Growing a business without a solid marketing plan can be like building a house without a blueprint. As much as you wouldn’t set up a retail business in the middle of nowhere and expect it to flourish, you can’t expect your website to take root out there in cyberspace without some kind of internet marketing strategy. After all – what’s the use of a website without a solid return on investment (ROI)?
Creating the right online marketing strategy can save you time and help direct your advertising resources in the right way. So what key areas should you address in getting your website working hard for you?
Key Areas Of Focus For Successful Websites
Online marketing is still a relatively new medium, with a myriad of new routes to your target audience. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. With this in mind, here are some key features of any well-rounded online marketing plan.
Is Anybody Out There?
The primary aim of any new website must be to attract fresh visitors. The digital landscape is changing rapidly, and traditional methods of search engine marketing (SEO, PPC etc.) may longer be the most appropriate route to market.
Why? Well, mainly because of the social media revolution. User search habits have adapted to encompass an ever-growing resource of blogs, forums, social media platforms (such as Facebook and Twitter) and mobile applications (apps). This means internet marketers are faced with a brave new world – a world they must adapt to quickly.
So, to start with here’s a few simple tips for success:
- Submit an XML sitemap to all the major search engines
- List your web address in local and national directories of relevance
- Create social media profiles and become an active member of the community
- Write press releases and distribute them to content-hungry platforms
- Don’t neglect traditional methods such as offline campaigns to help drive traffic
Take care to adopt a cohesive approach, using your website as the hub for all your online marketing activities. Any social networking activity for instance, should be used to help promote your website, not replace it.
Turn Enquiries into Sales Opportunities
After you have spent a little time building your online profile, it’s time to convert those visitors into customers (or at least leads). This is where the art of conversion marketing comes into play. Your website should be designed to drive the visitor towards a desired goal such as providing their details via a web form or making a purchase.
This is achieved principally using the AIDA principal (attention, interest, desire, action). Here are a few tips to get you on your way:
- Call to action! Simple visual prompts such as “buy here” or “find out more” can prove highly effective
- Offer an exchange – encourage visitors to provide their information by providing some kind of incentive such as a free whitepaper or ebook
- Landing pages can prove an effective direct sales platform when driving traffic to your site, or even purchasing a product direct
- Use snappy, eye catching headers and keep the copy brief
- Split test multiple strategies to establish the most effective activities
A good website design, combined with persuasive navigation, will make sure nothing distracts your visitors from carrying out your main objectives.
Regardless of which approach you take to engage your online audience, business is and always will be about interaction and relationships. Building strong personal links will help you to (a) gain credibility and (b) retain clients. There is no substitute for trust and loyalty, so a little investment goes a long way.
Here’s a few ideas to make things that little bit smoother:
- Web 2.0 offers a wealth of platforms that offer opportunities to interact with others.
- Encourage regular interaction with current clients through various channels.
- Ask for feedback regularly – not only will you gauge your progress, but also leaves a good impression with clients.
- Build an email list of both past and current clients – offer regular tips, advice and promote your profile as an expert in your chosen field.
- Consider using a rewards scheme to encourage referrals and new leads.
A word of caution, don’t try and run before you can walk. Bombarding clients with a marketing blitzkrieg will no doubt damage your reputation and damage credibility.
Develop a measured schedule that provides a steady stream of marketing content. Get it right, and the rest should follow. If you would like help to get your website working harder, call 01454 261111.