3 weeks ago I ran a contest asking for great idea’s to help me get my blog onto 12most.com, a website that has taken over my brain. I’m on a mission to have my blog published there. Why? Who knows; I love the concept and the creativity, and the writers are top notch. And I got some great responses, although it was hard, wasn’t it, coming up with topics that weren’t just 12, but 12 MOST….that tripped most people up. I also promised that the winner of my little contest , should it get me accepted into 12most.com would win either a multi page, in depth website analysis, or if the winner could care less about the optimization of their website or a website at all, a 30 minute marketing consultation on the subject of their choice. I’m going with the suggestion of Jack Reilly. Owner of nothing other than a nice wardrobe and cool condo, Jack is in sales at a start up new media company in Philadelphia. So I don’t know if he needs my services at all, but heck, we can skype about the Eagles. Or cream cheese. He had a great suggestion, and I chose it because the subject is relevant and useful for all those lost in Traditional Marketing Land, and unsure of what your next steps should be so as not to flush your hard earned advertising and marketing budget down the drain. 12 Most Important Things To Know When Creating An Online Marketing Strategy. I had to fill in all the blanks. They’re juicy. Here goes:
- Content is king. Your website might be fabulous. Expensive. Lots of bells and whistles. 46 pages, optimized up the yin yang, equipped with drop down widgets and music and luscious to look at, but if the content isn’t stimulating and a draw, it will be a bust. Glug, glug, glug…
- You don’t have to recreate the wheel. Pointing visitors to interesting blogs, citing marketing experts and inviting guest bloggers to post on your website will round out your marketing and add richness to your offerings.
- Integration and multiple strategies are key. Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket and expect your business to sky rocket. Google Adwords is just 1 small piece of your overall plan.
- Always be changing it up and adding new content to your website. New offers, specials, free info, events, a new blog entry, etc…The search engine crawlers, (especially Google) are always looking for new, relevant and fresh content.
- Your blog is oh so much more important than you may think. Not only is it a constant stream of new and fresh content into your website, which is good SEO, but it’s also establishing you as an expert in your field . And once folks are in the site they will be blown away by all the wonderful and alluring services you offer, some free, some too good to pass up and some very easy ways to get involved in some way shape or form with you and your services. ‘Nough said.
- Don’t let the above scare you! You don’t necessarily need to be a great writer, although good writing skills certainly will make a difference. But ve have vays around that: As noted in #2, take advantage of all the great knowledge out there-and there is a LOT of great knowledge out there! Invite them into your blog to guest blog-people jump at that opportunity as it opens up new markets for them as well, and they can backlink to their site. Always, cite the authors however and offer that backlink. Or you can always hire great writers.
- Keep a marketing calendar and stick to it. Folks learn to anticipate your offerings and this is a good thing. Consistency is key. Your blog should always be in their inboxes /posted on your site or someone else’s/in the online newspaper on x day, your newsletter on y day of the week, your Facebook entries on z day. Encourage anticipation.
- Make sure your marketing is opt-in and permission based, not interruptive. The days of buying a mailing list and blasting out spammy emails are over, do you hear me? O-V-E-R. can you spell delete? Yes, it may take longer to build that base, but trust me, in the long run it is worth it because the quality of your leads will now be authentic, interested potential buyers, rather than disgruntled and annoyed deleter’s. They are there because they WANT to be there. I got that from Seth Godin (God)
- Put forth information and campaigns your target market wants and is asking for, not what you think they want. Take the time to do the market research and find out what their pain points are and then market and address those pain points. Relationship building, relationship marketing; it’s right up there with permission marketing.
- Good, old fashioned referrals are still the best way to market your services and products. A good word goes far, so don’t be afraid to ask for them in various ways, ie: place a simple “ I’d be so grateful if you would forward this to a friend” at the bottom of your blog email. Ask influencers to share your content. 9 times out of 10 they will be happy to.
- Make use of all the social media networks and sharing sites out there to help promote your offers, blogs and educational marketing tidbits. This is how you will build markets outside of your own. Linked In groups are great for this.
- Finally, remember that all online marketing, all marketing for that matter, is a process, and often a long one. Nothing in the marketing world happens overnight, as it takes time and consistent effort for a brand, a voice, and credibility, to sink in. You’ve heard of the 7 touches. It’s true, and I see it in my work as well. I don’t even sign with companies or doctors wanting less than a 6 month commitment these days. Trial and error still abounds, but with tools like Google Analytics, we can now have a better handle on what is working and what isn’t., over a period of months.
So we analyze and we tweak, and eventually, we succeed at a tremendous cost savings and efficacy compared to traditional marketing costs. Know your customers and their needs and focus not only your marketing but your services towards that end. If your efforts have been focused correctly you’ll soon see lead generation converting to sales, slowly and steadily winning the race.