Whatever your business, whether you are an internet-only company or traditional brick-and-mortar, you need to have a strong online marketing plan if you want to have any hope of staying competitive. It may seem intimidating, but it’s essential.
The biggest mistake you can make is not having a plan – an actual written, detailed marketing plan. It should include the demographics of your target audience, where you intend to post links and ads, your proposed budget, and measurable goals. These goals will allow you to determine which of your marketing strategies are working and which aren’t, so you can make a change.
You should have clear, decisive branding. Branding makes you memorable and lends a professional quality to everything you do. It is also a representation of your mission and the overall “personality” of your company. Don’t neglect branding.
Much of online marketing is involved in spreading links across the internet, but don’t do so with reckless abandon. You can’t risk becoming associated with unsavory sites. Be sure that any third-party that you use is repeatable and ethical.
Even the best marketing will fall down if visitors find your site hard to use. Navigation should be obvious and smooth, and pages should load promptly. With mobile web used fast outpacing computer-based internet access, you should also be sure that your site is compatible. The best sites are simple, which isn’t to say plain. By all means, a strong, attractive design will add appeal. However, you should avoid flashy animations and other fancy techniques which don’t bring any added value. Make your visitors want to stay and browse around your site.
Once you get visitors to your site, prompt them to sign up for your email list or newsletter, or to download a free report, coupon, or other document. Don’t hard sell, but also don’t lose this opportunity to build a contact list. Keeping in touch with your current and potential customers with regular emails is highly recommended as a way to keep them from forgetting about you. As always, the information should be relevant, interesting, and of high quality. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; in fact, brief emails are best – a few lines describing an interesting tidbit of trivia or history, a timely sale or coupon, or an announcement of a new product, with a link to the relevant page of your site, is all that’s needed.
A newsletter format can be longer, with several articles. To save space in the email, include just the first paragraph with a link to view the full article online at your site. Be sure that first paragraph is a good hook, and you will be rewarded with valuable hits to your site.