How To Promote A Business Online? Part One
Your Customers Are Searching For You Online … Can They Find You?
Are you a local business owner? Or a business targeting a specific region?
Over the past few years, have you noticed a drop in demand for your products or services?
Or perhaps you are a new business, and sales has been really slow or not at all?
In my years of experience, I have met many businesses that were facing one of the above two situations. Of course, there were many other situations a business could be facing. Some businesses could be doing well and yearn to do better but do not know how to achieve that growth.
Whichever one of these situations that you are in, this series – How To Promote A Business Online – is for you. You will learn ways to increase brand exposure, enhance brand awareness, draw traffic to your website, engage with people who are interested in what you are selling, and tactics to heighten the chances of converting prospects into customers.
To help you achieve all that, I will share with you the following:
- The basics of digital marketing
- The types of internet marketing strategies that can help market your business
- 6 essential things you should be doing to gain online presence and be noticed by your target audience
- The meaning of online local domination and how to do it
- As well as helping you to come up with a simple digital marketing plan and put the tasks and tactics in the plan to work for you.
Before all that, I will share with you why traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore, and why it is imperative that you start marketing online.
Traditional Marketing Is Not Working Anymore
The Internet revolution is well under way, and the way to reach and communicate with your target audience must change. Today, your target audience that you seek has become increasingly fragmented due to new technologies that allow them to experience media in myriad platforms.
The fact of the matter is that traditional media such as television, radio, magazines, and newspapers are well on their way to the fate of the dinosaurs. Advertising on traditional media to reach your market may work in the past, but it is no longer as effective as before, and will not bring in business as expected. This is particularly true for print media that many people do not pay attention to anymore.
Businesses that are still using such outdated forms of advertising are throwing away many thousands in expenses on ineffective marketing every month. It is easy to do a quick survey to find out if this is true. Simply ask a few people where their copy of the Yellow Pages is. The answers will astound you.
Some may say that they have it in some storage area, gathering dust. Some may have thrown it away (may even cite waste of space as a reason). How does that make you feel about the money you’re spending?
So where are people going to when they need to find products and service?
The answer is the Internet.
They are scouring the Internet to connect with their friends and family, and search for products and services they need. So businesses that want to reach out to existing customers and have new customers find them simply must have a quality online presence. And this means not just having an ineffective website that looks like it was done as a school project.
Today, most websites are well thought out. The design, layout and content are interesting and informative. The interface and experience are personable. Due to the fact that many people now surf the Internet on mobile devices, many websites have become what is known as responsive websites.
All these effective websites utilize a myriad of savvy digital marketing techniques that improve their search rankings and make them stand out from their competitors. For example, if you have a site with no keywords in it and almost no backlinks, you are missing the boat and will never get to the top of the search engine results.
And having a website alone is not enough for your business nowadays. You need to be on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Youtube, etc., where your target audience is hanging out and communicating. Social media enables you to reach out and communicate with your target audience on a personal level. This is very powerful, and has never been available with traditional media.
Of course, besides having a website and being on social networks, there are other digital marketing techniques and strategies that you must do. We will discuss and explore all these in the rest of this series.
Why Is Internet Marketing Important?
In every form of media, there are specific marketing strategies that apply to that particular media. The Internet is no exception. In order to get traffic to your website, you need to stay on top of these digital marketing strategies, and implement them. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on one of the most efficient and lucrative sources to get new customers for your business.
In my years of experience, I have encountered many local business owners who did not apply any digital marketing strategies to grow their customer base. This is simply because they have no idea what needs to be done.
It is understandable as digital marketing is so new and foreign to most business owners. They are so busy running their business, managing their staff, and taking care of their clients. And that is all right as they should rightly focus on their core business.
Some don’t even know where to start. Most don’t have the time to learn what digital marketing is all about. Plus, it is constantly evolving. So to keep themselves updated takes up quite a lot of time and effort.
Then there are those who know and understand the value of digital marketing, and how it can bring increasing returns to their businesses. They are aware of some digital marketing strategies, but don’t have the time and resources to do it. Like the other business owners mentioned in the previous paragraph, they are bogged down by the running of their business, staff management, and providing the best services and products to their existing clients. They, too, know that this is an arena where it is always evolving.
To find out if you are familiar with digital marketing, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are long-tailed keywords?
- What is keyword density?
- What is Web 0? And Web 3.0?
- How do you set up an autoresponder?
- How do you change the tags on your website?
- How do you create videos and audios for your website?
If you don’t know the answers to the above questions, don’t panic. It is okay.
It is absolutely normal. You, like most business owners, have wisely spent your time focusing on your core role; that is to manage your business and ensure it become successful. You have mastered other aspects of your business that were crucial to your business.
But now, you need to learn more!
It is time for you to discover what needs to be done in order to have an effective digital marketing plan for your business.
The Importance of Having a Good Online Presence
Today, most local business owners are running lean and hungry. Hungry for more business. Hungry for that sales phone to ring. Hungry for more customers to walk in through the door. But the economic and business landscape is always changing, always in constant flux.
Today, reaching your target market cost-effectively is nothing like it was a decade or decades ago. Business owners need to understand these changes, adapt accordingly, and meet the challenges they are facing. This is essential to the survival of your business
In 2011, I was the newly appointed Business Development Manager of a local business that was spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages advertising. The business has been doing that for the previous past years, and nobody was tracking if this expenditure was bringing in any new customers.
