When it comes to developing a marketing strategy for your business, it’s important to look at what’s available to you online.
If you run a bakery, for example, you might decide that food trucks are the way forward and establish one in your town. You will need to consider the ins and outs of establishing a food truck business and how to market it effectively.
The good news is you can find a variety of marketing samples to use as inspiration for your online marketing strategy. With that in mind, let’s dive into the details of some popular marketing strategies so you can get a good understanding of how to approach marketing online.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
An important part of any marketing strategy is getting your website onto the front page of search results when a consumer is searching for your product or service online. For example, if you’re searching for a wedding photographer in London, you’ll see links to various websites across the city. However, most of those websites won’t be associated with top tier brands, which can hurt their SEO.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have websites that are optimized for search motors and gain top spot in the natural listings. When a user lands on one of these sites, they typically see something like this:
- An image of a cute animal
- A quick overview of some of the local attractions
- An image of an item that the website specializes in (for example, an iPhone case)
SEO can be a bit complicated to implement, but it’s an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. If you’re looking to improve your SEO, be sure to consider hiring an expert to help you out.
2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Just like SEO, SMM is all about getting your content out there into as many social media networks as possible. The difference is with SMM, you are trying to get people to share your content to make it popular, whereas with SEO, you are trying to optimize your content for search engines.
SMM can be tricky to implement, but it’s a great way to spread the word about your business. If you haven’t got a social media account (or if it’s been a while since you used it), be sure to get on board and start using these platforms to promote your business. Some popular networks with a broad audience are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can also consider setting up a YouTube channel and using popular videos to promote your business. YouTube creators can be an effective way to grow your business and gain credibility with your target audience. You should also look into using other platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat to grow your business.
Once you start seeing results from your social media marketing strategy, be sure to revisit it regularly and identify areas where you can improve. You can use tools such as Google Analytics to track results and determine what’s working and what’s not. Don’t hesitate to try new things and be creative when using social media to promote your business.
3. Email Marketing
If you run a clothing store, you could decide to take the digital route and establish an email marketing campaign to get in touch with your customers and potential new customers. Depending on your email marketing software, you can put together a wide array of campaign types, from simple promotional emails to complex customer engagement campaigns.
You can also use email marketing to follow up with people who have previously bought from you. Even if they’ve bought a product before, you can use email marketing to keep in touch and remind them of your existence. Some email marketing services will even allow you to create personalized emails based on a purchase made by a specific customer.
Like social media marketing, email marketing can be tricky to implement, but it’s a great way to keep in touch with customers and potential customers and grow your business. You can use tools like MailChimp to get started, and even if you don’t end up using the service, you can sign up and try it out for free. The best part is you can use email marketing to automate your marketing strategy and have frequent, automated sales pitches from now on.
4. Search Console Optimization (SCO)
SCO, or Search Console Optimization, is the process of making sure that your website is easy for search engines to discover and is equipped to handle the searches that are relevant to your target audience. In other words, SCO helps Google to properly “crawl” your website and find all of its content so that it can be properly indexed.
There are various reasons why you might want to consider implementing SCO, from increasing the discoverability of your website to gaining a larger audience for your content. If you’re interested in growing your audience or want to see your website listed on the first page of search results, SCO is a great place to start.
You can use a tool like Google Search Console to get started. Once you’re in there, you’ll need to consider making changes to the HTML and coding of your website to properly structure and format your content for search engines. While there are numerous guidelines and a learning curve to understanding HTML and coding, it’s not rocket science. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this from the very beginning.
5. Online Reputation Management (ORM)
ORM, or Online Reputation Management, is all about defending your business’ reputation online. Simply put, when your business is mentioned online with a bad review or a negative comment, it can damage your brand’s image and hurt your sales. For that reason, it’s important to continually monitor and respond to comments and feedback about your business. The best part of ORM is you can do all this from the convenience of your laptop or smartphone.
You can establish a reputation management policy and procedure with your lawyer or accountant (if you have one of those professionals on staff) and require them to review and sign off on all customer matters. You should also consider getting a specialized consultant to help you with this part of the process (see more about outsourcing in the Legal section below).
This is also one area where it’s beneficial to have more than one person involved. While you want to keep an eye on things from a distance (to make sure you’re following the policy and procedure correctly), having someone nearby who can respond to customers and comment on social media is invaluable.
Legal & Financial Management
Let’s not forget about the Law & Financial Management (LFMA) roles that come with being a business owner. These are roles that are typically filled by an attorney or accountant, but much like with other roles, it’s not always necessary to have someone with legal training or experience. Sometimes, it’s enough to have someone who knows how to handle legal matters and finances efficiently. For example, if you want to start a business but aren’t sure how legal and financial obligations and agreements relate to you as an individual, it might be smart to hire a general lawyer or go to an established firm with a business division to take care of this for you.
Even if you’re doing everything right and following all the right procedures, you’re still liable for your business if you’re not aware of the implications of transactions and agreements that you make as a business owner. For example, if you decide to take out a business loan, you will need to ensure that you properly disclose all the necessary information about your business to the lender. If you are submitting a business plan and applying for funding through a bank or lending organization, be sure to have a legal expert review it before you send it in. Even if you think you’re following the rules, you could still find yourself in a situation where you’re legally obligated to pay for something you didn’t agree to. It’s worth the time and effort to know the ins and outs of contracts and agreements before you start.