic to your website?
How much are you spending each month to get that traffic?
How many unique visitors does your business website get per month?
How many enquiries do you get from those that visit your website?
What percentage of revenue currently comes from leads generated by the Internet? And from which platform?
How many sales/leads do you get per month from your website?
What is the current value of your average sale? What is the average revenue per sale? What is the average profit per sale?
How many current customers do you have?
How many of these current customers bought your products and/or services?
How often does a customer buy from you? (get full statistics and average)
Do you regularly keep in touch with your customers? If yes, how do you do it? And how often?
Is your business capable of exponential growth?
Are your sales team trained?
Does your sales team receive training regularly?
What type of training does your sales team undergo?
The above checklist is just a guideline. You might think of more questions to help with the audit. By the end of this exercise, you should have a pretty good report card on the overall health of your current digital marketing plan. And you should know if it is working or not. Also, you will uncover some missing pieces as well as potential growth for your business.
Current Digital Marketing Plan Audit
It is also good to conduct an audit of your current digital marketing plan for each of your line (if you do have any):
Have you registered your business with local online business directories?
Do you use article marketing?
Do you have a blog on your business website?
How often do you post on the blog?
Do you have people following your blog?
Do people engage you on your blog?
Do you have videos on your business website?
Do you place videos on video sites such as Vimeo and YouTube to promote your business website?
Do you use online Press Releases?
Do you use Pay-Per-Click advertising?
Do you test and track your website as well as all other digital platforms?
Do you use online Classified Ads sites?
Do you use online Local Forums?
Do you use Audio Marketing on your site, and also syndicate the audio on other popular sites?
Most of the above checklist should be done for each of your product lines or services you carry. When the checklist items are in place, you will be more effective at marketing your business on the digital space.
If you are targeting different markets, do consider using different approaches to reach each market. While you may attract them to your business website, your emails, Pay-Per-Click campaign, landing pages, content on classified ads sites and local forums, online videos, online audios, articles and blogs should be tailored to each market accordingly.
This is the shortest of my blog posts so far. And I hope you enjoyed it just as much as the longer posts? Please write a comment and let me know your thoughts on this part 4, the rest of the How To Promote A Business Online series so far.
The term sounds ominous, doesn’t it? In fact, some people have said that maybe it would sound better if named as Online Local Authority. It doesn’t really matter what is the name given, what matters is that this is the state of being that you would like your business to be in. It is when you have become the Number One Authority for your local market on the Internet. It is a sign that your business has become a huge success.
This distinction is earned when your business was previously unheard and unseen on the Internet, and then became visible online virtually everywhere. This title is given to you when your business is frequently listed on the first page of local search results, organic search results and Pay-Per-Click campaigns. Also, you would have received numerous consumer reviews, more than any other local business in your market.
At this stage, your business would consistently be the most popular one on any type of online search. Wherever people look, they see your brand, and they will quickly come to recognize that you are the authority in your field. They will consider you as the best in your industry, and will prefer to do business with you.
After all, we all want to do business with the best, don’t we?
When you achieve Online Local Domination, your business is the easily found business of its type in a given local area. In addition, your business is always at the top of local search results, normal search results and geo-targeted generic results. When your business can be found at the top of normal search results without any indication of an area, you have reached a higher level than Online Local Domination. And this is better, much better. But that’s another topic for another day.
To be the master of local online search results, you need to understand how the searches work. Also, you need to understand what are the different keywords that individuals use when they search for businesses similar to yours. With this better understanding, you can apply different and more effective digital marketing techniques that can help your business to be listed at the top of search engine results, or at least on the first page of it.
To be on the first page of online search results is where you need your business to be.
91.5% of people who does online search will choose a business from those listed on the first page.
Of course, it is so much more better when you are able to be in the top 3 listed on the first page of online search results. This raises the chances of getting prospective clients to your web site. Businesses that are not in the first page or top 3 ranking are losing out a lot of business.
