The world wide web is a crazy, confusing place, but stay calm. There are some easy and cost-effective ways to stay ahead of the competition and receive return on your investment. New companies are popping up everyday, and the first thing they do is try to get online. Of course you should always try to stay ahead of the rest of them, so here are some tips about how to market online.
1.) Make yourself your own client - If you don't make your online marketing strategy a priority, then you will not have a good return on investment. We see it all too often. An organization will be fired up about there marketing plan, and then they do nothing after a few months. To remedy this, stay on top of it and make it a part of your day in-and-out routine.
2.) Set Goals and revise them often - If you start by setting goals, then, all-in-all, your marketing plan will be better. Once you have your goals decided upon, print them out and keep them near. If you're not reaching your goals, then revise them. Sometimes you may set goals that seem achievable, but the world wide web is a big place (and you're probably not the only one doing what you're doing). This is when you adjust goals and revise your process. An online marketing plan is something that should never be finished.
3.) Focus on content - It's no secret, most of the search engines out there base their results on the content that you will try to drive traffic to. Take time when you develop the verbiage for your site or otherwise, and research your field. You may think you know your industry really well, but when was the last time you really dug deep to look at what others are doing in your field?
4.) Develop a unique selling position - This kind of goes along with content, but you will need to develop an idea. This idea should be reflected in all of your design elements, as well as your content. The idea should be why you do what you do, and why you do it better than others. If you can portray this in your content, then your content will be a cut above the rest.
5.) Be social - Social media is an interesting and powerful animal. If you're not doing it now, you have to start. Everyone is using it, which means your prospects and clients is using it. For this reason, you must get on social media. Different kinds of social media work better for different kinds of companies. For instance, Facebook is a great place for BtoC companies to interact with their users because of its basic nature, but it probably wouldn't be the best place for an industrial manufacturer to try to draw up business. The best way to find out what suits your company best is to look at everyone of your competitors to see which platform they are using the most.
6.) Blogging - Blogging is possibly the best way to keep fresh content on your site, so if your have a blog on your site already start blogging, now! In order to blog successfully, remember to write content that your audience would want to read about. I know that sounds rudimentary, but I cannot tell you how often we see companies blogging about, what their prospects will think, useless information.
7.) Track your results - The only way to know your return on investment is to track your results. The best way to do this online is with analytics. There are plenty of analytics tools out there, and most of the tools are free. By using a tool like Google Analytics, you can track literally everything a user does on your site, and when you have that kind of knowledge you can make very educated changes to your plan.
8.) Know your audience - No one knows your organization like you do. You know who you normally sell to. You know who generally passes on your service/product. For this reason, cater to your constituents. Don't try to sell to "imaginary" companies or far-fetched markets without doing some serious preparation. Be comfortable when your are starting off with online marketing; then, once you have made it to your goals you may want to try broadening your scope.
9.) Have great design - 95% of a user's first reaction to a site is based on aesthetics. The general user is a finicky person. If a site looks good then it will keep the user on the site long enough to start reading content, but if your site looks like Windows 95, then users will bounce off your site at the drop of a hat (mostly in a matter of seconds).
10.) Go mobile - 16% of all current web traffic is on mobile devices. Thant number is only going to go up exponentially. What started off as a gimmick, is now a standard in web design and online marketing. Your site must be optimized for mobile devices. If you are considering redesigning or overhauling your website, be sure that you include this your new website. I know what your saying, "I don't want to redesign my entire site". There are ways to go mobile without redesigning your entire site. You can design an entirely separate site for mobile. However you would like to go about it, the time is now; go mobile sooner than later.