Online marketing is sort of like dating…online.  It’s easiest to find someone to date when you have lots of options to choose from, which means you need lots of traffic or visitors on your website.  To start you digitally network with potential prospects, though search engines, advertising and sometimes social media then ask them to coffee (a.k.a. visit your site).  While drinking your latte you turn on your monster charm to woo them into a mutually beneficial relationship (like buying something from you that makes their life better).  Think of the 7 key components of online marketing like your online dating tools to generate website traffic and start developing relationships with visitors:

7 Key Components of Every Online Marketing Plan - Strategic Plan Components

1. Website

Consider your website your online marketing home.  You own this home and have complete control over your guests website visiting experience. You want readers to enjoy their visit and feel good about your business when they leave. A positive user experience adheres to the following guidelines:

  1. Professional, clean, easy to navigate – Make it easy for your viewers to access and move around your website.
  2. Contains calls-to-actions – Give your readers direction about what to look at next, other information that may interest them and options to download, purchase or receive more information.
  3. Works on all browsers AND phones – If your website only functions in Internet Explorer you’ve neglected all of your potential customers trying to access your site using Firefox. With evolving technology, be willing to accommodate the experience all users who want to access your website.
  4. Incorporates keywords – This will make your information show up easier in search engines. Use appropriate keywords to better your chances of your blog or website showing up during a viewer’s search for information.
  5. Has a reliable tracking system – This will help your business understand how well your website is performing. Without a tracking system, how does your business know if they need to make changes to their website? Try Google Analytics or Hubspot to meet all of your tracking goals.

2. Blog

Adding a blog to your website allows you to expand your sphere of influence.  If your website only has 5 pages optimized for 5 key phrases you only have 5 opportunities to generate traffic (and remember traffic = relationships).  If you have 100 pages optimized for 100 key phrases you have 100 opportunities to generate traffic.  From a sales perspective you’re much more likely to close the deal with a list of 100 prospects than a list of 5.  So blogging gives you the opportunity to gain a larger audience.

  • Include your blog as part of your website. Blogging is like vitamins for your website, you want all those good nutrients boosting your main sales website not a separate blog site.
  • Don’t be afraid to publicize what your blog has to offer. Tell people about your content by sending out emails or sharing links on social media sites.
  • Share timely, relevant information with your blog visitors. This give them a reason to visit your blog often.
  • Make your blog articles easy to share. Place Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. buttons on the blog pages to encourage readers to link their friends and followers to your site.
  • Include a CTA (Call to Action) on each article page. CTA’s are like pretty public service announcements telling visitors about other areas of the site they may be interested in, inviting them to follow you on social media, join your email list or download a related offering.  People don’t generally show up for dinner uninvited, they probably won’t join your email list unless you ask them to either.
  • Allow readers to subscribe to your blog via email or rss feed. Give your audience full access to your blog and send them notifications of new posts if they are interested.  But don’t just sign up every person you meet.  Invite them to join your email list, you want good interactive, engaged email recipients, not just a list of deadbeats who delete your emails as soon as they arrive in their inbox.

If maintaining a blog of your own seems like too much of a time commitment for you consider borrowing another blogs audience and engaging in guest blogging.  Although the viewers of your posts won’t be seeing them within the controlled shell of your website they will be seeing your name and pros in an environment they already trust.

Impact of Website Content on Inbound Traffic

Publishing new posts not only adds more content to your website, it also increases the ability to attract traffic to your site as well.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing acts like an alarm clock, reminding people to wake up and pay attention to your business.  It can keep in touch with existing clients, notify recipients about sales, industry news or even just say, “Happy Holidays”.  Consider promoting offerings and events via email marketing as well driving invitees to your website to sign up. The style of your emails should be consistent with your branding.  You can build rapport by being consistent and timely with your delivery, to show your audience how dependable your company truly is.

Email marketing doesn’t have to be just to your list.  Consider piggybacking on the list of another company or organization (WITH PERMISSION) by placing advertisements or adding value to their email newsletter through content.  This can open doors by associating you with another company the audience already trusts generating an unobtrusive soft referral.

4. Offerings

Downloading an offering often marks the beginning of a relationship with a website visitor.  Offerings should be original and downloadable or generated online. A quailty offering provides answer to the questions your audience needs most. They can be in many forms but one thing they are not is a SALES BROCHURE.  Leave the sales out of the body of the offering, conversing as an industry expert, at the end of the offering add a CTA to get in touch for a sales conversation if appropriate.  Be sure to promote your offerings using CTA’s that direct visitors to an offering landing page. A successful landing page will include:  a photo of the offering, a clear description of the offer, a lead form that allows you to track submissions and links to a thank you page, and no navigation (you want to keep visitors on the page and downloading, no distractions allowed).

An offering could include: e-books, webinars, how-to guides and templates.

5. Social Media

According to the Pew Internet Research Network, 74% of online adults use some form of social media. Your business needs to be where your clients and prospects are engaging most. You don’t need to do them all, pick one or two social media platforms that make sense for your business and excel!

Once you have figured out which social media platforms to post to, it’s important to consistently and regularly update your platform. Create a social media calendar and/or utilize integrated software such as HubSpot or Hootsuite to manage your social media postings.

Regardless of your chosen social media platform focus on speaking to and with your audience. Respond to their questions or concerns within a timely fashion and in an appropriate manner. Share information that is important to your viewers and direct them to your website/blog when you can.

6. Integration Software

Examples of integrated software

Listed above are just a few of the many integrated software websites available for consumers.

Integrated software, such as HubSpot or Hootsuite, can allow your business to:

  •  Schedule and create emails
  •  Schedule and create social media posts
  •  Create calls-to-action
  •  Create landing pages
  •  Create new blog posts
  •  Track leads
  •  Monitor social media engagement and blog views by providing you with tracked data

This type of service can be free or subscription based and saves your business time and money by allowing you to post to mulitple platforms at once, schedule posts, emails and more for the future so you can free up more time for day to day activities.  They often include advanced tracking features as well to gauge your effectiveness and tweak for better results.  For some services, all you need to get started is a valid email address to get started.

7. Advertisements

Advertising is a great component to talk to new and existing customers in their web environment of choice. Two types of advertisements commonly found on search engines are search ads and display ads. Search ads are placed next to or above relevant search engine results. Display ads are placed on the search engine’s sidebars or at the bottom of the page. This type of ad can also be seen as a pop-up or pop-under advertisement as well.

Social media advertisements are an ever growing way to connect with your audience as well.  Using social media you can target your ads to display based on demographics, interests, location or an existing email list.  Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all offer advertising solutions and can be a great way to get your name in front of those you want to see you most.

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

© MayeCreate Design 2017 | 573-447-1836 | info@mayecreate.com | 700 Cherry St. Suite C, Columbia, MO 65201

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