Building an online marketing strategy is no easy task. When it comes to SEO and increasing keyword rankings in Google, for example, many people imagine a whole team of skilled professionals laboring over complex math equations and statistics. The good news is that this generally isn’t what’s going on behind the scenes. Many small businesses are operating with much smaller staff than you probably realize, meaning that you too can take initiative and execute your own online marketing strategy.
We’re going to start with what Workflow Max calls the “6 Major Digital Marketing Channels” — though we’ll probably just refer to them as the essentials of online marketing strategy.
1) Search Engine Optimization
When somebody searches Google for a keyword like “cat beds,” how is it that the top cat bed seller is always ranked #1? This is what we call search engine optimization (SEO), and it’s all about leading people to your website organically. According to Shade Digital:
“Unlike an ad where you’ll get charged every time someone clicks on it, this will send free traffic to your website every single day. While it can be difficult to get into that position, it’s worth the effort. The long term ROI will be higher than any other channel.”
SEO is an extremely complex topic, but here are the basics:
- Optimize every page on your website, including copy, headings, and metadata
- Try to rank for long-tail keywords
- Always be producing fresh content
- Make sure you have fast load-times for both computers and mobile
- Garner links to your website
2) Pay Per Click (PPC)
Paid search or PPC advertising can usually be seen at the top of Google results pages, with a “sponsored result” tag. The reason that they are called pay-per-click ads is because you only pay for the advertisement’s placement when somebody clicks on the ad.
These PPC ads can be tailored to pop up for any specific search term, and they are highly customizable. Look into how competitive your terms are, and you’ll get a good idea of how pricey your industry is.
3) Display Advertising
Display advertising refers to banner ads and sidebar ads — super old school and, even with the rising popularity of programs like AdBlock, still super effective. Here are a couple tips for effective display ads:
- Don’t be intrusive. People hate auto-playing videos and full pop-up ads.
- Offer value. Even worse, people hate annoying ads that offer no value. Discount codes, on the other hand …
- Display content that’s relevant. Don’t advertise for gambling on your family website …
- Use placement exclusion filters. This is how you keep content relevant and appropriate.
4) Content Marketing
When you distribute well-researched, entertaining content across the web, you’re engaging in content marketing. This can lead to increased audience interest that leads them back to your website and can help you increase brand awareness.
Above all, you want to make sure you’re writing evergreen content, and writing it consistently. Brennen Bliss with PixelCutLabs offers these six tips for those looking to write evergreen content:
- Do your research. It’s easy to suss out weak, factually incorrect information. Build trust with your readers and do the legwork before you make any claims.
- Hire real writers. Would you hire a poor video editor to make a video for you? Why would you hire a poor writer?
- Think like a shopper. It’s important to get into the heads of those you are marketing to. This is your target audience. Figure out what they want and what they need, and appeal to that.
- Build brand loyalty. If your brand is in an industry that changes frequently, consider adding a blog to your site and updating it weekly with high-quality articles.
- Adjust your business model. You will know you are primed for success when you have something to sell that lends itself to consistent long-term promotion.
- Prepare for editing. Just because you write something one time doesn’t mean it won’t be in need of edits. Be prepared. Perfection takes time … and edits.
5) Email Marketing
You might not know it, but email marketing is still an extremely powerful and direct way to reach people with information. There are a lot of ways to do it right — and a lot of ways to do it wrong. Here are a couple of tips for email marketing correctly:
- Use templates that are mobile-responsive: The amount of people checking email from mobile devices is much higher than it used to be.
- Include clear Calls to Action (CTA) in your email and on your website: This is a legal requirement, and shirking this duty will lose you customers as well as time and money in lawsuits.
- Conduct A/B testing: Experiment with different subjects, email copy, headlines, etc., and pay attention to which elements do best to find your own winning combination.
6) Social Media
Last but not least, social media is one of the current most powerful marketing tools and helps to round out your omnichannel marketing. According to Workflow Max, “you can use social media at all stages of your marketing funnel — attracting new audiences, nurturing them to convert, and then helping clients to advocate on your behalf.”
Just make sure that you’re selecting the right platform for your industry, your target audience, and your community. Don’t waste time posting to Pinterest, for example, if you’re operating within the welding industry.
If you don’t have social media, this can adversely affect your SEO, your brand reputation, etc. Hire somebody competent with social media marketing (SMM) if you have to, but don’t skimp on social media, whatever you do.
If you focus on these six different channels, you’ll have a well-rounded online marketing strategy that’s potent enough to hang with the big boys. Don’t take shortcuts, and dive deep into the sections you don’t understand — online marketing is make or break, and it’s imperative that you do it right.