Crafted for Small Business Managers, Marketing Newbies and Small Business Owners
In a matter of very few years, the Internet consolidated itself as a very powerful platform that has changed forever the way we do business and the way we communicate. The Internet, as no other communication medium, has given an International or, if you prefer, a “Globalized” dimension to the world. Internet has become the Universal source of information for millions of people, at home, at school, and at work.
Marketing is, and always has been, about reaching customers where they are. TV commercials, print advertisements, and billboards all attempt to do just that. But since the customer has relocated to the internet watering holes, then marketing has to reposition its antenna.
The internet offers unique benefits other marketing mediums can’t offer — scope of reach, the option to personalize content, and the opportunity to build far-reaching relationships with customers, being just a few.
At the time of creating this guide, over 4.54 billion internet users globally (Uganda stands at 37.9% with 23 million internet users) and growing at a rate never seen before, the internet has become an overwhelming and all-encompassing entity, filled with videos and recipes and news articles and e-commerce sites. In the crowded space of the internet, how are you supposed to differentiate your business to reach the right audience?
This guide will put you in the center of the internet revolution. It will give you the basic tools you’ll need to become a part of the online market and find your leads and customers exactly where they hang out, engage with them, delight them and grow your business in the process.
Fundamentals of Online Marketing
Online marketing (sometimes referred to as Internet marketing) leverages digital channels, including email, social media, websites, and search engines, to reach your ideal audience. Unlike more traditional advertising mediums, such as print, the internet encourages two-way conversations between your business and your customer, ideally creating better long-term customer retention.
There’s no avoiding it: internet marketing is critical for the success of your business in 2019 and beyond. But with all the gimmicks and tricks, it can be difficult to distinguish short-term wins from effective long-term strategies, which is why we’ve decided to answer this new seemingly trivial question but difficult to answer for new small business managers and owners.
When we talk about online marketing, we’re essentially talking about promoting your business on the internet (online) using a variety of channels. And these channels include search, social, video, email, and display.
You see, today’s customer is connected across these channels on the internet and online marketing is about finding ways to be present and staying present to capture the customer’s attention at that right moment when she may need your product or service.
The internet has transformed the way people buy products or services. And, now, with mobile smartphones, that experience is everywhere. This puts the customer in charge of the buying process.
They’re armed with resources to conduct research, compare options, share what they’ve found, and even ask their peers for recommendations, all done online.
And, often, this happens simultaneously. What was once the norm in marketing has taken a backseat to its online counterpart.
Print Media continues to drop in readership. People are leaving cable for on demand shows served up by online companies like Netflix. And we’re distracted by our mobile devices while we walk on the streets, so we miss advertisements in the windows and at traffic stops and cross roads.
Streaming music has replaced radio. And the opportunity to pay for many services eliminates advertising from interrupting our experience. The Yellow Pages has been replaced by Google Local and TripAdvisor, where the consumer can easily read reviews and see pictures of the business.
Even in brick and mortar shops, people are holding their phones, scanning bar-codes, chasing deals, and deciding whether it’s cheaper to buy online. And that’s where online marketing comes in.
As a business, you need to stand out throughout the journey a buyer takes. With so many user interaction points and what seems like an endless amount of channels, online marketing can feel overwhelming.
In short, online marketing is the process of putting your business front and center along the journey that your customer takes.
There are three main types of media used in online marketing: paid, owned, and earned.
Paid media will make up everything that you pay for. This will include channels like Google AdWords, Facebook paid ads, and display marketing.
Owned media will encompass channels like your website, your list of customers that you use to send out emails, and a blog with an active readership.
Earned media is the world of organic press. Your social media accounts, mentions on other blogs, and articles written about you make up the channels within earned media.
All of these online channels overlap just as a user will overlap as they interact with each. And, together, these make up the foundation of online marketing.
Online marketing differs from traditional marketing, which has historically included mediums like print, billboard, television and radio advertisements.
Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure.
Think of national television ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are also not well-suited to controlled experimentation.
Today, any small business owner or manager can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their online marketing campaigns’ efficiency and Return on Investment.
A professional looking website is a mark of a trustworthy business and an engine for sales.
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“Ten years ago it may have been a choice to jump on the online bandwagon, but now it’s an absolute must to survive and thrive as a small business. With over 85% of searches for products and services happening online, it’s just a “duh” at this point.”Says Ritah Ryabonye Marketing Manager @burtsystems.