Profession digital marketers know how to get a business to that Number One spot of a search result, for local keywords in Google. They have the knowledge and skill to do it. Plus, most local keywords have very little competition because not many businesses are doing it. Therefore, this state of being – Online Local Domination – is ripe and easily available for anyone with the knowledge and skill to achieve.
4-Point Online Domination
To achieve Online Local Domination, there is a 4-Point Online Domination technique that can make it happen. Start doing this today and you can be the one in your industry that dominates the Internet locally. Here is the 4-Point Online Domination:
Local Business Results (Google My Business)
Natural Search Results
Local Search Results – Google My Business
In order to achieve online domination, one of the criteria is to be highly visible and prominent on local search results. You can achieve this with Google My Business.
Playing hard to get may be good for dating, but it is bad for business. When people search for businesses using keywords, there are often map listings at the top of natural search results. You must do all you can to get your business listed there. One of the ways would be to ensure that your business is listed for a variety of keyword phrases. Don’t forget variations of these keyword phrases as well as your business name.
Another way, more powerful and sure, is to have a Google My Business account. You will be surprised to know that even businesses that don’t have a website can get listed on Google My Business. These businesses use Google My Business to post articles about their business and related topics, videos and other information that will be interesting to their community.
Google My Business is an important tool for business owners. You can put the right information about your business on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can get in touch with you. You just need to understand how to use it successfully to market and grow your business online.
It is important to know that Google’s local search algorithm considers 3 major factors when determining where to rank your business, what terms to rank it for, and how high to rank it relative to other businesses. The 3 major factors are:
Of course, a match to keywords searching for your business name will be most relevant, and can result in top ranking on search results. But what about natural searches done by people who do not know your business name?
For example, when someone searches for a bakery in Seoul, Korea, then the search results will only show bakeries in that area, not other types of businesses. A bakery that has the right keywords and a Google My Business account will rank higher than other bakeries in that area, too.
This factor looks at how popular and well known your business is. Google considers backlinks, mentions of your business on other websites, and social media. The latter is becoming an increasing Prominence factor. Regular (and relevant) status updates, number of likes and comments, and even mention of your social media pages are critical. Businesses that know this are wisely getting on the social media networks, and hiring and leveraging the expertise of a digital marketer to manage them.
This factor is the only one of the three that you can least affect or influence to help you with your search results ranking. It simply considers the general location as entered by people, if they do enter a location in their search keywords. If not, then Google will look at the distance between the person doing the search and local businesses nearby, and offer a list of search results based on that.
One digital marketing technique to enhance your search results ranking is to pay for Search Ads on Google. This will place your listing at the top of the search result page, with a little green ‘Ad’ icon. On Google Maps, your business will be shown within the info cards beneath the search box, and on the map.
One of the keys to market online successfully with Google My Business is to complete the profile completely, accurately, and regularly. Invite customers to review your business as this is vital for search rankings. Plus, it is always useful to listen to what your customers are saying about your products and services, and find out how you can improve them to better serve your customers and attract new ones.
Natural Search Results
When a search is done on the Internet, a list of website and web pages relevant to that search will be shown on the search results. Sometimes, there would be sponsored ads and local search results at the higher portion of the first page listing. After that, would be the natural search results.
Due to the way natural search is done by search engines, you must pay attention to the use of keywords because they are all commonly found ranked in natural search results. Here are some ways to use keywords:
Social networking profiles
Social bookmarking profiles
Pay-Per-Click is a form of advertising online that directs traffic to websites. Advertisers pay the publisher only when the ad is clicked by people. You can buy Pay-Per-Click ads from search engines, and have your business listed at the very top of search results.
Like all advertising, the copy of the advertisement is important. A well written advertisement that is captivating with words that encourage people to click it can bring you great results and conversion of visitors to customers. It is wise to hire expert and experienced copywriters who know how to get this job done for you well.
