‘How do I manage my online marketing system?’ is a question constantly asked by businesses. The internet has been an increasingly popular way to market to existing and potential customers for over a decade now. However, many still find online marketing ineffective because they don’t know how to integrate the different activities.
Online marketing is an umbrella term that incorporates your business’ website, social media presence, visibility in search engine results, directory listings and more. The internet offers a huge range of potential marketing activities, with new sites emerging constantly.
When it comes to the ever changing world of online marketing, it pays to have an organised strategy. Online marketing can be time-consuming and ineffective, or efficient and engaging – it all depends on your approach.
The best way to market your business online is to have a clear idea of what you need to do, and when and how you will do them. Focus on an end goal – usually, this is to drive people to your website. Many online activities are interconnected and when you know how to integrate them, you will save time and see results.
Research the different types of social media including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn and decide which ones would be most relevant to your target audience. For example, LinkedIn is a waste of time for you if your product or service is aimed at teenagers, because LinkedIn is a network for professionals. But Facebook is perfect for a teenage audience.
Blogging is one of the best ways to keep your website fresh and improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and engage customers by telling them about new products, services, staff or events.
Blogging doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Create a strategy of how often you will blog (1-2 times per week is optimal), what you will write about and when you will write it. You can save time by writing the blog in a Word document ready to be published at a later date.
Online directories are the same concept as a Yellow Pages directory. They provide a list of businesses sorted by business type, with contact details including phone number, email and physical addresses and a link to your website.
The main difference between print and online directories is that most online directories are targeted to specific industries. For example, FatCow.com.au is targeted at Australian farming, agricultural and horticultural industries. This means that they are most useful to potential customers who are looking for a product or service, and more effective in lead generation for your business than being listed in a generic directory.
Integrate your online marketing activities by ensuring that you link your listing to your website, and posting press releases on FatCow.com.au to generate more sales leads and improve your SEO.
There are two ways to use press releases. If you have something newsworthy to say, you can release it to journalists in the hope of being published in the news. If you have news about your business that is not relevant to the wider community, you can release your news online.
Press releases keep you top of customers’ minds and are great for improving your search engine ranking. You could post the press release on your blog, include it in your e-newsletter or, if you are listed on an online business directory like FatCow.com.au, use their free press release distribution service.
Integrate your activities by uploading press releases to your blog and online directory listing, and posting your news on Twitter and Facebook.
Who’s in charge?
Your business’ online marketing system will perform at its best if you delegate one person or team to be in charge of organising and running it. If your business is small and you don’t have a lot of time and money for online marketing, you should still do what you can, whether it means concentrating on one social media site, or getting listed in a directory like FatCow.com.au.
Monitor your efforts
The effectiveness of online marketing can be difficult to measure. The best indicators are an increase in sales leads through enquiries to your website, engagement and positive sentiment on social media, and website ranking in search engines when you type in your business name or product/service.
Online marketing is generally cheaper and more targeted than print marketing, and once you have a strategic, integrated approach that takes into account a timeline, your actions and who will be doing them, you will find that your efforts will start to pay off.
Saturday, 17 September 2011 17:17
Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 11:11