The World Wide Web has transformed our world, opening doors for businesses of all sizes. But, as we all know, being online isn’t exactly the same as being profitable. That’s why it’s essential that you develop a solid online marketing strategy if you want to see your business flourish.
What is online marketing?
Put simply, online marketing is the practice of marketing a business or product online. Simply having a website is not enough – you have to do something with it! For instance, if you are selling food products, having an online store isn’t enough. You have to promote your store on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
An important distinction to make is between online marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While online marketing is designed to attract potential customers to your site, SEO is the process of enhancing your site’s rankings on search engines so that it becomes more discoverable by potential customers. The two go hand-in-hand – SEO optimizes your content for search engines so that it can be easily found, and online marketing promotes your content on social media platforms so that your audience knows about it. But it’s important to note that not all SEO is created equal, and you need to make sure that you work with a reputable SEO company who can help you improve your site’s SEO and boost your sales.
Find Out What Works
The first step in developing an online marketing strategy is to figure out what works. What marketing methods are successful for your target audience?
Take some time to sit down with a few of your best customers – whether they are existing customers or potential new customers – and really get to know them. Ask them questions about their experience as a customer and what would make them more inclined to purchase from you. By mining this data, you can begin to establish which types of content perform well and help you figure out what elements to include in your next campaign. Plus, you can see which strategies work best for your target audience and begin to replicate them.
Set A Budget
Now that you have a clear idea of what works, it’s time to set a budget and plan out how you’re going to spend your money. Many businesses think that marketing is free, but the truth is it’s not. There are always costs associated with any marketing campaign. Setting a budget and planning out how you’re going to spend your money is an important step in developing a sound strategy. Remember: you’re competing in a crowded marketplace, and you need to set clear expectations for yourself and your employees around what is and isn’t affordable.
Research Competitive Analysis
It’s important to understand what your competitors are doing, and more importantly, what they are NOT doing. What types of marketing strategies are working for your competitors? What are their prices and terms? This is important information that can help you figure out what will make your customers choose you over your competitors.
Knowing your competitors is important, but it can be difficult to get an accurate picture of what they are doing. One important tool that can help you figure out your competitors’ strategies is a tool known as competitive analysis. With competitive analysis, you can enter your competitors’ websites and get a clear idea of their strategies, pricing, and what will make them stand out above the rest.
Create A Marketing Plan
Once you have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t work, you can begin to put together a plan for how you’re going to approach online marketing. A good plan should include things like:
- An overview of your current marketing efforts, including what has worked in the past and what you are planning on doing differently this time around
- The objectives you are hoping to achieve (e.g., raising brand awareness, boosting web traffic, and so on)
- The metrics you will use to measure your progress (e.g., number of blog posts published, social media impressions, and website traffic)
- The resources you need to work with (e.g., a computer, a phone, etc.)
- How much you are willing to spend on each type of effort
- Step-by-step instructions for putting the plan into action
- An estimate of how much this plan will cost
- An estimate of how much profit you expect to generate from the plan (if any)
The above plan is a loose outline of what you should include in your marketing strategy. You’ll need to distill it into something more concrete and easy to follow, but this plan will give you a good place to start.
Test Different Forms Of Marketing
Once you have a plan in place and a budget set, it’s time to test different forms of marketing and see what works best for you.
At this point, you have two options: you can either run a full-blown marketing campaign and measure the results or you can utilize various strategies and tactics to see what works best for you.
If you are just getting started, it’s best to take the second route – experimenting. You don’t need to run a massive campaign to make your mark on the World Wide Web. In fact, you can use various tactics, including:
- Guest blogging
- Showcasing your work in progress on your website
- Increasing your social media presence
- Running a competition
- Reranking websites in your niche for organic traffic
- Creating and distributing flyers on campus
- Getting involved in online forums
- Getting your name out there via endorsements
As you can see, there are many ways to get online marketing exposure with little to no investment. But before you begin any of these tactics, it is essential that you understand how search engines work and what will make your content stand out above the rest. If you want to improve your odds of appearing on the first page of search results, you need to focus on optimizing your content – consistently and effectively.