Today, it’s nearly impossible to run a successful business without using the internet to market your products or services. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to reach large numbers of customers, while search engines allow you to drive traffic to your website quickly and easily. However, if you use these tools incorrectly, you could hurt your business rather than help it grow.
Many people think that online marketing and advertising are synonymous. Although both deal with digital information, online marketing is a larger umbrella term that encompasses many forms of online advertising, social media usage, and optimization.
What are the best ways to market your business online? You have to consider several factors, including your target audience, budget, and what you hope to achieve with your marketing campaign. Use the following eight tips to get started on the right foot with internet marketing.
Create a Marketing Plan
Before you start any marketing campaign, be sure you’ve created a comprehensive plan for where your business is going and how you’re going to get there. It doesn’t have to be something you share with anyone; it can just be a tool for your reference as you begin your marketing efforts to expand your business. And, if nothing else, putting together a detailed plan will help ensure that you don’t spread yourself thin by taking on more than one campaign at once.
Franchising is one of many options entrepreneurs have to expand their business. Franchising is also easy to market online since there’s already trust established in your product or service, which would encourage expansion through word-of-mouth. In a franchise, you can capitalize on an existing brand name to set up shop quickly, in a way that doesn’t require as much initial funding as starting from scratch.
A notable one to have is a home-building business franchise. They help with getting land approved by city councils, building homes, and taking care of selling them while you oversee them directly. Another option is a local restaurant chain where they help coordinate store locations and oversee quality control by visiting each place periodically and then taking profits if successful, so there are minimal risks involved.
Know Your Audience
Before you can effectively market your business, you need to know who it is you’re trying to reach. To determine your audience, ask yourself questions about why people would be attracted to what you have to offer. Consider whom you know and where they live and work, their age group, income level, and educational background. Once you’ve identified your primary audience, write down their characteristics or demographics to better understand them.
Set Monthly Goals
Begin each month by setting three goals for your business. These are measurable objectives you hope to achieve in a month. At the end of each month, review these goals, and if you haven’t achieved them all, re-evaluate what happened and come up with ways to reach those goals next month. This monthly goal setting will help build accountability into your process, keep you focused on what needs to be done right now and allow you to take steps toward reaching your long-term objectives.
Google Analytics is a free, comprehensive tool that will provide insight into how your site performs. From there, it’s easy to set up goals and track conversions from your site as well as social media channels. By seeing how much traffic you get from different sources, you can determine what marketing efforts are most effective for your business —and in turn, use those strategies on other sites and platforms.
Be Consistent With Posting
Posting consistently on your website is important for two reasons: it keeps people coming back for more and establishes you as an authority. Visitors to your site want to know that they will get regular content from you, so set a schedule and stick with it. Ensure that you promote your older posts every time you post new content to keep them fresh in search engines.
Create Quality Visual Assets
Quality visuals are not just a nice-to-have — they are essential. First, they make your website or social media more engaging and trustworthy. Second, they help you stand out in search engine results. And third, they can drive traffic back to your site by creating content that others can freely share and link to. Make sure you have at least one good visual asset for every 500 words you publish online.
Use Social Media Platforms Wisely
Instead of trying every social media platform out there, choose a few that match your business and use them wisely. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider Facebook and Twitter. These platforms are easy to set up and are highly popular among users, which means it’s likely other businesses in your industry will be there as well—which can drive traffic back to your site.
Work With Influencers
If you want to promote your brand or a specific product on social media, reach out to influencers and see if they’ll share it with their audience. It’s an easy way to expose your company and its products or services directly to people already interested in what you have to offer. This kind of marketing strategy is also affordable compared to other types of advertising.
You’ll want to build a presence on multiple platforms and adjust your strategy based on which ones are most effective in your industry. If you can stay connected with potential customers and make it easy for them to find out more about you and your company, there’s no telling how far an online marketing strategy can take you.