Do note that you must have a budget for Pay-Per-Click ads. Monitor the spending of this budget. After an advertising campaign, it is good to review the results, and then create and execute a strategy for a new advertising campaign that can bring you even better results.
There are business owners who may be reluctant to spend on online advertising. Perhaps they have spent on advertising before and never saw any results. What they don’t realize is this is very different from advertising on traditional media. Advertising on newspapers or magazines often result in a lot of wastage. A lot of money is spent, and they don’t reach your target audience.
But online advertising is different and more efficient. It is a form of targeted advertising. For example, if your business sells stationery in an area called Redhill, and someone types ‘stationery Redhill’ in a search box. Your ad will appear at the top of the list. You have just reached your target audience. This is one of the fastest ways to get traffic to your site, and is a very valuable part of digital marketing strategies.
One of the signs that you have achieved Online Local Domination is when your business website, web pages and content are at the top of search results based on your keywords. For example, someone does a search using a keyword that you are using in your digital marketing strategy, and that person arrives at a page of search results that ranks your website as number one, your online video as number two, your social media network (page or content) as number three, and your press release as number five, you know you have achieved Online Local Domination.
Chances are the searcher will acknowledge that you are an expert in that industry, in that business, and would most likely choose you for his or her needs.
Getting results like that is relatively easy, especially in the hands of an expert digital marketer. All it would take is to get your content out there with social media, Web 2.0 applications, online articles, press releases, videos, apply Search Engine Optimization, and many other digital marketing techniques, and you will find it the norm for your business to be always listed at multiple places of search results.
Remember this 4-point online domination model. Use it wisely and use it well. And for sure, you will be able to achieve the exceptional results that you have expected.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please like and share this post. And of course, definitely leave a comment for me. I would love to hear from you.
Then there are those who think they know how to promote a business online. So they create a website and set up a few social network accounts. Unfortunately, this group thinks that posting on their social media once in a blue moon is good enough for people to find them.
Of course, there are those who have an inkling what Digital Marketing is all about. But they only use a select few techniques to drive traffic to their site.
Which of these types of business owners are you?
At the same time, I must say that I totally empathize with all types of business owners. The reason is they are not in the business of marketing – whether online or offline. So it is not reasonable to expect them to know much about it or be an expert at it. As a business owner, it is understandable that as you are focusing more on your core duties and responsibilities to run and grow your business. And leave the marketing to the experts like me. Still, it is worthwhile to know at least what online marketing is all about. So it is good you are reading and learning more about it now.
There are times when you will find that many internet marketing efforts require some testing to find out what works and what does not work. For example, Facebook Ads with hard selling copy may work for a certain target audience, but may not for another. All that testing will take up a lot of your time and effort.
The good news is – with this series – How to Promote A Business Online? (start reading from part one if you have not done so) – you are given an enormous advantage. From a wide variety of tried and tested internet marketing methods, I have narrowed it down to a few for you to start. These are ideal for you to see real results in your sales.
Here, I present 6 Things That You Should Be Doing to enhance your digital marketing efforts. Not many know of all these 6 tried and tested marketing methods. And everyone and every business should be doing them. So when you do apply all six of them, you can produce some serious results.
And – drum roll – here they are:
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
2. Social Media
4. Online Videos
5. Build a List
6. Free Reports
1. Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Did you spend a lot of money for your business website to be created?
Whether you did spent a lot, not so much or very little, the more important question is – did you spend enough or at all for your website to be search engine optimized?
If your website is not search engine optimized, it will never get ranked high in the search results. The effect of this is nobody will know the existence of your business website, your business and your brand.
SEO is an important digital marketing tool to promote your businesses online. More and more people are becoming aware of this, and are doing it for their websites, whether by themselves or hiring professionals to help.
So how does SEO help to promote your business online?.
Search engines use an Internet bot, often called a spider, to collect information on the World Wide Web, and build lists. This includes strategic use of keywords, backlinks, and more.