Many businesses, particularly those that don’t actually sell anything online, often complain that there’s not enough time in the day to engage in both offline and online marketing because the internet is an unfamiliar territory and as a result, online marketing gets shoved to the side.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how customers make decisions. The reality is that consumers – likely you – turn to the internet to discover what to do, where to go, who to buy things from and more.
Keeping this in mind, shopping online isn’t the only reason people go online. Instead, being online leverages multiple avenues for small businesses to gain visibility among consumers.
For example: if I want to eat at a good restaurant this evening, my first choice will be at one I’ve seen on my social media timelines before or read about online recommended by a virtual friend I trust.
“Consumers have too many choices these days and they have to be constantly reminded that you exist. The best way to reach them is where they spend a good bit of time, where they hang out — at the watering hole… which is online”Continues Ritah.
A key benefit of using online marketing for a small business is the ability to measure the impact of your online marketing strategies to your target customers.
The ability to find out whether your online marketing efforts are converting prospects into customers or not.
Of the visitors that convert into paying customers, further analysis can be done to determine which online marketing channels are most effective at acquiring valuable customers. Is it paid, earned or owned media that works for your small business?
That was next to impossible with traditional marketing. Those companies that still rely entirely on traditional marketing are those that don’t want to know if marketing works.
Your ability to measure customer experiences through Analytics can help your small business determine the following:
The web is littered with marketing terminologies that are used unsparingly by marketers. If you’re new to the online real estate, you could miss out on an important piece of information that would have helped your small business flourish with online tools. Let’s define some of these terminologies specific to online marketing that are frequently used by online marketers.
We’ll start with one of the most important pieces of online marketing, your Call to Action, abbreviated as CTA.
This is an instruction provided to your audience as a way to provoke a response. Calls to action typically use a verb, often displayed on a button with a distinctive color, such as “Save Now” or “Buy Today” or “Request a Quote”. You’ll find them in banner ads, on website landing pages and in social media posts, to name a few. For example:
As you drive traffic to your site, you’ll encounter what is called the Bounce Rate. This is when a visitor arrives to your website but leaves after visiting only one page. They’re said to have bounced and your bounce rate is the percentage of those visitors. A bounce rate can apply to an entire website or a single page.
The traffic that bounced had to come from somewhere, whether it was an advertisement or an email, you’ll want to be measuring your Click Through Rate, abbreviated as CTR.
As marketers, we’ll often measure performance by how many clicks an ad receives. Every time an advertisement is shown, it counts as an impression and the CTR is how many clicks were received in relation to the amount of impressions that ad was seen.
Alright, let’s shift gears now and look at the term Abandonment. This is when a user does not complete the goal you intended for them. A user is following a particular path, say to check out, from an online store or to complete an online enquiry form and then they leave in that process.
In marketing, we aim to reduce that and that’s what we call abandonment.
As you begin to scale up your marketing efforts, you’ll encounter paid advertising and the term Ad Impression. Each time your advertisement is displayed to a user, it counts as an impression.
Websites with high Bounce Rate are bad for business!
Impressions are often tied to Frequency and frequency is the amount of time a single user will see your advertisement. If you had 10 impressions of an ad, with a frequency of two, then five people would have seen that advertisement.
When a user completes your goal, whether it’s sending you an enquiry or buying a product or downloading an application, they’re said to have converted and your Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors who entered into this experience and actually completed the goal.
To understand how a user converted or when, we need to use what is called a Tracking Pixel. These are tiny one-by-one pixel images that are installed on your website to track conversions, website visits and ad views.
Advertising only make sense if it brings you a positive return on investment, right!. To discover that, you’ll have to look at your Cost per Acquisition. You may also hear this referred to as CPA or in some cases Costs per Action.
This is how much it costs you per goal completion. So if you ran an advertisement with a goal of getting an application downloaded and that ad costs you $50 and if one person downloaded the app, despite the hundreds that clicked on it, the cost per acquisition for that single user would be $50. That CPA will then be compared to your Lifetime Value or LTV.
A Website that does not convert is as good as a street issued brochure!
Every customer has a value. Some will buy once and never return, others will become repeat buyers. Your lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the lifetime of that customer’s relationship with you.
Typically, with paid advertisements, you want your CPA to be lower than your LTV.
