There are many approaches as to how to market your business online. A lot depends on your strategy, budget and the other resources you may have access to.There is no such thing as free marketing, but you can do a good job of marketing your business with a low budget in affordable ways.
Now a complete approach cannot be covered in one article but the basics are:
- Develop A Strategy/Plan
- Create A Website
- Create Content
- Drive Traffic
- Design A Follow Up System
- Test & Optimize
Develop A Strategy/Plan
It all begins with a high-level strategy, which is then broken down into a marketing plan and its calendars or schedules for implementing each of the activities described in the plan.
Your high level strategy may be “Market my business on the Internet”. Strategies can be developed on one page – no need to over think these things! It will change over time so don’t carve it in stone. From the strategy you break down the channels or avenues you will use for your marketing.
Each channel will have a simple plan to execute, who will do the work and the time frames and resources required.
An individual channel may be say Social media, Pay Per Click or your website. So you would need a plan for how you are going to build and maintain your website along with the time frames, budget etc.
Create A Website
Define the objectives of your site before you design and build it. What is the purpose of the website? It may be:
- To build a list of potential customers
- As a sales mechanism
- To educate and inform visitors
- As an authority and brand building site
There is a subtle difference in how your site will look and feel based on your objectives.
Either way make sure the website is optimized for the search engines, easy to navigate, delivers good content and has a capture mechanism to build your list.
Either you or an outsourcer will need to create content in the form of:
- Audio files
This content is grist for the mill of any online marketing. Best to have a content marketing plan and a schedule of when and where you will post content whether your website or social media platforms. You must do this regularly or you will not see any return for time and money invested.
If you have a decent budget allocate this content creation and or posting activity to an employee or outsource it as this is time consuming work.
There is the “free” way to get traffic and visitors, which is via organic search engine optimization (SEO). Just be warned, there is no such thing as free – even organic SEO will cost in time or (if you outsource the work) money.
SEO takes time to bring results and 3-6 months to see your site move up in Google’s rankings is realistic. This will require consistent and thoughtful effort on a regular basis to achieve your organic rank on the first page.
If you have the budget for it, paid forms of promoting your business online are available.
Paid forms can be Facebook advertising, pay per click (PPC) advertising or Adwords, Banner advertising, solo ads, and many other forms of paid advertising. Like any form of effective marketing you should have a strategy, plan and budget whether it’s $50 or $50,000. This budget will be distributed over your channels of marketing.
The upside of paid traffic generation is, it is pretty much immediate. The caution I give here is that you must have a website or landing page that converts or your money will be wasted.
Design A Follow Up System
Most visitors to your website will read your content and leave never to return….unless you give them an incentive to stay with you. This comes in the form of a free offering that you know will appeal to your target visitor. In exchange they give you their email address and name. This data goes onto your auto-responder database for future follow up.
An auto-responder is an online platform or service that offers you a mechanism for capturing and communicating with your visitors via automatic email messages and occasional broadcasts. This allows you to stay in front of your list and build trust and credibility. Later you can make offers of your products/services.
Without this or a similar follow up system, you will lose 90% of your traffic and potential customers.
Test & Optimize
Ok, so you have everything in place and you are monitoring and measuring how many visors you get, what they are looking at (content) how long they stay on your website and how quickly they bounce. This is valuable data and allows you to adjust and improve your efforts over time.
You can use services such as Optimizely or Web optimizer to split test various landing page designs and offers – yes this costs as you will need to push traffic to your test pages – but you will learn exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Then it is a matter of scaling up your traffic and tweaking your conversions to build your business.