You know you should be marketing your business online – and maybe you’ve already started – but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start or if you are doing it effectively.
Here’s a roadmap to help you see the wood for the trees!
The Basic Set Up
Firstly you need to get the basics right:
- A Website – one that you can update yourself. Learn how to buy a website you won’t regret.
- A Blog – you could use a free option like Blogger, Tumbler or WordPress.org but a blog that’s integrated into your website is preferable.
Why? because then you own it, which means that your free host can’t ever cut you off or go broke and disappear taking all your content and hard work down with them.
When you commission your website ask your developer to include a blog within your own site (it shouldn’t cost much more, if anything).
- A Mailing List Manager – your mailing list database is increasingly going to be the lifeblood of your business.While it seems unthinkable now, Facebook could become unpopular (it happened to Myspace). If that happens then all your Facebook fans could become effectively uncontactable – so you need to get them into a mailing list database that you control. This is not expensive and there are loads of great options. (Just don’t use Outlook, that’s not what it’s for.)
How To Drive Your Online Marketing Strategy
1. Post regular, interesting content to main website (photographs, blog posts, special events).
This is a critical factor! Coming up with stuff that genuinely gets your prospects and customers jazzed – week in, week out – will be the biggest challenge of your online marketing efforts. Be prepared to sweat over this stuff!
Remember: people hate to be “sold at” so strongly resist the urge to just spruik your wares. Instead try to be useful, interesting and – ideally – remarkable.
2. Link to your content (plus awesome, relevant third-party content) from your Facebook page and your email newsletter.
3. Encourage as many newsletter sign-ups as possible. You must make building and engaging your email list a priority. People crave consistency so send out newsletters on schedule and direct readers from here to your website/blog content and to your Facebook page.
4. Secure leads across channels, i.e. encourage all your prospects and customers to join your newsletter AND “like” your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, etc.
It might be a good idea to make some of your awesome content only available via one channel, i.e. if anyone is on your mailing list but they aren’t a fan on Facebook, tell them they might miss out on some really cool stuff.
5. Try competitions and Facebook advertising to drive traffic, increase engagement with your brand and encourage more likes/newsletter sign-ups. Facebook advertising is pretty easy and – at this point in time – if done intelligently, will get a response.
6. Find the “sweet spots” (content subjects, formats, initiatives) that work to engage your audience and do it more.
Example: for Tesselaars, single photos of current stock posted to Facebook proved to get the biggest, most enthusiastic response from people. Once we learned this we made sure to post these types of photos weekly. Competitions also result in high engagement for Tesselaars.
7. Provide tools for sharing wherever possible (website, newsletter). Share analytics help identify people who are socially active in promoting your brand to their friends. Try AddThis.com for sharing widgets that come with juicy stats.
8. Encourage “user-generated content” – that’s jargon for “stuff people put up online themselves”. For example at Tesselaars we foster this via competitions and customer pages.
If you can find a relevant way to do this for your business, then this could only be a good thing.
There’s a new rule that I think is increasingly true. Let’s call it The Most Important Page Rule.
9. Focus search tightly on the most relevant keywords (primarily Google – free & paid).
If you want people to come into your bricks and mortar shop then make sure your website is “optimized for local search”, which is marketer jargon for “Google can easily find and advertise what your shop location is”.
Attention is the New Gold
While a lot of noise has been made over the last few years about first SEO (getting found on Google, etc.) and now Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), the most important thing to focus relentlessly on is this word: Attention.
People’s attention is under fire from every side and so we have all become great at blocking out just about everything except for that which we most care about or which can best help us solve our problems.
To Get Their Attention – Lavish Your Attention On Them
You must put the customer first and figure out how you can help them and earn their attention. Once you’ve done this, continue to serve them effectively from within your own website>social media>email-list environment.
This “communications triangle” will work to keep your customers and prospects interacting with your brand more effectively than any single element would on its own, as long as you consistently go out of your way to humbly serve and earn the right to keep their attention.
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