These refer to visual images, either static or animated that are used to generate brand awareness or entice a user to click. Most banner or display advertisements will contain a call to action (CTA).
When you run these advertisements or share an offer, it’s important that the user arrives on a page this is specific to your promotion. If you don’t use one, it’s unlikely that they’ll convert and this page that they first arrive on from the Ad, is called the Landing Page.
Finally, let’s look at an Organic Result. When you conduct a search, on say Google, you have two types of results. Paid results, which are typically the first couple of links and then organic results, which are not paid and instead achieve their rank through search engine optimization.
As you progress through learning the online marketing game, it’s important that you do your best to clarify these concepts as you encounter them, but feel free to return to this post to brush up on these definitions anytime.
Year over year, more and more marketing opportunities present themselves online. And this is because people are creating and adopting new technologies and exploring new ideas. The amount of options available to you as a small business owner or marketer are almost overwhelming.
Let’s explore the main components of online marketing that can be used to build and maintain a robust online marketing program:
Your company website is an important piece of your online marketing goals. It may serve as a gateway to gather information, or the actual destination where a sale takes place. It’s an opportunity for a visitor to discover what makes your brand unique, to find the information they’re looking for, and to guide them in their decision to buy.
You may have all sorts of marketing campaigns running: Ads on Google, posts on Facebook, blog articles. And all of it is bring in new customers, and they eventually end up on your website.
All of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces of online real estate that you own. The better your marketing, the more visibility your website has.
Online consumers are fickle, and that’s because online interactions are so commonplace. Users are spoiled by companies that are doing it well. They’re just used to things working, and they expect that the information they want will be available and accurate. When it’s not there, they’re disappointed and credibility is lost for whatever brand they’re interacting with.
The truth is, if your website isn’t good, you’re going to fall further and further behind as the online marketing landscape evolves. And if your website doesn’t work on mobile, you’re already behind.
Chances are there is a competitor with a better online experience, and your customers will seek them out if they’re fumbling with yours.
An effective website is simple, well thought out, and highly functional. It should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can accomplish their goals effortlessly. Your business goals and the needs of your target market should overlap. And most importantly, your website only needs to appeal to your target market. So spend your effort designing it to work for that audience.
The data you collect on your website, your campaigns, and your social media efforts will determine the overall health of your online marketing.
The data is your map. Without it, you’re flying blind. You’ll be using your data to improve your experience, listen for untapped opportunities, and pull the plug, if you have to, on any failing ideas.
The amazing thing with internet marketing is that we can track just about every action a user takes. There are a number of tools available that help marketers understand both the qualitative and the quantitative. We can track what’s happening now and even model what is likely to happen in the future.
The easiest place to start is with your own website. Here, you can track how many visitors you have, where they’re coming from, what pages they’re looking at, how long they’ve stayed on your site, and even what page they left on.
By reviewing your analytics, you’ll get a sense of how your users found your site, if they’re finding what they want on your site, and if your advertising objectives are driving a meaningful amount of traffic.
With a resource like Google Analytics, you install a tracking code on every page of your website. And, from there, you’ll have a goldmine of data to leverage, segment, and correlate.
For example, if you made a change to your website design and noticed that, on that day, web traffic dropped dramatically, you’ll have a sense of where to start looking for the problem. If you roll out a new landing page, you might see an increase in conversions resulting from that specific page. Or, you may see a sudden spike in traffic and, by drilling into it, you can identify the source. Say a social media post, a mention, or even an online blog that linked back to you.
The same approach works with paid Analytics, like Adwords on Google and Facebook Ads, and use the same on measuring earned media like how interesting people think your product and services are. Basically, analytics is about interpreting your collected data in meaningful way to your small business.
Search engine optimization is all about impacting how visible your website is in a search engine’s organic results. You’ll be making changes to your site’s technical setup, as well as the content on the page in an effort to improve rank.
To better understand optimization, let’s look at how search engines work.
A company like Google will have a bot, basically a software program that crawls the web. It does this by following links. Links from your site to other pages on your site and links from one site to another.
The crawler arrives at a page, reads the code and stores the information.
That stored information is called the index and your initial goal is to be indexed by Google. If you’re indexed, you’re ranked. You might not rank well, but you have the potential for ranking. Only if your web page has been indexed (stored in the search engine’s servers).
