You’ve probably heard of online marketing. Most likely you’ve engaged in online marketing at some point in your life. Perhaps you’ve even studied marketing or PR at university. You may have even worked for a marketing agency in a role that required you to conduct online marketing campaigns. But, have you ever given much thought to how you should be doing online marketing? What are the best practices and strategies to gain the most effective results from your online marketing activity?
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already very experienced in marketing, this article is for you. We’ll cover some essential tips on how to do online marketing right and increase your chances of success.
Set A Budget And Don’t Overspend
When you’re first starting out it’s tempting to go all-in on paid advertising. After all, what’s the point of having a website if you don’t have the money to pay for hosting and domain names? But, that’s all it is—advertising. When you invest in paid advertising you’re essentially throwing your money away and—more often than not—needing to adjust your budget several times before you start making a profit.
Paid advertising is a quick fix solution to generating traffic. While it can be effective in the short term, it’s certainly not the most sustainable option. The better option is to develop natural organic ways to draw in prospective customers. If you overspend on paid advertising you’re essentially throwing your money away and—more often than not—needing to adjust your budget several times before you start making a profit.
Developing A Marketing Plan
When you’re developing an organic marketing plan, you’ll soon enough realise that there’s no such thing as a ‘set it and forget it’ approach. You’ll need to put in the hours—and hours—to ensure that your strategies are delivering the results you want them to. That’s why it’s important to develop a plan and then evaluate it regularly to see if it’s still working and if you need to make any changes.
As a first step in developing your plan, you’ll need to set a benchmark and review how you’re performing against this benchmark. That benchmark could be anything from how many blog posts you’ve published or how many Facebook likes your page has. Whatever it is, you’ll need to evaluate how you’re doing against this benchmark to get a sense of how successful your strategy is.
From here, you can start to work on developing the different components of your plan. You’ll need to decide what’s important to you and your business. Perhaps you want to increase your social media presence? Maybe you’re looking for a new customer base? Or, do you want to focus on expanding your email list and nurturing these relationships? You’ll need to decide what’s important to you and your business. Once you’ve established this, you can—with a clear mind and focused energy—move forward and develop a plan to achieve these goals.
Choose A Niche
One of the first steps in the process of developing an organic marketing plan is to choose a niche. This is important because it provides you with a focused area of expertise. When developing your plan you want to ensure that you choose a niche that’s a) a problem that you’re uniquely equipped to solve and b) a niche that you’re passionate about. Your chosen niche will govern the type of content you create and distribute.
With a focused area of expertise comes the opportunity to create content that’s extremely valuable and, hopefully, profitable. When deciding on the niche that you’ll pursue, you need to think about what separates you from the rest of the pack. What makes you different?
Decide On The Measurements You’ll Use To Gauge Your Success
The best way to find out how successful your plan is, is by setting up measurements—which we’ll cover in depth in a moment—to track your progress. Decide on a set of measurements that you’ll use to track your progress and then determine how much you’ll need to adjust your strategy based on the results you get. Think of these measurements as an anchor—they can provide you with a benchmark to guide your efforts and let you know whether or not you’re heading in the right direction.
For example, if your chosen niche is online marketing and you track the number of blog posts you publish as a measurement of your success—and you decide to benchmark this number at 20 per month—you’ll know that you’ve hit upon a good strategy. You’ll then be able to adjust your tactics to kick-start your blog into a money-making machine. Similarly, if you track the number of leads you have generated through various sources (e.g. social media, content marketing, etc.) and decide that you want to benchmark this number at 10 leads per month, you’ll know that you’re on the right path. More so, you can then start to develop lead generation strategies such as inbound marketing to grow your business and effectively run your marketing operations.
The choice of measurements is incredibly important and, as a general rule, you want to focus on measurements that are relevant and timely. For example, if you track the amount of traffic to your website daily and decide that the best measurement for you is daily unique visitors, you’ll then be able to benchmark this number against other similarly-sized websites in your niche. Similarly, if you want to gauge your success with a particular social media channel, you’ll need to track how many of your followers engage with your content regularly—this is obviously a much more relevant measurement than simply the number of followers you have.
Create A Clear Communication Structure
An important aspect of an effective strategy is developing and adhering to a clear and concise communication structure. You’ll definitely want to have a team that’s committed to working together to achieve your goals. But, you don’t want to over-communicate either. You’ll want to find that sweet spot where you communicate effectively with your team but don’t overwhelm them with too much information. A clear communication structure will make everyone aware of what’s going on—both internally and externally—and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s easy for messages to get lost in translation if someone doesn’t speak the same language as everyone else. This can lead to the wrong information getting passed along or, worse, false information being spread. By establishing and adhering to a clear communication structure, you can ensure that your team knows what’s going on at all times and everyone is on the same page. This will make the entire process of executing your plan much easier.
Work On Fostering A Feeling Of Community
An interesting thing about running an online community is that it never really ends. Even when you think the conversation has taken a turn for the better and everyone is having fun and engaging with each other, in reality, the conversation continues. It is therefore, important to continue to monitor and moderate the conversation to ensure that quality conversations stay relevant and interesting. This is where working on fostering a feeling of community comes in. When you have an engaged and involved community, this will naturally translate to positive feedback and high engagement in the form of comments and shares on your social media channels. Naturally, this is extremely beneficial to your business and, as a result, your chosen niche.
Keeping up with all of this can certainly seem daunting. Hopefully, this post gave you some good ideas on how to begin your journey to do online marketing right. Remember to: