A Road Map for Developing a Successful Online Marketing Strategy
Successful Online Marketing Takes Planning
Have you given any thought on how to market your business? If you are like many business owners, we know you have plenty of other things to do. Online marketing is usually not at the top of your list, is it? Many small business owners spend more time planning their annual vacation than their online marketing! And that is not a good thing. If you fail to plan a successful online marketing strategy, you are less likely to receive the full benefits you envision and require.
Granted, planning for your annual summer vacation is a lot more fun for most business owners than planning their online marketing strategy. Look at it this way; if you correctly plan your online marketing, you will have the time and money to expect a lot of fun vacations! To help get you started, we broke down the road trip to internet marketing success into several steps similar to planning your road trip.
Before We Get Started
For this post, we will assume that you have already picked the initial goal for your online marketing success, just like you would select a destination for your annual vacation before planning the details. And notice that we say “initial” goal. Your road trip to online marketing success is never really finished; you simply keep traveling and reaching new landmarks along the way. Once we have a destination, we can use the following road map to plan our trip. Let’s go!
A Road Trip to Online Marketing Success
Loading The Car
Before you start your road trip, you need to make sure that you have a suitable vehicle and all the gear you need to reach your destination. For a real road trip, you would take your car in for a tune-up and maybe new tires, fill the tank, pack your bags, and load the car. For a successful online marketing strategy, you will need to check on the following:
A domain is the actual website address your website will call home, your home page. And while there are many different options these days, we recommend that your domain is a dotcom, simple, short, and relates to your service or product! If you do not yet have a domain, we recommend purchasing one through a reputable domain registrar like GoDaddy.
Website hosting is where many of our clients get a bit confused. Think of it this way; you lease your domain like a car, but you still need a place to park it. Website hosting is the place on a server that stores your database, website content, scripts, and other components. There are different types of website hosting, depending on your specific needs.
Keep in mind that having a reliable host affects website performance, security, and page load speed. We recommend the services provided by WPEngine, BlueHost, Siteground, and InMotion for hands-free high-performance website hosting. You can also evaluate additional service providers on this comparison of hosting service providers.
What can we say! As mobile-first web designers, we know how important first impressions can be. We know that you need an exceptional design to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Your website is your digital storefront, so don’t skimp on this part. You will need a visually pleasing, user-friendly mobile-first website that is simple and easy to use. Be sure your site meets the expectations of mobile consumers and includes all the elements you require to market your business.
Social Media Profiles
No, you do not have to be on every social media network there is. You wouldn’t have time to run your business anymore if you were! But you should determine which social profiles are popular with your clients and prospective customers, and then stake your claim to those. For now, you can simply focus on setting up your profile. Be sure to fill out all the info, upload appropriately sized and formatted header, banner, and profile images to match your brand, and include your contact info!
Hitting The Road
Once you have finished everything in step one, you can hit the road! But before you do, you will want to plan your timing and hit the freeway at the optimum time. For a real road trip, you would want to avoid rush hour, take a different freeway entrance, and have a navigator ready to help. In the digital world, you will want to focus on these equivalents:
Yes, we have said this before. Content is king and the single most essential part of your internet marketing success. To effectively market your brand, you need to develop rich, engaging content on an ongoing basis. Content creation is one of the more challenging aspects of developing a successful online marketing strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) works hand in hand with your content strategy. By including organic keywords and phrases in your website content, you make it easier for searching engines to find and rank your site. These essential SEO tips will explain what you can do to enhance your SEO. If you are unsure which SEO strategies and practices will work best for your site or e-commerce store here is a comprehensive SEO testing guide.
Remember the social media profiles you created in the first step? Now you will use them to distribute targeted content to your audience and interact with your consumer. Be sure to post regular updates across all your social profiles. Social media updates will keep your brand in front of your target consumers and remind them of your product or service benefits.
One of our favorite online marketing tools is blogging. By creating a blog and regularly publishing, you can tie all of the above together in a neat package. A blog is ideal for the creation of rich content optimized for your intended target audience. Here are a few tips for creating a compelling blog post that gets shared.
If this were a real road trip, you would be cruising right along by now. You are on the freeway, the big city is behind you, and traffic is thinning. While you are certainly nowhere near the end of your trip, you are well along the way toward that final destination of online marketing success. Now it’s time to roll down the window, smell the fresh air, and take in the scenery. Here are some things you can consider adding to your digital marketing strategy:
Search Engine Marketing
Not to be confused with SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) refers to any paid effort to promote a brand or business online through increased visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
PPC / AdWords Campaigns
Pay-per-Click (PPC) and AdWords campaigns are the two most common. We like to refer to PPC advertising as “turning a fire-hose on your business,” and it is a great way to increase website traffic quickly. As with any internet marketing strategy, you will need to develop a plan for a PPC campaign to be effective. Set a realistic budget, create a list of target keywords, and build quality content.