Here’s Matt Cutts, Google’s SafeSearch explaining how the Google’s index works.
Rank: this refers to which position you appear in when someone conducts a search query on a search engine.
So when you type in a search term, Google will do its best to provide the most important and relevant answers and then rank them from best to worst.
The better Google is at their job the more likely you are to use them and the more money they make. So it’s in Google’s best interest to deliver the best content. And because Google drives a mind-boggling amount of traffic each day, it’s in your best interest to rank well for relevant terms.
Rank is determined by importance and relevance, a complex algorithm churns through hundreds and thousands of variables to decide where your page lands. Many of those variables are what you’re aiming to optimize.
Those variables might include the topics you’re writing about, who is linking to your page, how your website is programmed and most importantly if you’re mobile-friendly.
Google even evaluates the quality of the pages that are linking to you. If they’re on brand, relevant and popular, it’s going to assume that you’re more credible than if off topic, unpopular pages are linking to your content.
Variables that you can’t control might include where a user is searching from. Trending topics and any current events that might be skewing the results.
SEO done well can provide an impressive Return on Investment. Done poorly and it’ll negative impact your organic search efforts.
If you want to dig deep into SEO and have an expert help you out with your website content seo, visit our SEO page and talk to one of my colleagues.
Online marketing has several benefits, but the biggest is the ability to target people with amazing level of detail.
Because search and display advertisements are served up digitally, we can measure exactly when a user clicked, where they clicked from, and what happens after the click. This data lets us change our marketing plan, and optimize our returns.
Search marketing — or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves placing advertisements on the organic results of search engines. These advertisements are sold on a pay-per-click model, so you don’t pay for impressions, but rather an actual action.
In this snapshot of a search on Google, you can see right away, we have paid ads here along the top, and on the right-hand side of the screen. SEM is great, because the searcher has expressed intent. In this case, I searched for Hotels in Entebbe, so these ads are very relevant to my needs.
As a marketer, you’ll create this custom list of words or phrases that you want to display ads against.
When you conduct a search, a lot happens simultaneously like the algorithms changing the ads to display something else. Let’s say after my first search above, I refreshed the page. You’ll notice that the Ads changed.
This is because the moment that you run your query, Google is going to grab the list of advertisers who want to display ads for this term. Google’s going to look at the cost each advertiser wants to pay, and then they’re going to get them in a bidding war until the top bids are identified.
Next, Google will apply a quality score to the bid, and this score is determined by the key words click-through rate, the relevance of the ad, prior keyword performance, and even the keyword focused on the landing page itself. The number that comes out determines who wins, and who shows up in which slot for what cost.
Display advertisements are banner ads, or even these same text ads, but they’re shown on someone else’s website, not here on the Google result page. You might encounter these as you browse the web.
Let’s take a snapshop of monitor.co.ug (Immediate Image above), a local news blog; you’ll notice that I’ve got an advertisement on the top and right-hand sides. It’s an image.
This advertisements comes from Jambo Jet, and it’s being shown to me because I went to their website and used their services previously.
This is what we call remarketing advertisement. This presents a great example of how targeted you can get with display advertising.
Display is great for remarketing and even brand awareness, but it’s harder to generate a direct response. Most display ads are going to be shown to a very relevant audience, but that audience may not be expressing intent or even purchasing behavior.
I may simply be on monitor blog to just do research for my blog and I’m not really interested in any sports betting and travelling.
You can still follow along the same path if you plan on using Bing or Yahoo!, as many of these concepts are similar but the platforms will vary.
Google has the majority market share, and it’s where I recommend that you start.
Historically, online marketing was a fairly one-sided approach. Businesses pushed ideas out and consumers passively received them. But that landscape has shifted. The internet has become extremely interactive.
Social media has created a new style of communication, and there are now billions of conversations happening online. People are discussing popular news articles, sharing photos of their pets, and even engaging with brands. And it all feels relatively natural to the consumer. It’s just part of how the web operates.
All of these online conversations, however, present exciting opportunities for marketers. We can join in on a conversation to drive brand awareness or create our own conversations and empower our customers to do the marketing for us. Done right, social media has the potential to transform your business.
However, it’ll require a good social media marketing strategy, some creativity, and a little bit of luck. Done wrong, then social media might bring unwanted attention, which could potentially harm your business or your brand image.
