The headline for this post is “Online Marketing Strategies You Should Be Using in 2016” but that is because “Online Strategies You Should Have Been Using in 2015, but It’s Not Too Late to Start for 2016” was way too long. No new technological breakthroughs revealed here. But its time to revisit what worked for you in 2015 and how you can improve and do more with your marketing to grow your business.
5 Online Marketing Strategies you need to Add or Improve This Year
Content marketing focuses on creating, distributing, and promoting relevant quality content to attract and retain your targeted audience with the goal of driving profitable action from customers and prospects. Basically, giving customers the content they are looking for so that when they choose to buy, they buy from you.
Here are two great things about content marketing:
- You can keep top of mind with your customers without pushing the hard-sell all the time.
- It creates keyword rich and index-able content for search engines to give people on their search engine results pages.
Sharing educational, interesting and industry-specific information keeps your audience engaged. Finding the right balance between informing (or entertaining) your audience and pushing your own services or product might be a difficult to pinpoint but just remember that less is more. The 80/20 rule will help you create an effective balance of 80% helpful to the customer and 20% promotional for your business.
If customers feel they are getting relevant, timely and quality content, they will easily tolerate the occasional plug for your products or services. Then when time comes to make a buying decision your business will be right there in the front of their mind as the best choice.
Content Marketing Institute (contentmarketinginstitute.com) has a content marketing beginner’s guide that has about a dozen articles that will help you master content marketing quickly.
Almost everyone is searching online to research and make purchases – research says over 95%. What customers can find about you online makes up your online reputation. You control a lot of your online reputation by what you create and post online, but customers have a lot of power in shaping how your business is perceived online with the ability to post (anonymously even) reviews, comments and complaints on review sites, social media, and complaint sites.
Managing your online reputation isn’t something you can get around to later. Creating and maintaining a stellar online reputation that attracts new customers using your positive reviews is called Reputation Marketing. With 90% of consumers saying their buying decisions are impacted by positive reviews, there is an obvious need for your business to actively collect reviews, get them posted where your customers look for products and services, and monitor what is showing up online. Automate this process with reputation marketing services, and you’ll have a system that creates conversions with little work from you.
SEM or Search Engine Marketing
Often confused for one another or combined, traditionally SEM and SEO are not really the same thing. There are some blurred lines here, but search engine marketing usually pertains to paid search activity such as ads (think Google AdWords) and search engine optimization refers to on-page and off-page activities targeted at organically ranking high in search engine results.
When talking SEM and paid search advertising, you’ll hear these Paid Search Terms:
- PPC – Pay Per Click or Pay Per Call
- CPC – Cost Per Click
- CPM – Cost Per Thousand Impressions
KissMetrics.com has a very indepth and informative tutorial on setting up a AdWords campaign that helps it all make sense.
I know… we talk about SEO a lot and how it’s a free or low cost way to get your business ranking high on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) so customers can easily find you. But don’t forget that paid ads have prominent placement on that first page of SERPs as well. If you have the budget to get your business links in this prime real estate, in front of a targeted audience using your selected keywords, you should look to add SEM to your marketing plan immediately.
Finding the exact information you are looking for online is pretty fast and simply nowadays with how powerful and intuitive search engines have become. But do you know what is even faster and easier than reading an article or blog post from your search results? Watching a video that gives you the information you are looking for.
Even thousands of videos are posted on YouTube every minute, it is still a less crowded than the article based information that has clogged up the internet. And with video results showing up in search results you will have way less competition for your long tail and location based keywords since many local competitors are not doing videos. Plus, social media loves videos and what better content to post than your own videos.
Creating videos can be fast and simple so don’t over-complicate things. Create short tutorials, turn your blog posts into videos, create a video blog that answers frequently asked questions, have customers record testimonials, or simply show customers your store, clinic, warehouse or facilities and the amazing people that work there.
Get More Social (To Engage, Not to Sell)
You’ve probably upped your social media game, and probably didn’t see the ROI you were hoping for. But if your social media efforts came up short, you might be using the wrong measuring stick. Making an actual sale on social media websites is a pretty tough thing to accomplish so what you really need to concentrate on is building relationships and creating the social signals that customers are looking for when they decide who to buy from.
Customers want to be heard and they also want to know what’s going on with the companies they do business with. Social media gives you the opportunity to have these interactions and develop stronger relationships with your customers while enticing prospects to connect with you online.
Don’t know what business information is showing when search engines and customers are looking at your business online? Use a free tool like the Local Score grader below that will search the most important business listings and customer review sites to let you know where your business’s online presence is shining bright and where you can implement a plan for improvements in 2016.
What’s Your Local Score?
Enter any business name and zip code and see how you show up on directories.
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