Most small business owners are happy having a website up and running and beyond that don’t put much thought into how people they want to target can find it….and once they find it does it effectively convert them to customers?
Here are a few basic guidelines on what you should focus on for your online marketing strategy (yes you should have one!):
Website Design & Content
- It should reflect your business image and brand, designed with a layout and content to appeal to your target market
- Make sure it is designed to EASILY find the key information needed to make a decision to buy from you
- AND make it easy for them to BUY your products or services (preferably instantly online)
- Use persuasive language talking direct to your customers, make them part of the story so they feel involved
- Use professional images, videos and photos to also communicate what you offer
- Build a website with a content management system (CMS) included so you have control over keeping it updated
- Give your website visitors the opportunity to connect and interact with you online using tools like a blog (with a comment function), subscription to your communications, connecting to your social media pages or a members only area.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Most websites really don’t do this well. One of the first things to do during development of a website is to establish WHO the website is targeting and what the keyword/phrase search terms they would use to find you in search engines
- Use these keyword phrases in your page URL’s, meta tags, page titles and content.
- Better results will come with using specific phrases e.g “Paihia luxury self contained accommodation” rather than broad generic terms like “New Zealand accommodation”.
- Each page on your website should have different meta tags and SEO content relevant to the contents of the page
- Don’t expect your web designer to manage all of this for you, it’s up to you to be proactive and thorough with the details of SEO
- The objective on any online marketing activity should be to attract relevant and well targeted visitors to your website
- Any traffic is not necessarily effective traffic, so ensure you promote your website on relevant websites that attract your market with a link direct to you. The higher profile the website is that links to you the more benefit it will be to your website ranking
- Pay per click advertising like Google Adwords or Facebook ads can really help to boost your website traffic quickly, ensure you use specific and relevant keyword phrases to trigger the ads – if they are too broad the cost per click will be expensive to compete for the bids and the traffic you attract may not be relevant
- Build reciprocal links with complimentary businesses to feed traffic to each other. E.g. if you are an accommodation business you may have links on your website to tourist activities, local restaurants and transport. In return ask for a link to your website and ideally use your keywords in the link e.g instead of ABC Motel as the link name, request it is Kerikeri Budget Motel Accommodation
Don’t Ignore “User content” & Social Networking
- Online marketing should now include strategies to attract content from your customers online, whether it be on your own website or on your social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and so on
- “Word of mouth” marketing is powerful and now easy to generate online using these tools
- Social media is also an effective way to build a profile online for your area of expertise and to maintain and form new relationships
- Make it easy for your website visitors to share the information you have on your web pages or blog by providing “sharing tools” such as Sharethis.com or Addthis.com
There is a whole lot more detail involved with each of these areas above however if you have a plan that includes these things then you are on the right path to having an effective and well ranked website with a strong online profile. And finally….it’s an ever evolving process so never stop planning and implementing online marketing strategies.