Typically, when we talk about social media, we’re talking about the natural approach of distributing content. But it’s more than just sharing updates. Because people share so much information on social media, we can buy some of the most targeted advertisements available on the web.
A successful busy boss spends less time on social media, more time creating business strategies. Let us manage your business social pages so you can concentrate on running your business.
Looking to sell a product to a new mom? Facebook has a targeting option for that. Want to offer help when a customer is complaining about your brand? Twitter has a search feature for that.
For many brands, social media will be a must-have component of their online marketing strategy.
Your social media might feature the major networks, or it could be as simple as a blog, a customer forum, or just an Instagram photo.
The biggest platforms in use right now are YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Each of these networks is unique and has its own best practices, style, and audience.
So keep this in mind as you develop your first online marketing plan for your small business.
There’re very important social media marketing question you need to ask yourself before you dive into social media. So open up a new document or pull out a piece of paper and make note of the following:
How much time can you or your team spend on social networks? You need to plan at least 30 minutes a day. You’ve got to remember that you need to write copy, design or find images to support your message, and then evaluate your results so you can improve the strategy.
Next, think about what resources you have available. Are you doing this yourself? Can you train someone on your team to help you? Will you hire a freelancer? Once you factor in the time requirement, you might decide it’s worth it to pull in more help.
And finally, pencil out your budget. What are you planning to spend? You need to attract followers and this can be challenging without investing in paid advertising.
Even if you’re not doing any paid ads, make sure you still factor the time you or your team will be spending. Calculate the hourly rate and include that as a part of your spend.
If you are doing paid ads, I would try to allocate at least $50 a month, especially at the start when you’re trying new things and exploring how your spend is most efficiently used. Read the resources bellow to guide you.
Everything that I’ve talked about in defining online marketing has been for a specific audience. And social media is no different. Be sure you’re talking to a specific audience and not being too broad in your approach.
Social media is a moving target. If you’re able to adapt and scale alongside of it, your brand will benefit in the long term.
Video marketing is a popular component within online marketing. It involves producing video content and placing it on sites like Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Well, if I were to ask you what the second largest search engine next to Google is, what would you say? Yahoo? Bing? It’s actually YouTube. This makes YouTube an incredibly valuable resource for driving brand awareness and traffic to your website.
Video marketing can be used to show off your location, your products, or even help customers through their buying decision. You might make a video to tell your small business’s story or create your own commercial and use it to advertise on top of related content.
A well-titled and described video can appear in Google search results as well, driving yet another opportunity for people to discover your brand.
There are several companies whose success was hinged on viral videos. But two come to mind because they appear as case studies in many online conversations. Dollar Shave Club and Blendtec.
Dollar Shave Club is an online subscription for razor blades. The company saw impressive growth after they posted a hilarious viral video on YouTube. Within the first 48 hours of posting the video, they had over 12,000 new customers. And in the first three months, they racked up over four and a half million video views. The video went on to generate press mentions, social media shares, and even case studies like this one. The fact Dollar Shave Club recently sold for $1 billion to Unilever reinforces the potential value of a video.
Dollar Shave Club orchestrated the effort. They planned the entire video out and designed it to resonate with their target market. Instead of a typical short video about their product, they told the story through an unexpected video montage. They hired the right team to produce it, and quality was paramount.
Another brand that you may have seen on YouTube is Blendtec. Their founder, Tom Dixon, created a YouTube video series called Will It Blend? And he puts everything from bricks to golf balls into his blender to prove it’s one of the best blenders you can buy. My favourite is the Ipad one.
The videos were a direct response to customers curious if the Blendtec would blend things well. And he jumps on a new trend as well. When the new iPhone was released, he made sure it was dropped straight into the blender. Tom keeps uploading new movies and now has over 872,000 subscribers to his channel with highest views at 12 million on the above video. It’s been over 11 years of the same style of video, yet fans continue to share videos to their friends and engage with the brand by suggesting what should be blended next.
There is a huge potential to build video content that will resonate with your audience. But your focus doesn’t have to be to go viral. You may decide video marketing is ideal because it’ll help you along in your sales journey. Or maybe answering questions via YouTube will reinforce your brand’s commitment to customer service.
You can introduce videos that demonstrate your product or service, or feature team introductions. It’s possible customers or competitors are already making videos about your product or services. If that’s the case, there’s even more reason to jump in and leverage the power of video marketing. The best impact from video marketing will come from building interesting and unique content.
