This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with tips for online marketing.
There’s a difference between starting an online business and marketing it. When you build a business from the bottom up, one of the main things you need to consider is how to sell the product. After all, the best-sold products aren’t necessarily the best products available. They are the best-marketed products.
Take Coca-Cola as an example. It was first marketed as a “drink of temperance,” a beverage that was marketed as medicinal. Soda pop was medicine?! If you saw Coca-Cola being marketed as a medicine to your ailments in 2020, you’d probably laugh. 125 years ago though, people ate it right up and started purchasing their coca-cola for headaches. It’s evolved over the years and continued to be one of the best selling beverages on the market.
Marketing is an art influenced by stats and science, and you need a strategy, which is discussed at length in this earlier blog. Also, you need to understand the value of shifting your marketing strategy as times change and evolve.
If you’ve been using the same marketing strategy for years or even decades, it’s time to delve into what is working and identify where you need to make changes.
Online Marketing Tips
Identify places you need to improve your marketing
First and foremost, you need stats to know where your marketing dollars pay off, and where they fall flat.
If you have a traditional website, you should be able to identify how many visitors you have on a given day, week, or month. Additionally, if your customer is redeeming coupons or vouchers, you should be tracking those in an excel spreadsheet and see how directly those coupons are working. If you’re using something like Groupon, are those customers becoming repeat customers? If not, this may not be a useful marketing tool for you.
Change it up
If you’ve been doing direct mailers for the past decade and haven’t seen any increased business, consider focusing on online options. This can vary from redoing your website entirely to implementing ads on google searches. Are you trying to monetize a lifestyle blog? See what options are available for social media marketing and advertising. Facebook and Instagram are both excellent places to look into relatively inexpensive marketing and offer straight-forward insights into how well your ad does.
If online marketing is not your forte, consider reaching out to marketing gurus that can help in various ways, from setting you up with an appropriate web design option to helping you understand how to decipher any Google Adsense analytics which can seem daunting at first glance.
Spend money to make money
You’ve heard it before: you have to spend money to make money. That’s no more true than in marketing. Ads aren’t free, but the best marketing is word-of-mouth. Consider incentivizing customers to share their experience with others by offering discounts via referral programs, or by implementing frequent-shopper rewards. The best customer is a return customer!
Make A Stand Out Website
It’s vital that you take the time to build a stand-out website that can attract a healthy stream of visitors each day, especially in today’s modern market where so much commerce is being done online. Successful websites are a combination of both beautiful aesthetics and functional SEO tools, as you need to have a stylish and attractive site that has the right algorithms in place to promote itself far and wide. Minimalism is generally the best design option to explore for a business website, as the focus should be more on your features and the content that you post rather than excessive colors and clashing patterns. Your website should offer a virtual reflection of your business, so you can use it to sell yourself and all of your products and services in the most promotional manner possible!
Once you’ve built a sleek website that visitors will enjoy browsing through, you can start to create content. This content is such an important aspect of your online marketing strategy, as you need to use small business SEO tools to catapult your pages onto the screens of users around the world. Content without features like backlinks and keywords is essentially useless, as you need to make an effort to include SEO methods to authenticate your website and show up in as many search engine results pages as you can. Don’t worry if you don’t understand SEO, as there are lots of experienced professionals who can help you push your website far and wide.
Finally, have patience. Marketing can be a fickle creature, but give it time to work its magic. As much as you might want it to be, a change in advertising won’t make a difference overnight. If after several months you’re not seeing any increase to your business, touch base with your marketing team to see where you can switch things up. Again, don’t be afraid to make changes to better your business.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.