The three main methods of marketing your business online are through online searches i.e. search engines, social media connections and email marketing. Those are really the only channels that will either allow people to find you, or for you to connect with people or businesses if you have their contact details. Each one is different, but vitally important to you overall online marketing strategy. Let’s have at each one in a little more detail.
Social Media Marketing
People can only do business with people they first connect with and very often, only with people or companies they know and trust. Social media marketing is now the most effective way for you to connect with potential and existing customers and to maintain a relationship with them online. Why would you want to do this?
Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter simply offer you an extension to what you do already. That’s talk and share.
Talk about problems, ideas, solutions as well as general things such as what’s going on in your industry or in society at large. Share good news and bad news, experiences and even gossip.
Every business has its own context for communication and social media allows you to connect with hundreds or even thousands of potential or existing customers so that you’re always visible. When they have a need for your services and you’re there as a trustworthy supplier, it’s likely you will get the business and not a competitor who they’re not familiar with.
Search Engine Optimisation
When it comes to marketing, all businesses want to go from the hunter to the hunted. In other words, they want potential customers to come to them rather than having to make continuous outbound marketing efforts such as sales calls and appointments. Search engine optimisation (SEO) when done correctly, can make you the hunted.
Let’s say you offer commercial cleaning services in Bristol. If your website comes up high in the results of the first page of a search engine (e.g. Google) for ‘commercial cleaners bristol’ then there is a high likelihood that your website will receive a lot of visitor from people who are search for this, or a related search term. When they land on your website, they are looking for what you have to offer. If your website looks professional, has the right information and has a clear call to action then you should receive regular enquiries from people who are looking for that you offer.
That advantage of high search engine rankings for targeted keywords is that your business is attracting people who are looking for what you offer. You are the hunted. They are contacting you and they will be in most cases, very warm leads.
Your business should take search engine optimisation should be taken seriously because when done correctly, can be an excellent source of targeted online leads or sales.
N.B. Another part of search engine marketing is pay-per-click marketing which is quite different to search engine optimisation. This will be covered in a separate article but you can learn more about pay-per-click marketing here.
Even today when social media channels are all the buzz, email marketing when done correctly still works and one key advantage that other online channels don’t – the ability to communicate to someone direct.
Email is still seen as the most ‘businessy’ medium online and when compared to other forms of marketing such as social media marketing, messages get less attention as customers are often in a frivolous, non-business or transactional state of mind.
Some other advantages of email marketing are:
- Easy personalisation and segmentation of data
- Measurability – you can easily track delivery, open rates and click rates as well as bounce and forwarding statistics
- Automation – allow people to easily unsubscribe, change their details or add themselves to a different subscriber list
- Security – all data is held ‘in the cloud’ and can regularly be backed up
If you don’t already have a cohesive plan for the above three key areas of online marketing then you will be missing out on lots of potential business and that means it will be going to your competition.
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