A quick survey and phone calls to our current clientele proved that not one customer used the Yellow Pages to search and find that local business. Needless to say, when it was time to renew the advertising contract, I put a stop to it, and saved thousands of dollars for the company.
There would be those who are not savvy at digital marketing, and would be at a loss as to what to do with that big budget so as to get the best possible returns on the company’s marketing investment. All that money could be poured into online strategies that might either fall flat or backfire. The learning curve is sharp and unforgiving.
As someone who had been practicing digital marketing for 25 years, I knew and understood that this big budget needs to be re-channeled to advertising on the Internet so as to get the best possible returns on the company’s marketing investment.
Just like me, there are entrepreneurs who realize that the Internet is the future. In August 2014, Google reported that they now process “over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide”. This number grows by more than 40% to 60% each year. In fact, 81% of people search online before they make a purchase.
What is more important is that a large majority of these people search online for local services and products before making a buying decision. Very few turn to the local newspaper to find what they want. Even fewer think of the Yellow Pages anymore. This is why it is essential that local business owners need to have an online presence, and have effective digital marketing in place.
Unlimited Potential for Growth
Understanding how digital marketing works, and using the tactics and techniques correctly to promote your business can easily result in huge increase in sales. When your digital marketing strategies work effectively and there is increased sales, you create positive impact on your own business that can have positive effect on the world around you.
When you encourage more money to be spent locally by having a steady stream of new customers, you also improve your local economy. There could be fewer downsizing and layoffs. Sometimes, new jobs could even be created.
In fact, no matter how the economy changes, because you are able to reach those who are interested to buy from you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and your business will grow. And that is what effective marketing is all about!
Digital marketing has the potential for exponential profit growth. If you’re not ready for your business to double or even more, stop reading now!
Important Statistics You Need To Know
Statistics are great for understanding your customers. Here are some statistics that show you how people are using the Internet to search for what they want:
- Over 5 billion searches occur every day, and 1 in 3 searches is local.
- 5% of people searching on Google will choose a business that is on the first page of their search results.
- 5% of clicks go to the #1 ranked site of search results.
- 6% of clicks go to the #2 ranked site of search results.
- 4% of clicks go to the #3 ranked site of search results.
From the above statistics, you can see how important it is to have a strong online presence, to be ranked high for search results. Thus, it is imperative that your business develop and implement an effective digital marketing strategy. This is so that those looking for products and services that you provide can find you. Even when they don’t know your brand or business name.
Making Changes to Your Online Marketing Methods
You would like to get maximum results from your digital marketing plan and strategy. To achieve that, you will need to make some pretty drastic changes to your digital marketing methods. To help you with that, here are some insider facts you need to know.
First, it is a fact that there is a potential to grow your business using digital marketing. And that potential can be phenomenal, no matter what industry you are in. You just have to learn what needs to be done, and cultivate this opportunity.
There are six extremely useful digital marketing techniques that you should be doing. Again, you have to learn these techniques. Then put them into practice and you will be able to outperform your competitors quickly.
Have you ever heard of local online domination? Well, this is a goal you need to accomplish. And you can do by learning and mastering a four step process. When you follow the four step process diligently, you will have higher chances of getting the results you desire.
Every marketing effort needs a good plan, and has the best results because of it. You will need to create a digital marketing plan and follow it as closely as possible. A plan is essential for managing all the crucial tasks that can take your business to the top of the search results as well as attract new customers for you.
It is critical to do an audit of your past marketing efforts, if any. By taking the time to thoroughly analyze what you have been doing in the past, you are better equipped to create and implement a new and better digital marketing plan. Also, you can measure the progress by comparing past results to results from your new digital marketing efforts.
Most business owners can get overwhelmed by the number of tasks required from the new digital marketing plan. This need not be so. You just need to make the tasks more reasonable by breaking them down into bite-sized chunks. A good place to start is to do the tasks that are one-time jobs. Especially those that are also the foundation of your digital marketing plan. For example, content for your website. Make them into a checklist and have fun ticking them off.
Once the one-time tasks are done, focus next on the tasks that repeat. These would be the long-term commitments that require monthly, weekly, or even daily attention. For example, blog updates or Facebook postings.
Speaking of these long-term tasks that repeat and require constant attention, you should consider hiring a vendor to do this role. Perhaps even the entire digital marketing plan. The reason is these tasks take up a lot of time. You need to do research to find fresh, interesting and relevant articles or spend time creating your own unique ones. Then there is the copywriting to be done. This itself is an art.
Good copywriting captures people’s attention and inspires them to act; e.g. visit your website or make a purchase. Plus, good pictures and videos not only captivate an audience but also reinforce your brand image. Now, videos are the choice form of communicating with your target audience. Videos are great as they can appeal to the senses, touches the emotions, and is easy to digest. I believe the future is Video Marketing, and will share more about this later. All this require the right digital marketing partner with the right experience, expediency and skills to help you make your digital marketing a success.
Finally, you need to create a system for tracking the results of your digital marketing efforts. More importantly, it can determine and improve your Return On investment (ROI) thereby measuring the increase in your business income.
This is just an example of how tracking your digital marketing results are useful. There are, of course, many other ways to track and measure the performance of your digital marketing efforts. By doing so, you know how your business is growing, and how to further enhance the growth through digital marketing.
That’s all I have for the introduction. I know it’s lengthy. I did think of breaking this introduction into two parts, but thought better not to. After all, it is an introduction. And also I was concerned that when done in two parts, the essence of the points may be diluted.
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.
* Update – Continue the series to Part Two – How To Promote A Business Online – 6 Things You Should Be Doing.