Business owners and internet marketers who look at the current environment with wide eyes and wonder and say, “Wow, the world is really changing!”, are being killed off left and right. Those who are surviving are in the moment, agile, and flexible. Today’s marketing landscape is primarily digital and is an ultra dynamic, decentralized, ruthless place, where new channels are surfacing at an ever-increasing and unpredictable rate.
If you’re not on top of your game and this sounds scary to you, it should. But don’t fear, the purpose of this blog is to empower you, not scare you.
4 Ways to Win in Internet Marketing
This article is meant to be useful for big corporations with established marketing departments, down to mom-and-pop shops. But for the beginning of this list, let’s assume the only online marketing you have done for your company is having a website built. If this sounds like your current marketing situation, you are the equivalent of an overweight 400 LB smoker, who eats nothing but fast food and exercises once a presidential election cycle.
Life expectancy ~6 months
For those of you reading this with aspirations of living longer than the next 6 months, pay attention.
Having a website isn’t enough anymore. And before we even discuss the possibility of you cutting down on these lbs, first we have to talk about quitting smoking and picking a gym!
1. Set-up Your Social Media Presence
Deniers of climate change are almost as funny to me as deniers of social media as it relates to the importance of marketing. To give you an idea of just how important social media is and is becoming, feast your eyes on this chart:
Source: Salesforce (2015)
I love numbers, it’s the best way to illustrate just how brutally competitive the online marketing space is. Now that we know that social media marketing is ‘actually a real thing’, we know that you have to get your fat *ss to the gym! Now let’s build you a workout plan:
Choose Your Social Media Outlets Wisely
– Remember not to spread yourself thin – it may not pay to build an account if you aren’t going to be somewhat active on it/take the time to make it look great.
Facebook Advertising and Presence
– Essential for all
Facebook is your treadmill. Everyone needs to break a sweat, as cardio is the backbone of every workout plan (I think). Regardless, if you have a business, you need a company Facebook page. This is not a negotiation.
LinkedIn Business Page
– Essential for all
If you don’t have a LinkedIn page for your business, you just aren’t a legit company in the eyes of the social media masses. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t have one, it’s like showing up to the gym without running sneakers and a water bottle.
Google+ Page for Your Business
– Essential for all
If you read my post, How to be Found on Google, you already know that Google makes the majority of the rules on the Internet. Do things that make Google happy, like using their social network that nobody seems to care about. Just because it doesn’t seem relevant to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t seem relevant to Google. DO THIS, and think of it as having a good relationship with the guy who holds the keys to your gym…build a relationship with him and maybe he’ll give you some perks that are otherwise unavailable to the rest of the gym members.
Instagram Presence Building
– Very Important
While this is still part of the core workout schedule, it may not be essential for your business. If you sell a product (not a service) and don’t have an Instagram account for your business, this is like being a professional basketball player and not practicing free throws. Penetrating Instagram for product driven businesses is essential, because it is so effective for driving brand awareness, which yields lead gen and sales.
Twitter Advertising & Presence Building
– Very Important
While a lot of people might be surprised that this doesn’t fall into the essential bucket of our social media outlets like Facebook and Google+, you can be in shape without a Twitter account. Twitter is a useful outlet for any company, but might be most important for companies that have a lot going on news-wise, or whose reputation may be impacted by being news savvy. For example, every company in financial services should definitely have a business Twitter account.
In the same vein as Instagram, this channel is most important for product driven businesses.
It’s worth noting that Snapchat may very well be the single biggest digital marketing platform in the world in a few years. We’ll be discussing the intricacies of Snapchat in a later post.
2) Set-up Email Marketing
You don’t even have to set it up, just start collecting email addresses! Do you have a way to collect email addresses on your website? Do you ask your clients/customers for their email addresses somewhere in the conversion cycle?
If I’m hearing crickets right now, this is no bueno. Start doing this yesterday, and always find new and creative and minimally invasive ways to collect email addresses. This is one of the most cost-effective, and highest converting marketing methods available today. People check their email inboxes, a lot, all the time, even when it’s socially unacceptable to do so. You can capture a percentage of eyeballs on smartphones simply by collecting email addresses.
When you actually get setup, run testing to ensure that emails aren’t going to spam folders and that you’re receiving an acceptable open rate. Once you’ve collected a good amount of emails (over 2,000), you should strongly consider retaining an internet consulting firm to help you build your html emails and optimize your campaigns. This does not cost as much as it probably sounds like it does, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and prices vary.
3) Commit to & Measure Internet Marketing Efforts
Some of the best and most important practices for internet marketing are to define your key performance indicators, create goals to hit those metrics, and take a strictly quantitative approach in evaluating the impact of your efforts. Focusing on the numbers is important. Why? Getting a bunch of sales 2 months after you revamp your marketing efforts does not necessarily mean you are a beast of an online marketer. Actually, sales volume – or whatever your macro conversion metric is – trailing 2 months from the beginning of a new digital marketing presence holds almost no indication as to the effectiveness of the campaign.
The effects of building a new presence takes time. Just like it takes time to see results from search engine optimization efforts, the same is true for seeing your macro conversion metric achieved for internet marketing.
Focus on the right key performance indicators. Think carefully about this, as I would venture that effective internet marketing is 65% preparation, only 10% execution, and 25% optimization.
4) Invest in Internet Consulting Services
If you don’t have time to make a plan, set up your social media, email marketing, or measurement plan, hire a team of internet consultants that knows how to do it.
Those who are not somewhere on the evolutionary curve will surely die, those who are somewhere along the middle of the curve have a chance of surviving, and those who wisely invest in retaining an internet marketing company stand the best chance.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, which will talk about how to effective leverage some of the most powerful and relevant social media channels.