Imagine if you could slip into a time machine and rewind to 2005. (#FunFact: This was the year YouTube was founded and cat lovers around the world rejoiced, Martha Stewart was released from her artfully decorated prison cell, and Gwen Stefani declared to the populace of Earth that she “ain’t no Hollaback Girl.”) 2005 isn’t too far into the past, relatively speaking – but take a look at what marketing methods were being used not that long ago. A conversation between two entrepreneurs in 2005 may have started off with the question, “So…do you have a website yet?” Oh how far we’ve come since then. Today, virtually every business, regardless of size or location, has a web presence. Nowadays, in order to compete, a business owner must be social media savvy, have lots of “virtual friends,” offer downloadable apps for its products and services, and be instantly available 24/7 to this modern population raised on a steady diet of “information-in-a-second” visceral input. When you think about how much technology and media has evolved and integrated itself into all aspects of our lives in such a short span of time, it’s a little bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Just Having a Website Isn’t Enough Anymore
Whether you’re an e-commerce company or a traditional brick-and-mortar business with an actual physical street address, if you want to maximize your success, you need to learn how to market your business online successfully. Websites just can’t be a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution anymore. Your website and online marketing efforts need to be ever-evolving, diverse, and highly active…which is exactly what your potential customers are. Allow us to introduce you to some great tips on how to market your business by improving your website’s visibility and exposure, generating more traffic and increasing sales.
1. Optimize Your Site’s Copy for Search Engines
We’re in the business of creating Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics for a multitude of clients, so we’re confident in telling you that SEO has become an industry unto itself over the past few years. The key is to have your website’s copy (words) written in such a way that your site will appear high on the results pages of the major search engines – like Google and Bing – when users perform specific keyword searches. In thinking about SEO yourself, consider two or three words and/or phrases customers might use when searching for businesses like yours.
2. Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising
While SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are often spoken of in the same breath by many entrepreneurs, they’re actually very different with regard to being website traffic-building tools. With PPC, you purchase specific keywords and keyword phrases from a search engine on, as you probably guessed it, a pay-per-click basis.
Here’s a simplified example: A business sells skis and snowboards in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and its owner purchased the keyword phrase “skis and snowboards Jackson Hole.” In this case, an ad for this business’ website would appear in the paid results section of any searches using this phrase; whenever someone clicks on the link in the ad, the business would pay a negotiated fee (known as the “cost-per-click” or CPC) to the search engine.
3. Publish an E-Newsletter
Electronic newsletters are becoming one of the best ways to drive qualified traffic to a website. When implemented correctly, they enable a business to reach customers and prospects on a consistent basis and direct them to a website for more detailed information about the company, its products and its services.
It’s easy and inexpensive to begin an e-newsletter campaign; the keys to its success lie in carefully building your database and providing value-added content instead of a thinly-veiled and disguised sales pitch. Additionally, it’s important to make it easy for recipients to opt out if they don’t want to receive your e-newsletter after a certain period of time. (Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find the un-subscribe button….we’ve all been there.)
4. Write a Blog
You’re reading this right now, aren’t you? See how effective blogs can be? Isn’t this fun? Blogging is another way to drive qualified traffic to your website and boost your site’s ranking in the search engines. Blogs can be utilized to add more keyword phrase pages to your site, since the search engines view blog posts in the same light as other web pages. Regular blogging also creates a humanizing voice to your company and allows you celebrate new milestones, promote special events and occasions, and more. It’s a great way to connect to and establish to your readers that you’re an authority in your field. Basically, prove to your readers that you really do know what the heck you’re talking about…and you’re proud of it.
We have found that many business owners hesitate to blog because they just don’t know what to write about – but this shouldn’t stop you. Obviously, you’re an expert in SOMETHING or you wouldn’t be running a business. Spend some time thinking about trends and happenings in YOUR industry that you can blog about, experiences you’ve had, and general things that you’re excited about in your industry. As our MVMG co-founder Micha likes to remind us all the time, “the most interesting people are interested.” If you’re excited about what you do, your potential customers will be too.
THE FUTURE IS NOW!
How to market your business effectively online is one of the biggest challenges a small business and entrepreneurs face today. A dexterous online marketing strategy is a very valuable tool for any business, and in order for your business to be successful, it is vital that people know about your brand as well as the products and services you offer, immediately. This is where a strong online marketing strategy will help tremendously. Don’t wait another 10 years and another 10 Gwen Stefani hit singles to get started.