Marketing online has many advantages for businesses, including the ability to formulate targeted campaigns, track returns and lead consumers directly from advertising to purchase.
Businesses and organisations are channelling more and more of their marketing budget over to online campaigns in a variety of formats and those who get it right are seeing good results. To create a successfully online marketing campaign there are many interplaying factors at work, some to do with the technical aspect, some to do with accurate data collection and analysis and some simply to do with mind-set. These ten top tips have been put together to help guide you in the right direction for your next online marketing campaign and see the results you want.
Visibility is a key factor in online business success, hence the growth of the SEO (search engine optimisation) industry. While it may take time and effort to get towards the top of a search page you can help push things forward by ensuring that you have listings in all the most common and relevant website directories such as Google and DMOZ. Include local directories where applicable and ensure all details are maintained and kept up to date. This means that customers will be able to find you again even once your current campaign has finished.
Internet users are notoriously fickle and like to be able to see what they want within a matter of seconds. When running any sort of online campaign or promotion, set up a specific landing page within the business website for that particular offer so customers who click through can immediately find the information they are looking for and where relevant make their purchase or take advantage of their special offer without having to navigate through a series of other, less relevant pages.
When shopping online customers are naturally more wary and there are two main reasons for this. Products cannot be tried or tested before purchase and many internet shoppers are worried about the security when giving credit or debit card numbers and other persona details online. To help build trust and reassure customers about the safety of their personal information, purchase and display icons denoting safety and reliability such as VeriSign or Secure Socket Layers (SSLs). To help customers decide if the product they wish to purchase meets the standards they require, display customer testimonials or reviews within the product pages. These can be solicited after each purchase to help future prospective buyers see what they are getting before they buy.
Guarantees are another part of trust building that help to make customers feel secure in their purchases. Money back or 100% satisfaction guarantees help to ease the risk of purchasing online. Check out what guarantees competitors are offering and create one that is equal or better. The extra sales this can help generate off-set the potential one or two customers who may for one reason or another actually take advantage of the guarantee to ask for a refund.
To attract new customers to your brand, product or service, create an offer that cannot be refused. Where something is being offered for free many customers will try it out – this could be a free trial, free sample or free gift with every purchase. Get creative and try something new and different to what competitors are offering.
A mistake many businesses make with online marketing is spreading themselves too thinly, creating numerous marketing strategies without actually mastering any of them. Analyse competitors to figure out which strategies are likely to work best for your particular product or service and focus on one campaign at a time, refining and honing until you make it work for you. This could be blogging, social media, email marketing or SEO – find what works and stick with it
Many novice online marketers focus exclusively on driving sales in the here and now. Successful entrepreneurs and businesses concentrate their energies on the long game, generating leads and building relationships that will continue to profit many years into the future. Offering consumers value rather than pushing sales cultivates long-lasting relationships that will drive your business into the future.
Successful online marketers will constantly track the results of each new idea or campaign and use the data to determine what works and what doesn’t in order to focus cash flow in the areas where it has the greatest multiplier effect. They will also test new ideas all the time, tweaking areas such as website layout, prices and special offers to discover what works. By tracking and testing continually, businesses can ensure that cash flow is properly monitored and the money goes where it has the most future benefit.
Driving traffic to your website is essential – if people never see the site they will never be impressed by it no matter how impressive it might be. Use tools such as Google AdSense to help drive traffic to your site and therefore increase your return on investment.
The fact is that no matter how carefully an online marketing campaign is thought out, not all of them will achieve the desired results. Having the mind-set of ‘failure is data’ can help you avoid becoming disheartened. When an idea fails, try to see it as an opportunity to gather important data, find out where mistakes were made and where things can be improved next time. If something doesn’t work, pick yourself up and move on to the next idea safe in the knowledge that you now know more than you did last time.
Online marketing can be a powerful medium when properly used, especially for targeted marketing. Refine your campaigns over time, don’t lose heart if something doesn’t achieve the desired results and don’t be afraid to try new things. One of the main benefits of marketing online is that you can quickly and easily see the return on your investment and discover what works well and what might be worth forgetting about.