Content marketing is all about creating articles/posts and media and sharing it on various platforms, including your website, that in turn drive brand awareness, create new customers, and generate revenue for your small business.
Content Marketing works because remarkable content is valuable to customers. It does a number of things, the first of which is answering a question.
People are curious. They’re research-driven, and they’ll frequently turn to the web to identify material surrounding a particular question. In some cases, content marketing will even create questions people never knew they had.
You might be browsing an article with a recipe when you come across a headline that reads, Are You Using Your The Right Liquid Soap? And you think to yourself, I don’t know, am I? And before you know it, you’ve purchased a new type of liquid soap from a hip startup.
The right content though is authentic, and if it does a good job of answering the question, it can sell without being pushy.
Creating content for your blog can be daunting task esp if you don’t know what to write about.
Content marketing is also authoritative. It allows people and brands to establish themselves as authorities on particular topics. A carpet cleaning company might use content marketing to publish articles on the best methods for removing stains. They may even add videos to their articles, helping to demonstrate how their method works. It can be a completely unbiased approach as well, but the fact they’re sharing industry-specific information makes them appear authoritative.
Content marketing also adds value to a customer’s journey by providing them with the ability to self-navigate any announcements you’ve made in the past or sneak peeks to what lies ahead for your brand.
The great thing about content marketing is that it has a very low barrier to entry. It’s inexpensive to add articles to your website or leverage platforms such as WordPress or Blogger to build custom content. The hardest part of the whole process is actually creating the material itself.
Good and relevant content will also add value to your SEO efforts. It’s one of the main reasons companies are leveraging content marketing. And it should weigh into your decision of starting down this path.
Your content marketing will likely be cross-channel weaving itself through your blog, your social media, and your email efforts. By producing great content, your business will help to answer questions, steer a customer’s journey, and become a trusted source of information. All of this works to increase your online reputation. And that’s never a bad thing.
To many, email marketing feels a little old and antiquated. It almost comes across very similar to direct mail, in that you’re sending a newsletter, an offer, a flashy graphic message, alongside dozens of other letters, in the hopes that someone not only reads it, but responds to it.
And sure, the older model of email marketing was a lot like that. Marketers purchased giant lists of email addresses and then sent completely irrelevant offers in hopes of catching a handful of leads, and thus, the boom of spam.
And while that still happens, the modern marketer is turning to their own email list to drive interaction and revenue, and this is because many customers welcome communication from brands they already interact with, just like our own request to signup for our business development newsletter for our frequent visitors.
Today’s email marketing is typically built on a list of users who have subscribed to receive communication from you, they’re interested in hearing what you have to say and potentially getting a special offer not available elsewhere.
On one hand, your email marketing efforts will be about acquiring new subscribers to your list, and on the other, retaining and generating revenue from those subscribers.
With email marketing, you can inform existing customers of new products, upsell them to a more premium package, or even encourage them to share your business with their peers.
Email is very much alive in today’s online marketing landscape, so it’s worth building a strategy around.
Also, you should note that email marketing is very strategic. Each message needs to be carefully crafted, include a strong call to action, and arrive at just the right moment to get noticed. If it’s not relevant, it gets deleted.
Think about your own email habits. What are you opening, and why? What are you clicking on? You might even consider keeping track of every marketing email you open over the next couple of weeks, or even looking back at those you opened historically. Try to identify patterns, and use those ideas to your advantage.
Good email marketing is built on customer segments.
Any time you acquire an email, you should track where that email came from. If you have the resources, it would be ideal to also track which emails made purchases, how much revenue did that email derive, and even associate demographics or persona information if you have it.
For example, I might have multiple email lists for an online travel Company. I can have a list of customers that travelled with my company in the last 30 days, customers that have repeatedly travelled with me, and a list of people who inquired but never converted. Each of those segments would receive a different email from me.
Good email marketing is hinged on the idea of a drip campaign.
So for our abandoned segment, I might send an email in the first 24 hours that says, “Hey Mark, you still haven’t made a decision on travel quote we discussed last week. There’s only one step left to making your trip a reality”
Maybe 72 hours later, I’ll drop another email: “Free travel insurance today only, with the coupon code insurefree. Confirm your booking now to be eligible.”
