Online is where it’s at when it comes to marketing and advertising. Sure, traditional methods such as bus stop ads and TV ads still have their place, but there is no denying that online marketing gives businesses of any size and budget the opportunity to succeed. However, online marketing is becoming more complex, and smaller businesses may be struggling to keep up. To that end, here are five must-haves for your online marketing.
1. Omnichannel Strategies
Customers go through even more steps now before making a purchase. For instance, they may see a product ad on their smartphone Facebook app, click on it, pull up a few Amazon reviews, and mull it over. The next day on their laptop, they see another ad for the product and decide to add it to their Amazon wish list.
It’s time for more small businesses to get into omnichannel marketing. This approach builds customer loyalty and should eventually result in more people visiting your physical locations, if you have any.
2. Marketing Agencies
But wait, you may be saying. Omnichannel marketing sounds complicated (social listening software and data analytics programs?), and that’s on top of a lot of new marketing stuff that you just had to learn. True. As a business owner, you probably want to focus on your areas of passion. If marketing doesn’t do it for you, that is a lot of time to sink into something you don’t feel an innate connection to.
Contracting with a digital marketing agency is the perfect solution. You don’t have to hire a few folks for on-site marketing, and while your upfront investment may be higher, you’re getting closer to reaching or exceeding your success metrics in areas such as more physical visits and a higher-ranking website.
3. Marketing Gurus
Prefer not to outsource your marketing? Or maybe you have no problem with that but want at least one person in your business who knows marketing. Enter the marketing guru. Hiring this person requires due diligence, especially if you’re not sure what to look for or what to ask about. As Maryville’s online marketing mba course list shows, you may want to look for applicants who have recent education in areas such as social networking, search engine optimization, and integrated marketing communications.
4. Inbound Marketing Approaches
If you’re brand-new to online marketing, that’s okay. Jumping right away into omnichannel could be too overwhelming, and it’s possible to do well as long as you employ effective inbound marketing approaches. In general, they include:
- Keyword research and using a few specialized keywords to draw website traffic (if you have a physical location, use that to your advantage. For instance, one of your keywords could be, “oil change Roanoke VA”)
- A blog with educational content and long-tail keywords (highly specific search phrases)
- A Facebook presence where you post informative content from your blog and from other sources (Twitter and other platforms are good to have, but if one person is doing this alone, time is short, and Facebook is great)
- Something useful to offer your website visitors, perhaps in exchange for a newsletter signup (a user guide, tutorial, ebook, or collection of resources, for instance)
It’s often useful to hire a content writing agency. These agencies aren’t marketing agencies per se, but they can supply well-written content you’ll use on your blog and in other places, and for a fraction of what it would cost to retain a marketing agency.
Consistency is perhaps the most important thing of all. That is, whatever you choose to do, be consistent. Smart small, and work up. Your business looks bad if its Facebook page is rarely updated and if the website is out of date. Handle only what you can work with at first.