To be honest, we have mixed feelings about banner ads. While they can help drive targeted traffic to your site, they can also add to the visual clutter and noise on a website. We recommend erring on the safe side by only targeting sites your customers frequent. Develop clean and compelling ads, and, most importantly, keep it short and sweet!
In 2020 video marketing is becoming essential. Video is the future of online advertising and content marketing. Why not establish yourself as an industry leader by adapting to the new standard right now? Here is a little actionable tip for you: Have your happy customers tell their story on video!
Rest and Check-Up
By now, you have been on the road for a while. It is time for a rest stop and check-up. On a real road trip, you would find a suitable rest area and pull off the freeway for a bit. Stretch your legs, hit the bathroom, maybe grab a coffee and a quick snack to prepare you for the next stage of your road trip. On your road trip to internet marketing success, you need to check your website analytics and see if you are still on track:
Google Analytics is one of our favorites, and it is FREE! It is easy to install and use. Once you do, it provides you with detailed information regarding your website traffic, where it is coming from, how long visitors stay on your site, and a lot more. If you have not yet installed Google Analytics, you should do so right away.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools work along with Google Analytics to help you understand how your site looks to search engines like Google and how to improve your website in Google Search.
Google PageSpeed Tools
Page speed is an important ranking factor for search engines. Google PageSpeed Tools evaluates the performance of web pages and provides suggestions on how you can improve them.
Other Site Reviewing Tools
Other free and paid website analytics tools will crawl and analyze your website to reveal performance and functionality errors. Among our favorites are the Pingdom Website Speed Test, Heatmaps and Visitor Recordings by Hotjar, and SEO Site Check-up to discover any shortcomings in your SEO. You may also find this guide to SEO testing helpful.
After your break, you feel refreshed and raring to continue on your road trip. By now you will have seen and done a lot, so why not rub it in and make sure your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the friendly folks at the PTA all know precisely how much fun you are having on your trip. You know, something along the lines of “The weather is here. We wish you were beautiful!” On your journey to develop a successful online marketing strategy, the time has come to directly target and engage your consumers through email marketing and opt-in campaigns.
Don’t underestimate the power of an effective email marketing campaign! Remember, not every one of your customers will be on social media, and not all of them will initially find your website. Here is where an effective email marketing strategy can boost your internet marketing success.
Choose one or two email marketing strategies and stick with them. Carefully target and maintain your lists. And be sure to use a professional email marketing service provider like MailChimp or ConstantContact. Not only will that guarantee that you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. These services also provide you with list management and analytics tools to measure who is opening and reading your mail.
One way to build contact lists is to have a targeted landing page or opt-in campaign. Give your potential customers an incentive to provide you with their contact info, such as a free white paper download or other free resources. Here are a few landing page optimization tips to help you improve your conversions. Remember, keeping it sweet and simple is the fastest way to developing a successful online marketing strategy!
Remember what we said at the very beginning of this post? The road trip to online marketing success is never over; you just continue on the next leg of your journey. There is no final destination in internet marketing unless you decide to close your business, of course! You simply continue on your road trip, finding new roads to travel, gaining new insights, and sharing the information with people you meet along the way. And there is no “best way” to develop a successful online marketing strategy.
On your road trip, feel free to explore highways and byways at your leisure. Remember, there is no wrong way to reach your destination. So go ahead and venture off the beaten path; you never know what you will discover. Online marketing success is waiting for you. Why not pick up the map and hit the road yourself?
Developing Your Own Successful Online Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand the milestones on the journey to internet marketing success, you can take the next steps. If you already have a successful online marketing strategy, you may need to make a few minor adjustments. Perhaps you need to send out a regular newsletter or simply blog more often.
If you are new to internet marketing, or your current online marketing strategy is not providing results, you may need to start fresh. Take our road map to develop a successful online marketing strategy and start at the beginning. If you identify a step you missed, you need to start there.
Depending on the online marketing success you want and need to achieve, you may need to bring in some additional resources to help you complete the journey. The specific help you may require depends mainly on your interests and capabilities and your particular industry, service, or product. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a successful online marketing strategy.
Successful Online Marketing Requires an Effective Online Presence
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand design, and WordPress optimization.
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about our mobile-first business website and e-commerce design services. Our team will listen to your concerns, evaluate your needs, and come up with a list of things you need to develop a successful online marketing strategy.
How Is Online Marketing Working for You?
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