And the following week, I might try one last desperate attempt with another coupon, a reminder of their trip or some additional information on the company and why it’s so great.
And that’s just one example out of many.
Learn how to manage your email list.
To get the most value out of email, you won’t be using a typical email client because your email may never make it to your contacts because of spam protection. Instead, you’ll need to leverage an online provider like MailChimp or Constant Contact. These systems will let you tailor your lists, set up automatic triggers, and track results.
Email marketing is still a valuable tool. Focus on generating your own email list versus purchasing one, and you’ll likely see much better results in your small business online marketing endeavor.
The web and all of its content is fragmented into incredibly narrow markets or verticals. Within each of these verticals, you’ll likely find someone who is an influencer. Either they’re an authority on a topic that this audience cares about, or they’re entertaining and interesting.
Influencer marketing is an incredibly popular form of marketing where the focus is placed on, well, influential people. It identifies that these individuals have influence over potential buyers.
Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may simply introduce your product or business as a paid sponsorship.
Influencers seem to pop up overnight and they gain traction into markets thought the likes of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and even the seemingly old school blog. A celebrity endorsement used to be the Holy Grail. But now tapping into an influencer who speaks to a loyal base of followers is the real price. And influencers attract attention because they’re contributing authentically to a community of like-minded individuals.
We’ve got moms blogging about their life and the struggle to raise children reaching other moms who appreciate those stories. And then we have incredibly talented scientists crafting YouTube videos of a viral quality. And even an entire audience dedicated to a small leather worker turning out beautiful photos of his work on Instagram.
Think about your own internet habits, do you feel idle time consuming content from a person whom you admire, trust, or aspire to be like? Finding a way to interact and engage with influencers should be part of any comprehensive online marketing strategy because as you’ve identified, we all have those people whom we looked up to, aspired to be like, or admire. And because we have that connection with this influencer, from there, whatever they do or say, has an opportunity to motivate a transaction.
Influencers provide social proof.
What they wear, listen to, where they go, what they use. This inspires communities. They have affirmed that this product is something they like and value. People really don’t mind being sold to as long as the seller is authentic and within their social circle.
Influencers are affordable
Secondly, contrary to popular beliefs, influencers are affordable. Depending on the reach of an influencer, deals can be had in exchange for free product or often at a minimum of $150+.
Influencers cut through the noise.
Influencer marketing has proven to cure ad fatigue more than any other online marketing channel today. And why is that? Well, simply put, consumers want value. They get more value out of an influencer than they do out of an ad. An influencer outreach program is more valuable now than it has ever been.
Remember, it’s not necessarily the size of the audience that gets results, rather it’s the quality of the content and the ability of the influencer to promote your brand in an authentic manner. But I don’t wanna make it sound too easy. You see, the hardest part of influencer marketing is finding the right influencers and then negotiating the terms of the promotion.
Start thinking on the power and importance of influencer marketing. We’ll be exploring how to find influencers and hire them in another post. It’s worthwhile to invest energy and adding this tactic to your overall small business online marketing strategy.
Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing.
First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.
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The first step to getting started with online marketing is to evaluate your goals and make sure they are measurable. Are you hoping to sign up 100 new customers? Generate 1,000 leads to fuel your Business-to-Business (B2B) sales process? Build an email subscriber base of 5,000 people?
After that, you need to make a choice about how to construct an online presence that helps you achieve that goal. Maybe you need to set up an e-commerce site. If you’re interested in publishing content to drive awareness and subscribers, look into setting up a blog. A simple website or landing page with a lead capture form can help you start developing your brand and generating traffic. A basic analytics platform (like Google Analytics, which is free) can help you start to measure how you are tracking towards your initial goal.
Online marketing is also known as Internet marketing, web marketing, digital marketing and search engine marketing (SEM). Online advertising and Internet advertising are one technique involved with online marketing like we’ve explored here, but are not synonymous with online marketing.
Thank you good people of the internet! Thank you for painstakingly going through reading this exhaustive guide. My hope is that you understand this new connection economy and hopefully help your small business grow in the process. I would like to know if you want to read more of this. Be kind and share with your colleagues, family and friends using those fancy buttons below, or go right ahead and tell me your views on the subject in the comments bellow, you must have some?! Or share with me your email and I’ll make sure you get the next one right into your inbox. Cheers!
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