5 Strategies to Dominate Online Marketing
I’ve been working on building my business for the past number of years, and like many of you, most of my business has come by word of mouth. In the last number of months, I decided to work on taking things to another level by putting some real work on marketing online. As I began to layout my plans I suddenly stopped and said, “Hold It!!” For those that know me know that I like everything nice and organized. I love systems and processes and for all the posts and videos online I’ve come across, I began to see a very systematized process for dominating online, and I’m about to share it with you.
Developing a Website Strategy
The first step to dominating online marketing is to create a great website. Your website is the core of all your marketing efforts. Regardless of the path of your online marketing efforts, it’s virtually guaranteed that a perspective customer will visit your website. The appearance and functionality of your website is the primary basis of your credibility as a business. Your website doesn’t have to be fancy by the way, but it needs to be clean, easy to read and easy to navigate.
The Home Page
Many people view the home page as an index of the rest of the site. Well in part that’s true, but the home page holds arguably the greatest weight of your entire website because it’s where the majority of your website traffic enters your website.
In addition to your heading that includes your logo, navigation etc. your home page should include a captivating background image under the header that includes a headline, a short paragraph and a button (a.k.a. Call to Action)
Within 2 seconds of landing on your website, the visitor should know exactly what you do. Listing your products or services on the home page is then of course an important inclusion.
The most important ingredient of your home page is credibility. In addition to stating, “I know what I’m doing” it also gives your company a more personal feel and demonstrates you as a “real” company by showing you have built to whatever degree, a community of people around you.
The home page is a landing page of a special kind because while it’s not focused towards on specific product or service, it’s focused around attracting visitors to want to learn more about the products and services you offer.
The About Page
The majority of About pages that I visit read like a press release with a long spew of linear text. No wonder people don’t bother spending anytime on this page – Their attention is lost after the first paragraph.
Break the about page into sections and include some other interesting content such as your companies purpose and core values. Do you work with a team, other partners? add their photo there as a “Our Team” section.
Keep the bio portion shorter to a 150 – 200 words which can include accomplishments and awards. This in addition to actually writing “About” your company.
You can also use your about page as a kind of sales page. There’s no reason why you can’t add a call to action button on this page as well. The call to action text could be something such as “Work with Us” or “View Products/Services”. This could be part of section that talks about the products and services you offer.
Product / Service Pages
These pages are specific to a single product or service you offer. They are referred to as Landing Pages. A landing page removes distraction from any other buttons or content that relates to any other part of the site.
The elements of a landing page should include a large featured image (similar to the home page), a headline with a short paragraph underneath. In this particular case, the button under the short paragraph should move a visitor directly to a purchase such as “Buy Now” or “Sign Up”.
The next section should include benefits and features of your product or service. The visitor needs to be made aware of the value you provide to them while giving them a reason to purchase.
Testimonials is another important aspect. As mentioned above, it provides credibility and social proof.
Creating a Content Strategy
In short, a content strategy is all about the blog. Creating and sharing quality content in order to attract people back to your website.
A content strategy is the second step to dominating online marketing. With your website in place including it’s designated landing pages, you can drive people to those landing pages from your content by linking keywords and phrases in your blog posts.
Quality content is so much more than coming up with a random list of topics to write about. It’s about gaining an understanding of what your target audiences specific problems are and then focusing an article around a solution to that problem.
One of the other benefits of creating a good content strategy is that it gives credibility in a huge way. A visitor may not read through your entire blog, but they will scan through your titles and excerpts. This gives a visitor a perception about you and your company.
There are some companies that blog on a daily basis which is great for content marketing. However, keep in mind that it’s better to post an article once a week then to create something on an almost daily basis. We are all busy people with so much on our plate, so I wrote an article on how to create quality content for busy people.
Building an Email Marketing Strategy
So far the first two steps have been about creating and developing content and a framework for that content. With email marketing strategy, we begin the distribution of that content as well as other custom content created.
Create a Lead Magnet
The first step is to create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something that you give away in exchange for a visitors name and email address. I’m sure you’ve signed up for lots of them as have I. However, there are lots of bad one’s out there.