When your website does not have any strategic use of keywords, plus a significant number of links to your site, and many other SEO elements, your website will have a hard time achieving ranking on the first page of search results. Without online visibility, it will be virtually impossible for people to learn about your business through online means.
Important Tip for SEO!
Do not use sluggish elements like Flash.
For years, I have highly recommended to many clients to not have Flash on their website, especially the home page. While it can look impressive, websites with Flash do not get indexed properly by search engines. The simple truth is that search bots cannot read Flash content.
Nowadays, having Flash can even hurt your search rankings as search engines have begun blacklisting such sites. They regard these websites as deceptive, having no keywords, and no content.
2. Social Media
Today, for every business, Social Media is a must have.
In 2013, Jayson DeMers reported on Forbes that:
“Investment in Social Media Will Become a Necessity, Not a Luxury”
Today, those prophetic words have proven to be true. Social Media is a priority for your business, and complements as well as augments your SEO efforts. It will improve your website’s search rankings and allow your business to be found.
As part of your marketing and PR (public relations) mix, it will help your business to increase brand exposure and enhance brand awareness. This makes it a great tool to establish a stronger brand for your business.
You can use social media to build a community of people interested in your products and services. It is an excellent tool to share your expertise and knowledge on your products and services as well as interact and receive valuable customer feedback.
All business owners know that marketplace insight is very valuable. With social media, you can get this valuable information direct from the source. Never before has businesses had such access that can help improve and grow the business.
Social media has many other benefits. It can also be used to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, and boost sales by converting loyal fans to customers.
Important Tip for SEO!
Search engines Love new and fresh content!
Blogging is one way of keeping content fresh on your website. This will enhance your chances of being at the top of search engines. Also, you can blog such that your content has all the right long-tailed keywords.
In addition, when you blog posts that are interesting and captures the attention of people, you can build a following. This following is immediately your potential customers ready and ripe for you to market your products and services to.
After all, when they follow you, it means they have an interest in what you are offering to them. Again, just like social media, they can be a valuable source of feedback and marketplace insight.
4. Online Video
Online videos are the next wave in content marketing.
You can create a simple video using text slides, and do a voiceover with or without background music. Or a video presenting your products and services. The content for video is virtually limitless.
And the best part is that more and more people love watching videos rather than read a lot of text. Hence, you now have another hot digital marketing vehicle to reach numerous customers and prospects. For maximum effectiveness, just be sure to place the online video where people can find it; e.g. social media, your website, YouTube, etc.
5. Build A List
One of the goals of your online marketing plan should be to build an email list. It is a database of people who opt in; that is they consent to receiving emails from you about your products and services.
To capture such data and increase your email list, you need an autoresponder. This is an indispensable tool for all businesses. It saves time for you because it is there on a page of your website, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, ready to accept input from people who wish to sign up and receive emails from you.
It is a set of standardized letters that are set up once, and the necessary contact with each new individual who opts into your email list is taken care of automatically. Hence, it is actually very good for lead nurturing that is absolutely essential in demand marketing.
6. Free Reports
Everyone loves free stuff, especially when there is some valuable information available that is pertinent to their interests. When you offer free reports on a particular area of interest to your potential customers, you will firstly establish yourself as an expert in that particular field.
Of course, first you need to create reports that are of value to others because they offer useful information. When you have that, you can offer them on your website. Get people to provide their name and email address (at the very least) in exchange for a free report. As you can guess by now, this is another way to build your email list.
When you apply the above 6 Things You Should Be Doing, you will find that your website will be placed higher in search engine results ranking.
As a result, more and more people will be able to find you on the Internet, and connect and engage with you. You will now have more opportunities to communicate with them, and convert them into customers.
I am sure you noticed that this is just an overview of the 6 Things You Should be Doing. There will be more details in future blog posts. Do sign up for my newsletter to be updated. Or connect with me on Social Media where I will post updates, too.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please like and share this post. And of course, definitely leave a comment for me. I would love to hear from you.