By Mercy Meuni
A Definitive Guide To Online Marketing
The internet is absolutely the best tool you can use to market your business. As of July 2020, 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet, a figure representing 59 percent of the world population. With such numbers, cutting out internet marketing is not an option.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be smart about how you market your business online. In addition to promoting your products, you are making initial contact with clients, and first impressions are crucial.
There are various tools within internet marketing you can use to promote your business. The trick is to choose a couple of solid strategies, stick to them, and use them to the best of your ability.
Social Media Marketing
With 3.96 active social media users, social media is a powerful vehicle to drive up engagement, leads, and sales. Social media marketing has a lot of perks. It is cost-effective, reaches all ages and demographics, and encourages 2-way communication.
There are countless platforms online that you can use to market your business, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Social media marketing can be done through various techniques such as social selling, influencer marketing, and the use of paid ads.
(1) Social Selling
Social selling is the process of connecting with prospective clients and building relationships. You use social media to provide value to potential customers by sharing content that makes them laugh, teaches them something new, or inspires them. Social selling is an essential, often underestimated device, which can aid in converting followers to paying customers.
As an entrepreneur, you need to balance between brazenly promoting your products and engaging with clients. You can boost your social media engagement by; asking open-ended questions, formulating interesting polls, responding to questions and comments, breaking up content into paragraphs to facilitate easy reading, and sharing inspiring stories.
(2) Use of Paid Ads
Based on the type of business, you can choose to run ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Ads, and YouTube. Most of these platforms have a feature that allows you to select demographics enabling you to center your budget on people that are most probably interested in your product.
There are multiple types of ad formats within a platform, and you can select the most suitable for your business. Facebook, for instance, offers; video ads, photo ads, carousel ads, slideshow ads, collection ads, lead ads, dynamic product ads, Messenger ads, among others. You have plenty of options, and you can choose what will effectively communicate with potential clients.
Incorporating videos in your ads can make all the difference as they are proven to be more engaging and efficient. Videos allow you to express your passion and personality and are packed with more information without occupying too much space. A rookie mistake would be to use only static images.
(3) Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that is on the rise. It is a collaboration between brands and influencers who promote the brand’s products through endorsements and product placements.
Influencers are different from traditional celebrities. They have cultivated a dedicated, loyal following and are considered trustworthy by their audience. They may also be viewed as relatable by their audience.
Influencer marketing may benefit your business by increasing brand awareness and driving sales. Once an influencer recommends your product, their followers view this as a vote of confidence in your brand. Their opinions are valued and are capable of swaying the purchasing decisions of people in their circles.
When working with influencers, you must consider their engagement. Some influencers may have a large following but very poor engagement. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, may have a much smaller following but a good engagement. You need to look at the number of people who like and comment on their posts to avoid incurring losses.
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
To get started on influencer marketing, you first need to choose a platform. It would be beneficial for your brand to already have a presence on this platform. Each site has a set of influencers. Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok all have different influencers catering to different demographics.
The next step is to set your budget, which should be a fair compensation depending on an influencer’s engagement. Another beneficial action would be to determine your goals and craft a message to help you realize them. Upon arriving on a message, you can now choose some influencers and reach out to them so you can work together.
Your business website can make or break your business. It serves as a physical business for the 4.57 billion people who use the internet. Every marketing tool that you employ leads back to your website. A basic, functional website doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to invest time, effort, and a budget in creating a superior website. Here are some actionable tips you can take to create a flawlessly designed and intuitive website with great content.
- Your website must look professional. Your website will create the first impression of your business to potential clients. Ensure that the colors are neither too bright nor too dull. The colors should also contrast to facilitate reading.
- Ensure that the content on your website is well-written and edited. Errors will diminish your credibility.
- Your website should be easy to navigate to promote a good user experience. Social sharing buttons are essential to enable visitors to recommend content they liked or found useful to their friends and followers. The logo of your business also needs to be easily visible.
- Choose a good domain name. A few useful tips you should remember when choosing a domain name are to; use .com, consider short domain names, go for unique names without complicated spellings or pronunciations, and include keywords in your domain name.
- Ensure that your website is Search Engine Optimized through keywords to rank favorably on search engines. Carry out keyword research and craft an exceptional keyword list. This step is crucial and will determine your success in marketing your business. Optimize your website further by using images with your content.
- Advertise on other websites that are related to yours. This strategy has the advantage of driving targeted visitors to your website.
- You can increase the engagement on your website by having a blog where you consistently post useful and engaging content.
Example of what a good website can do for you
A company that has one of the best websites is the Swiss food and beverage company, Nestlé. This company has been the subject of widespread criticism over time, but it has been able to handle it well. One of its strong points is the “Ask Nestlé” page, where the company addresses questions on its brand, policies, and products. Rather than shy away or dance around issues, the company gives straightforward answers to questions on the “Ask Nestlé” page. Nestle is also continually improving this section.
