Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.
The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:
Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.
Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.
Onsite Blog + Blog Postings
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, how about taking the time to think about which aspects of your website and online marketing initiatives you are thankful for. From this list, you can determine what might be missing or lacking from your online efforts and expand and/or improve your efforts from there.
Be thankful if…
Your website is professional and polished looking and represents your company well.
Some components you should ensure are present on your website: Clear calls to action that are prominently displayed throughout the site; examples include but are not limited to: call us now, click here for more information, fill out this request form and download this whitepaper) easy and seamless navigation for both the search engines and the user and a Blog with new, up-to-date and relevant content.
Your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Efforts are producing qualified leads and/or sales.
This is imperative. Do not waste precious advertising dollars on an ineffective advertising campaign. You should be able to track and monitor campaign performance, which brings me to my next item….
You have implemented an Analytics Tool that is providing ample data with respect to your website traffic. This is a mission critical piece of the puzzle, especially if you are paying to drive visitors to your website. Which keywords/engines are driving the most revenue? Which have a high bounce rate and should be eliminated from your keyword menu?
You have an effective (effective being the key word here) Social Media Strategy in place.
Having a Facebook page is simply not enough. How are you going to leverage your page to reach prospective clients, shoppers, etc? What are you posting on your Twitter page that is of interest to your consumers and ultimately driving more visitors to your website?
I am hopeful that this exercise can shed some light on any components that might be missing from your overall marketing strategy. If any of the above is not a component you can be thankful for, you ought to get to work and make it happen!