Successfully marketing your business online tends to be easier said than done. There are countless techniques and strategies out there, some of which can actually hurt your business in your long run. And to top it all off, Google’s algorithm updates are always changing how we approach search engine optimization. Fortunately, there are proven steps that you can take to improve your approach to online marketing, and here are ten of them.
10. Have and Use a Blog
If your website lacks content, it’s going to lack visitors. After all, why would someone ever bother returning to your website if it never changes? Running a blog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your website loaded with rotating content. Once you have a finished blog post, you have your own relevant content to share on social media. As an added bonus, your blog gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience, allowing you to prove that your brand is an expert resource in your field
9. Be a Knowledgeable Authority in Your Field
Updating your blog is one way to accomplish this, but there are many others. Today’s web users realize that they have plenty of options. In order to separate your business from the herd, you must prove that you are an authority in your field. First and foremost, you must offer knowledgeable customer support. If a customer or client calls or emails your company with a question, you had better be able to provide an answer. Make an effort to educate your audience. This will get them excited about what you’re doing and empower them to make a confident purchase.
8. Use Keywords
Keywords are critical to your website’s success. In today’s saturated market, even the most obscure niche markets are loaded with competition. But according to Joel Gross, CEO of Coalition Technologies, the keyword game isn’t as simple as it used to be. “With the recent Hummingbird algorithm change, we really have to revisit how we approach keywords. It’s no longer simply a matter of choosing popular terms and phrases and peppering them across your site. You have to think in terms of semantic search, or user intent. What are your visitors actually looking for? Use a variety of related keywords that paint a clear and thorough picture, while also answering your users’ needs.” Which leads us to our next point…
7. Remember that Content is King
There was a time when using the same keywords over and over could boost your SERP ranking, but those days are long gone. Google has ways of knowing if your content is actually benefiting the end user. It looks at factors like the number of organic clicks, the bounce rate (how many people are visiting your site and then just clicking the “Back” button?), the amount of time spent on each page. You better give your visitors a reason to stick around, because if they’re not finding what they’re looking for, you won’t maintain your search engine rankings for very long.
6. Engage Your Audience Using Social Media
Too many businesses focus on their website and email list, forgetting how much free marketing opportunity is available on social networking sites. On the other side of the coin, too many businesses use social media poorly, damaging their reputation in the process. Share relevant content regularly, but don’t overdo it. Interact with your audience, but don’t be invasive. Your personal approach to social media may not be ideal for your company, so consider hiring a social media consultant if you’re not confident in your approach.
5. Use a Responsive Website
If your website doesn’t work flawlessly on mobile devices, you are going to have serious problems. According to Search Engine Land, Google has confirmed that more users search from their mobile phones than from their desktop computers. In today’s competitive market, one minor detail can send your audience elsewhere. After all, why would someone bother using your laggy, error-ridden page if there is a pristine website offering similar products or services?
4. Embrace Your Local Niche
While there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, it’s important to be realistic. As you optimize your website, focus on your company’s role. For example, if you own a local burger joint in Seattle, you probably don’t want to optimize your website for keywords like “fast food burgers,” as the competition is massive. However, “Seattle grass-fed burgers” narrows it down a whole lot. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Embrace your local roots and expand when it makes sense.
3. Include Media
Nobody wants to sift through a wall of text. The right image or video can be just as informative and much more pleasing to the eye. These days, a website with high-quality videos and images is not a treat – it is the norm. Your website can offer the best exclusive content in the world, but if it doesn’t look pretty, you’re not going to retain an audience. There are plenty of royalty-free options out there, but creating your own content (or hiring someone to do it for you) really takes your brand to the next level.
2. Be Tasteful
Nobody likes spam. If your company is constantly sending out promotional emails or updating your Facebook every five minutes, your customers are going to respond negatively. While you do want to remind your audience that you exist, there are few things worse for business than an overbearing online marketing campaign. It can be tempting to take advantage of free advertising programs, but how you do it matters much more than how often you do it.
1. Share Positive Reviews
You can write a novel about how your company is the best in the business, and nobody will care (even if it’s true). Why? Because you have something to lose. You have a very obvious motivation for talking a big game. When you get an awesome Yelp review or a nice email, you are getting some of the best promotion possible. Share (with permission) any kind words that your customers and clients have to say. Today’s savvy web users would rather hear praises (or scorn) from someone with real, first-hand experience.
When In Doubt, Go Pro
A qualified online marketing agency can do wonders for your online presence. If online marketing isn’t your area of expertise, call a reputable SEO firm or SEO Consultant. It’s abundantly clear that the future of business is going to take place on the Internet, and now is the time to make sure that your roots are firmly planted. Too many businesses assume that online marketing is a layman’s job, and that simply isn’t true. If you don’t have professional experience in online marketing, talk to someone who does. The future of your organization could depend on it.
Guest Author Bio:
Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer and SEO specialist who has contributed to a number of online publications. She currently lives in Salem, MA with her husband, son, and puppy. Besides her love for anything computer-related, Carolyn enjoys yoga, modern dance, and watercolor painting.