Online Marketing 101: The Basics For Your Business

Advertising your business used to mean printing flyers or running an ad in the local newspaper. But then the internet happened! Suddenly, the potential for getting your business in front of more people grew hugely. Online marketing levels the playing field allowing all businesses to compete in the same arena, regardless of size.

But, there are a few rules to play by if you want to make the most of this opportunity. Here are a few of the basics for online marketing.

Step One: Know Your Market

Without your customers, your business would not exist. So, they need to be at the front of your mind when you are assembling your marketing plan. There is no point in marketing your business if you are not going to reach the right people. Those are the people that need your products or services, and the people that have the means to pay for them.

You need to be really clear on who your ideal customer is. To find that out, you can ask yourself these questions…

  • Who is currently using my products or services?
  • Who can my products or services help the most?
  • What kind of people do I want to work with?
  • Who is able to afford my rates and is willing to pay for my products or services?

Now that you know who your ideal customers are, it is time to tune your marketing messaging just for them and to get it visible in the places where they are hanging out.

Here is what you need to establish:

  • Where are your existing clients finding you, this is where you need to advertise
  • What are the biggest benefits of your service? What problem do you solve? Talk about these things in your messaging
  • Which of your products or services are the most popular? This will help you refine your offerings

The most important thing to remember is that marketing is about building a human to human connection between your business and your customers. There are probably many businesses out there with the same offering as yours. But your customers will be drawn to your business because of your point of difference - your personality.

Step Two: Have An Online Marketing Plan

Your online marketing should have a cohesive approach and work towards certain goals or targets. There is no point, boosting a Facebook post, running a product giveaway, sending a newsletter, or creating paid advertising if you don’t have a marketing plan in place.

In order to get that plan together, you need to set some goals for what you are wanting to achieve with your marketing.

  • Do you have a new product or service to launch?
  • Are you wanting to reach certain income goals?
  • Do you want to raise awareness of your brand?
  • Are you trying to build your email list?

Once you have your goals, then you can make a plan for how to achieve them. The goals you set should be SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based Goals. That means that the goals you set should be specific, you should be able to measure your progress, they are realistic to achieve, are relevant to your business, and should be completed within a certain timeframe.

Step Three: Fitting The Puzzle Together

Once you have your goals and the areas of your marketing that you are going to focus on, you need to bring all the puzzle pieces together into a cohesive plan. There are a huge number of options available for online marketing, so you want to make sure you choose the method that is going to work for your business.

Your Website

At the centre of the puzzle is your website. It is your own little piece of internet real estate and your central hub. Ideally you want to use your marketing efforts to direct traffic back to your website as that is where the magic happens. That is where people can learn about your business, purchase your products or services, and also where you can learn about them through Analytics [link the reporting blog].

Ways To Drive Traffic

SEO - This is one of your most important strategies as it can help get free traffic to your site. But it is a strategy that takes time to build, so you are unlikely to see instant results. Basically what you are trying to achieve is getting your website to appear on page one of the search results when someone types a relevant term into a search engine. You can do this by optimising each of your web pages for SEO. Read more about how to do that here [link SEO blog].

Blogging - Encourage trust in your readers by blogging about topics relevant to your industry. Prove that you are an expert in your field by being generous with your knowledge. Blogging also helps your SEO as every post is another chance for your website to be found by potential customers. It also gives you great content to share in your email marketing and on your social media pages.

Email Marketing - This is the number one way to get in touch with past, current and potential clients. Your message is guaranteed to hit their inbox. Regular email communication (like a newsletter) helps to build a know, like, trust factor with your subscribers, making it more likely that they will buy from you.

Social Media - Is a great way to get your business in front of a lot of people. But you should not rely solely on social media as the sole method for keeping in touch with your clients. The parameters are always changing with social media and the powers that be choose how many of your followers get to see your material. Always use social media to encourage newsletter sign ups and to drive traffic to your website.

Paid Advertising - If you are savvy and have installed Google Analytics and the Facebook Pixel to your website, then you can use this information for targeted advertising campaigns. You can remarket to those that have visited your website or engaged with your social media, or those who belong to a certain demographic. This allows you to get your business in front of the people who are interested in what you have to sell.

Complementary Businesses - This is a strategy that can be beneficial for your business, but also for businesses that are complementary to yours. Try writing a guest post for their site, or having them share your content in exchange for sharing theirs. Your business is then exposed to their audience and you might reach a whole new group of potential clients.

With this list you have a lot of options to choose from, and it is not even an exhaustive list of what is available in the online world. Be selective and pick a few methods to start with. It is better to do one or two really well rather than trying to do them all and miss the mark with everything.

Step 4: Tweak Your Strategy

Getting your Online Marketing humming takes a bit of trial and error. You need to work out which mediums will attract your ideal client and then how to maximise that opportunity. You will need to play around with images, wording, and even your offerings until you get the response you desire.

Also remember that there will always be changes and evolution in your industry. Make sure that you keep up by tweaking your strategy as you go.

If the world of online marketing is baffling you a little bit, then feel free to get in touch with us here at Creative Web Design. Not only do we create amazing websites, but we also offer content marketing packages that will have you marketing your business to the online world in no time!