It’s good to take time to really consider what will be included in your lead magnet and tailor it towards your idea client. It should provide some quality information or resources that help to solve a problem for your visitor. The better you build it, the more you’ll be able to attract the right audience and generate quality leads through your email list.
I highly recommend having it professionally designed. After writing the content in something like MS Word, hand it over to a graphic designer to add the visuals and formatting. Again, this points to perception and credibility of your company. Remember that branding is about the whole enchilada, not just a logo design or services provided.
Build Required Pages
Now that you have your lead magnet in place, you can build your opt-in page – A landing page dedicated to getting people to enter their name and email address. In addition to your optin page, you’ll also need a thank-you page, and possibly a separate download page. You need to get people to double optin to your list according to SPAM legislation so a thank-you page should inform them to check their email where they provide a link to download what you’re giving away. The download page of course doubles as the confirmation page.
Build Your Marketing Funnel
Now that you have your optin process worked out, you can begin building your email marketing funnel. The primary funnel is comprised of 3 – 5 emails sent within a few days to a week apart. This is whee you can begin to send them special offers. It’s important to keep in mind here that you don’t want to just start spamming them right away with “buy my stuff’ type of emails. Continually demonstrate yourself as a resource.
This step comes back to your content marketing strategy. Your email marketing strategy becomes a distribution channel for your content. If you’re creating quality content that solves peoples problems, then they will continue to read your emails and be more interested in the offers you send them.
I once came across a great blog and signed up to his list. I received a few great emails to begin with, then all I got from him after that was emails trying to sell me something. I still get his emails as I seem to be in an endless loop and consequently ignore them. There may be some good stuff in there, but I just mark it as spam because he burned his bridges with me.
As a consumer being hit with so much marketing, we want to a) understand the needs we have and b) Discover for ourselves the solution to the problem. It’s often referred to as “Pull Marketing”. Sending relentless offers without any other value hoping someone will click on the link is referred to as “Push Marketing” and the conversion statistics are getting lower by the day.
What’s Your Social Media Strategy?
Social Media is where we can open up the top of our sales funnel wider to create more awareness for our brand while driving visits back to our landing pages including our optin page.
By sharing other peoples articles and posts related to our brand we can attract people to follow us because their interested in what we’re sharing. One in about every five posts, we slip in an article of our own, or an offer of some sort. As our friends and followers click through the beauty of content we share, they’ll invariably click on your articles too.
Of course this all depends on reach, how many followers you have etc. When you don’t have much reach or restricted by a platforms algorithm (*cough* Facebook), this is when you begin to leverage Boosted Posts or Facebook Ads. These options allow you to more clearly target your audience and drive quality traffic to your website.
Harness Your SEO Strategy
The final phase of dominating online is to create your SEO Strategy. It’s at the top of the funnel because as you are probably already aware, social media seems to be dominating the marketing landscape. However, Search Engine Optimization should not be ignored. While it may not be the easiest to get on the front page of Google, people like myself use it everyday – otherwise Google would be dead.
At this stage you can go back to your website and refine your keywords for your blog posts, pages and images. The goal here isn’t to always be on the front page of Google for everything, but to at least rank in Google so that when someone searches for a given phrase a page or post on your website will show up somewhere in the Google search results. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to help find those all important terms people are using to find stuff.
Of course, you can also use Google Adwords to promote your website or a page within. The landing pages that were created on your website in the first stage can be used for Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, or other paid advertising.
Leveraging SEO really depends on your business type and model. Facebook Ads are pretty universal, where in my opinion, Google Adwords is better suited towards local or geocentric businesses.
If you really want to dominate online marketing, you’ll need to become fluent in the five above stages. I realize that it all seems like a lot of work – Especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur. Do not fear. It’s works best when you take it one step at a time by setting your focus on one stage then move to the next until your foundations are built.
You should be able to see now how the entire online marketing funnel works and fits together. While there is a growing number of online services out there that focus on one or two stages such as landing pages, they simply cannot compensate for the other stages in the overall marketing strategy. For example, you may sign-up to a service that lets you easily build your landing pages and integrate them with your favorite email marketing provider, but leaves you lacking on the foundations of a great website and social media strategy etc.
If you would like to discuss how you can build a solid website strategy, click here to contact us. We love talking about website strategies.
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Randy Dueck | Founder Street Smart Creative