Whatever service your business offers, it’s crucial to have an effective website and social media presence. Hone your digital skills with these top tips for online marketing The early stages of marketing your business can be a bit of a minefield. How can you promote yourself when at this stage there’s not much to promote? At the same time, how will there ever be anything to promote unless you generate a buzz?
1. Make your website known
Assuming you have a website up and running, make sure your URL is always visible everywhere. Put it on your letterheads, business cards, in email signatures. Go one step further and have it on any promotional items and transport. Anything that reminds people to visit your website on a daily basis.
2. Social comes first
Don’t engage with social media as an afterthought. Steven Mendel is CEO of Bought By Many, the company that helps people club together via social media to get a better insurance deal. He says it’s crucial to put social media at the heart of your business model from the start. “Use it to drive your business, find out what customers want and give them exactly what they want.”
3. Utilize Facebook
Use targeted advertising on Facebook to drive sales. “Facebook is the richest source of data about consumers in existence,” says Mendel, “and its tools for advertisers are getting better every day. Big companies still think social media is all about brand and do very little on Facebook other than dull corporate posts and mediocre competitions.” Capitalise on this.
4. Stay switched on
If you’re not going to work evenings and weekends, don’t bother. Your potential customers are liking and sharing and tweeting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If you start engaging with social media you need to stick with it. Don’t respond to customers after the weekend. Do it immediately.
5. Offer free content to other websites
Pitch yourself as someone who can write guest blog posts for similar, but not competitive, companies. Offer free how-to content from your website to other relevant sites. You get a link back to your site and the host site gets free content. Everyone’s happy.
6. Communication is key
If you have members registered on your site, make sure you communicate with them regularly. Send out a weekly newsletter offering them tips or industry news with links back to your site. Design the newsletter so the reader has to go back to the site to read more.
7.Locate your target audience
Be seen in the right places, says Tim Stone, VP of Marketing, EMEA, Polycom: “The key to digital marketing is making sure your company and its advocates are present where your prospects are looking. You need to be in their ‘watering holes’ by being part of their social communities, blogs and publications.”
8. Consider Pay Per Click ads
These are the sponsored ads which pop up when you perform an internet search. If someone clicks, you pay. If they don’t click, you don’t pay. The important thing is to make sure you send the clicker to the right place and give them something they want when they get there.
9. Hone your SEO
If you don’t want to go down the paid-for online advertising route make sure your site gets seen organically by using the right words and phrases. More importantly, make sure your content is fresh and dynamic. Remember that search engines are cleverer than they were and will sniff a trick a mile off.
10. Get a YouTube channel
It might not be an obvious thing to do but if your company offers a service then consider making and uploading how-to videos to attract new customers and build an online community of fans and potential clients.