If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either an entrepreneur already or interested in following an entrepreneurial path. If that’s the case, you might be wondering what forms an entrepreneur’s online marketing strategy should take. Let’s dive into how you can approach online marketing to develop your business and what you should know to do it effectively.
The 3 Pillars of Digital Marketing
While most marketers might think about search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and paid-search (PPC) when it comes to online marketing, we should focus on a different set of strategies:
SEO is all about ranking #1 on Google (and other search engines) for keywords or phrases that are relevant to your product or service. When someone searches for a product or service like yours, your website should show up at the top of the list (or at least in the top three or four results).
Your SEO strategy should focus on three areas:
- On-site SEO — including creating high-quality content that is relevant to your targeted audience and optimizing it for search engines
- Off-site SEO — including getting reviews and gaining backlinks to improve your rankings
- Monitoring and analyzing performance to see what is and isn’t working and adjusting your strategy as needed
Let’s take an example company, Groff’s Ice Cream. The ice cream manufacturer has two primary websites:
The first site is for their main product, the Groff’s brand of ice cream, and it uses SEO to drive traffic to the store. While the second site is for the company’s other product, Fudgie the Whale, and it doesn’t use any SEO to attract visitors.
The objective of the first website is to drive people to the store to buy ice cream. To accomplish this, the team at Groff’s Ice Cream does a fantastic job of using SEO to enter a number of keywords into the “content,” “meta,” and “description” fields to drive traffic to the site.
Next, let’s take a look at the meta data for the first website.
The meta data is essentially data about your website. It usually exists outside of the normalHTML on your page, and has nothing to do with the content you’re displaying on the page. This data can be extremely helpful to search engines, as it provides them with more information about your site. The meta data for the Groff’s Ice Cream website includes things like the page’s content, keywords, and descriptions. As you might imagine, all of this can help engines determine what the page is about.
To see what meta data is available for your website, navigate to yourwebsite.com/metameta in a web browser (preferably Not Mobile). If you’ve ever used Google Analytics, you’ll see a lot of similar information.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about creating valuable content that people want to share, and getting paid for it. Just like SEO, content marketing can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field and attract potential customers to your brand or business.
To see how content marketing works, let’s return to the Groff’s Ice Cream example. One of the ways the company connects with customers is by creating educational content for them. More specifically, they have a series of articles that answer common questions about ice cream.
If someone searching for advice on what types of ice creams are sold at local supermarkets, they’ll likely come across an article like this one, which provides them with an overview of different kinds of ice creams, along with links to recipes and reviews.
This type of content is highly valuable to customers, as it provides them with just the information they need to make the right choice. It also builds trust and credibility with the reader, as the company is clearly an expert in their field and someone that they can look to for guidance. When you produce and distribute content like this, you’re not only doing your community some favor, but you’re also establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. And that’s exactly what content marketing is all about.
3. Paid Search (PPC)
Paid search is all about getting money for ads that appear when a user searches for a product or service that you offer. Most people think about PPC when they hear the phrase “pay per click,” as most PPC platforms follow that model. Essentially, when someone clicks an ad on your site, you pay the advertiser, whether it’s an affiliate salesperson or a company like Google.
The advantage of PPC is that you’re not restricted to appearing in organic search results, as you can target people who are already believed to be interested in your product or service.
However, PPC can be tricky to manage, especially if you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of PPC tools. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to make the most of this channel without too much effort.
The Upsides Of Using Free Tools
The first and most important rule of using PPC tools is to never, ever pay for tools. Yes, you might think that paying for tools is “cheaper” in the long run, but trust me, the cost of tool abuse is much more expensive. PPC tools are designed to generate leads for the sake of marketing and advertising, so you shouldn’t have to pay for them at all. If you want to see real results from your PPC efforts, use tools that are free or at least have a limited number of monthly charges.
For example, Google Adwords allows you to enter a keyword or phrase, along with geographical and timing restrictions. The platform then provides you with lists of related keywords and phrases, along with suggested advertisements to run.
The great thing about Google Adwords is that it’s very easy to set up. All you have to do is enter your email address and create a Google account. From there, you can get to work creating ads for your products and services.
Another fantastic tool for PPC is Google Remarketing. With this tool, you can target the users who have already shown interest in your product or service by creating ads designed to travel back in time and show up on their screens. For example, if you sell shoes, you might want to create an ad that will show up on someone’s screen when they search for “shoes” and also when they search for “pedicure.”
The advantage of remarketing is that it allows you to target users who have already shown interest in your product or service, rather than having to start from scratch and hope that people are listening and want what you have to offer. If you want to see real results from your PPC efforts, use tools that are free or at least have a limited number of monthly charges.
The Downsides Of Using Free Tools
While there are a number of advantages to using free tools for PPC, there are also some significant downsides. First, the quality of the leads and traffic these tools can generate can be highly dubious, as there is no way to guarantee you’re reaching real people. Also, a lot of the tools out there aren’t tailored for small businesses, so you have to figure out what works best for your company, which can be difficult. Finally, a lot of the time, the tools that are free aren’t that good, and it takes a lot of effort to find the gems among the rubble.
For these reasons, it’s important to use tools that have a reputation for being both effective and trustworthy. And that’s why I always recommend that you avoid paying for tools for PPC. If you can, find a tool that has a free trial or limited monthly charges, and see how you perform before you invest any money.
Make Sure Your Platform Is Tailored To Entrepreneurs
One of the main differences between working as a business owner and working for someone else is that as the owner, you’re responsible for everything. This includes everything from the way you market your product or service to the ways in which you handle finances and accounting. Naturally, as an owner, you want to take responsibility for the tools you choose to use in your business.