Online Marketing for Your Business
Online marketing for your business is about as wide a topic as you are likely to come across in business, in 2016.
Websites, branding, social media, content, search engine optimization (SEO), google ad-words, digital advertising, and the list goes on, and on. With millions of articles written on the subject, there really is one word to describe it – bewildering. Lets try and draw a parallel, an example, if you will; picture a pc board (printed circuit board), lots of little connections linking little blocks to other little blocks, and these little blocks to bigger blocks etc. You now have a rough idea of the ‘online space’, and why it can be very confusing, and nerve wracking when you are investigating online marketing for your business.
If you are just beginning down the road of planning an online marketing for your business strategy, we would advise that you begin slowly; this is because there is no ‘silver bullet’ here, it all takes time. There a number of potholes along this road, and occasionally you may come across: a cul-de-sac, a no entry sign, or even a washed away bridge, if you will excuse the road analogy. Add a few stop/go check points, a couple of roadside vendors, and you have summed up the online marketing for your business journey.
Let’s try and set THIS out as simply as we can, and dispel one or two myths as we go
website design and build;
- Website design – Hardcore HTML coders will have you believe that this is a difficult, and time consuming task. This may have been the case in the 80’s, but is no longer the case; there are literally thousands of pre-designed templates, many of which are free, or offer free versions. If you can think of a business: application, style, and look and feel, there will be a template for your requirements. So website design is the easiest element of your website.
- Website build – As with design; hardcore coders will have you believe that this is a difficult process, this is another myth, sure it takes considerably longer than selecting the right template, and yes, technical knowledge of how to go about it is required, but it is generally quite simple.
- Website content – this is now where it gets a bit tricky; content is everything, and everything is content. This is indeed a time consuming process, and for any online marketing practitioner, time is essentially what they sell. Your website is as individual as your business, and therefore a specific style of content may be required, and a competent SEO practitioner will be able to assist you in deciding on the right type and style of your web content. Not only is it easy for you to identify poorly constructed content, as you browse websites, search engines can also identify poor content.
- The first is on-page optimization, this is really the housekeeping of your site, and will include how: you name pages, you name your images, the use of key words, and the relevancy of your content. All of these processes are designed to get the page to rank well on search engines for a particular subject.
- The second, and more difficult is off-page optimization, this is the process of getting other sites to link to yours, search engines regard the number of in-bound links an important measure of the status of your website.
In short, this is the job of advertising your website to encourage visitors to visit, and dwell on your site. This requires another complex set of communication processes, and it is about now that you may have heard the term – organic search ranking. Organic ranking is where a website ranks in search engine results, without the need for sponsored links. This is achieved when a number of website characteristics convince search engines that the website as the most relevant content for a specific topic or subject search. Organic ranking is by far the best, most definitive, and most sustainable form of website success. lets take a look at a few methods to achieve good ranking;
- Pay Per Click (PPC’s) – We’ve all seen the sponsored links which appear above and below the organically delivered search results.
- Social media links – This is a very important function, and one which search engines rank very highly. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the very powerful Youtube, are all examples of where you need to advertise your website and its content. Setting up these accounts is one thing, and is very easy, managing them is quite another thing, and is time consuming and requires considerable effort.
- Inbound links – search engines place value on websites that have a large number of links to your website that originate from other websites. This is a very difficult process and takes a considerable amount of time; we’re talking years, not days or months.
Internet nirvana is reached when a number of co-ordinated online activities synchronize, attracting visitor traffic to your domain.
It is essential for any business to dedicate specific resources to online marketing for your business, and by far the majority of businesses do not posses the requisite skill-set in house, and will need to outsource this process, to varying degrees.
How to find the right partner to assist with the online marketing for your business
Once again, this is not as difficult as you may think, and there are some fairly simple measurables, here are few;
- The acid test of an effective website is its ability to rank organically for a specific topic or subject search. We have a few examples;1. In our own business, Core Business Elements, we decided that we wanted to rank for the search term ‘business toolbox’; the result is that we went about building the site using on-page SEO techniques to achieve this, and currently rank 3rd on page 1. This is largely because those that rank above us, have an exact name domain.2. We wanted to rank highly for search engine optimization and so created an article to achieve this, and we titled it ‘the best seo content article’ and if your were to search for ‘SEO content article‘ you would find at position number 1 on a local search.3. Wilderness Explorer, one of our clients wanted to rank highly for a new and emerging travel trend, which is ‘experiential travel’, so we created content for this search term, and the page ranks at number two on page 1, below the Wikipedia definition on a search on google across all countries.
- Have a look at some examples of sites they have built, AND PREFERABLY ALSO MAINTAIN, remember that designing and building a website is a relatively easy process (save for the point about content), but it is equally important to keep your site updated, both on-page, and off-page. On-page refers to the updates that your application software will need to keep abreast of, and updated. It also refers to the need to keep updating your website content, as search engines place high value on new and fresh content. Off-page refers to the amount of traffic that the site is receiving. A complete website solution would include managing social media feeds for example, and here we would consider the number social media connections (likes and followers) as a measure of the success of business online marketing strategy. We’ll first take a look at some examples, again using Core Business Elements built sites;
Here are some examples of social media strength which some of our clients have achieved within 12 months.
DOMAIN Wilderness Explorer 5789 4390 Core Business Elements 5757 3657 Single Parent Adventures 9326 2840
- Earlier on we stressed the importance of content, and this is also a good indicator of the depth of skill that a partner should be able to easily demonstrate on request. Ask your potential service provider to submit a few examples of content, preferably highlighting different styles of writing, this will become a very valuable skill as you build the content of your site. Most website developers outsource the content writing to content writers, also known as ghost writers.
Online marketing for your business is an extremely valuable and important business process, and should be treated with great care and attention, for best results. Understandably, the process is riddled with buzz words and acronyms, and these are fairly easy to navigate when you get started. The need for a comprehensive online marketing strategy can never be over emphasized, and this should be used to dictate and co-ordinate all your online work flows. Thoroughly research your prospective partners, the right one will be invaluable in assisting your business as you develop a plan for the online marketing for your business.
Here are a few related articles, which will provide greater detail into some the areas we covered.