Blogging is an excellent way for your business to maintain an online presence. Statistics show that companies that blog get 67% more leads than their counterparts. So, providing regular advice and helpful tips on your blog will increase the popularity of your web page. Invest your time and effort in ensuring that your blog looks fantastic and your content is top-notch.
Booming Businesses recommend that you post 3-4 times a week on your blog. Time to come up with creative and engaging blogs can be a restricting issue for many companies. A simple solution, however, would be to outsource credible writing services. One of the most significant upsides of blogging is that it is a free marketing tool. So, you can start a blog on WordPress or Blogger, which are some of the sites for free blogs.
The internet will always require a continuous flow of content in the form of videos, images, and text. The majority of this content is in text format making articles and blogs an invaluable device in marketing your business. SEO is always an important factor to consider when blogging. So you need to deliberately use keywords to ensure that your blog will rank highly and have better visibility.
Example of a Great Blog
Whole Story, a blog run the American multinational supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, is a perfect example of a well-run blog. Their blog focuses on the company’s image and targets potential clients who have an interest in living a healthy lifestyle and organic foods. Whole Story publishes blogs on healthy foods, meal ideas, and a variety of recipes. With such blogs, Whole Story can provide value to its customers and prospects, while also promoting a lifestyle and its products.
Any business that is not doing affiliate marketing is leaving a huge chunk of potential customers on the table. Affiliate marketing is a process where the affiliates recommend a product on their blog, website, or social media platform, and earn a small commission from each sale they make. Each affiliate acquires a unique referral link that they share with their audience.
The biggest perk of affiliate marketing is that it is performance-based. You only pay when people make a purchase. This system motivates the affiliates to market your product widely so they can earn a decent commission, and this will drive up your sales.
Another benefit of affiliate marketing is that it increases consumer confidence in your products. Consumers view endorsements from their favorite influencers, bloggers, and websites as trustworthy since they are a third party. A stamp of approval from affiliates will go a long way in enhancing your brand reputation.
How it works
Affiliate marketing also helps you tap into new markets and widen the reach of your marketing. Using various affiliates who have different audiences aids your business to acquire new customers in multiple markets you might have been unable to explore otherwise. Affiliate marketing is undeniably a low risk, cost-effective goldmine that will increase traffic to your website and your business sales.
An example of a company that has been able to leverage affiliate marketing is the online learning platform, Skillshare. The Skillshare affiliate program is currently very prevalent on YouTube. If you have watched popular YouTube creators or listened to an established podcast in the recent past, you have likely seen Skillshare sponsor content creators, who then share their affiliate link with their audience. Some of these creators have millions of subscribers, and by tapping into the different audiences, Skillshare can grow its reach exponentially. Skillshare offers thousands of online classes on a variety of subjects. And affiliates can therefore find and promote online courses that would be appealing to their audience.
Email marketing has been around for several decades but is still one of the most impactful messaging channels. It entails targeting established and potential customers using emails. In the age of social media and influencers, some marketers tend to question the value of email marketing to a business and may not fully embrace it. However, email marketing can be an invaluable tool for a business. Some of the perks associated with email marketing include;
- Emails have the potential to be highly personalized. Personalization can range from including a contact’s name in the email to crafting custom content for different customers.
- Email marketing can be instrumental in driving up sales. According to a report by Hubspot, 59% of respondents stated that marketing emails impacted their purchase decisions.
- It is cost-effective. When comparing to other marketing tools, email marketing is relatively inexpensive. The only requirements for a successful email campaign are a copywriter and a graphic designer.
- Emails allow you to inform your customers and prospects on sales, promotions, and updates promptly.
- It plays a significant role in building better relationships with customers. 80% of people in business believe that email marketing boosts customer retention.
The success of your email marketing campaign will depend on your approach. Your emails should not consist of only sales pitches. You should aim to deliver content that is informative and of value to your customers. Such content will encourage your subscribers to visit your website and view your products that could be useful to them. Also, you must ensure that you format your email messages in a way that makes them mobile-friendly. This step is essential because 46% of all emails are opened using mobile devices. Reports also indicate that 35% of business people used their mobile devices to view their emails.
You must obtain your mailing list ethically. You can build a list of authorized contacts by having a sign-up form for customers on your website. Or, you can also obtain emails when clients make purchases or orders. Additionally, encourage your social media followers to subscribe to your email list by offering exclusive incentives such as a how-to-guide, free delivery, vouchers, and discounts.
Stay on Course.
A smart entrepreneur will always take that extra step in marketing that sets their business apart. A sound online marketing plan will incorporate various digital marketing techniques to achieve business objectives. Whichever strategy you pick, you need to stick with it. Give it some time as results are not instantaneous.
How do you market your business online? Which marketing strategies have been the most effective for your business? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.