To be successful on the internet is not rocket science. There are no real tricks. It’s all about marketing. Below you will find an online marketing strategy that I recommend you follow from a business perspective. Forget talking about SEO or SEM or “you have to be number #1 for a keyword” or “PPC is the way to go”. Approach this like a business person.
Selecting a provider:
Select a provider that can show you current results and that you can connect with, see how they market themselves online.
Then set your goals and a target ROI. If your request is reasonable and you understand that it takes money to make money you are on the right track.
PROMOTION… PROMOTION… PROMOTION…
If after your competitive analysis you can’t compete either in price, value, experience or quality with the other players online in your market don’t read any further and go back to your referrals or wholesale channels and use your website as a virtual brochure that you hand out when someone calls.
Setting a marketing budget:
CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or CPS (Cost Per sale) is the best way to set a marketing budget. What can I afford in advertising to generate one sale on average? Then multiply that by the number of sales that you want for a given month. TADA… Budget! This is typically between 5-10% of sales depending on how aggressive you want to be. Give your marketer a reasonable amount of time to meet your numbers typically a few months.
1. Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis will help you understand your position in the marketplace. It will help you to define who you are, why you are different and why a customer will choose you over the other guy. This is an important step in the process because it helps to identify strengths and enables the website designer to focus on the proper message with visuals and design.
2. Define Competitive Advantage
As the opportunity of sales decreases and the competition to attract customers becomes more difficult it is imperative that you know what makes you more attractive and be sure that your customers know it. This is an ongoing process of understanding your customers and the completion. Providing this information to your website designer will help them to evaluate these differences.
3. Branding /Domain Selection
To decide not to brand is to actually branding your company. This is not the recommended approach but it is an approach. Defining your mark, colors and content are all exercises in branding. The more time you spend here will define you better for the future but remember that your brand will evolve and all decision you make today will help you to determine your overall brand strategy.
4. Communication Strategy
Are you "Shock and aw" or are you "Straight to the point". How you communicate your business in a successful sales call is how you want to communicate your products/services online.
5. Keyword Analysis
Stop and think about it for a minute.. When you look for something.. What do you do? If you are thinking about upgrading your kitchen with granite countertops do you do a search for watermelons.. No. You search for granite countertops and sometimes you even add your values to that search like quality or sale or cheap or price. You add localization identifiers and specifics of the product or service in question. These words need to be placed in specific places on the website and in the code of the website and are key to increasing your exposure in organic search.
6. Content Development
Content is king and will always be king. Write content based on the products and services that you provide. Be clear and include words that relate to your business. If you target audience is college graduates write to high school level. We live in a snack food society so when creating your content keep is short and concise use lists and a clear priority of information. Don’t keyword stuff you pages… Make your pages human readable.
7. Call To Action
Just Have One on Every Page.. Please!
Tell your visitors to your website what to do.. Don't make them decide for themselves. They have never been to your website before. Be kind and direct them to the action you want them to take. Drive them through 3-5 pages and then ask for the sale.. and ask often. Clearly define the action..
8. WEBSITE DESIGN
Your site should reflect your values it should be easy to navigation and should quickly communicate the pages objectives in the first couple moments of looking at the page. If your headers and content that jumps of the page does not clearly express the purpose of the page.. the page is useless.
9. Online Marketing Strategy
Set a budget that makes sense for your business today. Track your return on your investment and be sure that you are maintaining your target return. Adjust your budget accordingly. Once you have this in place you should be able to control new business like a faucet, the more you spend the more sales you make, once the ROI is stabilized.
10. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Some have the perception that this does not work for them. For the most part all this really means is that it was done incorrectly or the wrong person was doing it for you. This is an extremely powerful tool for monitoring the success of a website. It is also very powerful way of generating traffic to your website. It also provides direction to supplement your spend with your Organic Strategy. See point 9
Once your site has been created start your link building strategy. Quality over quantity is the rule. Don’t short cut this as this is the most important part of gaining top placement BUT… everything listed prior need to be addressed first.
By working from a budget and not based on specific services provided you enable the marketer to build your brand using the best tools for your specific niche. For them to evaluate your market and see what is successful and to make adjustments to campaigns to ensure success. If you are not seeing results in the time frame you have set move on. Find another provider that can produce the results you desire. The key is to do your research first. Review the results that they claim, call on references that match up with the results that have been presented. If everything lines up you should be on the road to success.
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