July 3, 2018 ajarcommunications

5 Components of a Winning Online Marketing Strategy for 2018

Valuable tips for small and mid-size companies to boost website visits by advertising on the web

Look around, everyone is on the web these days, right? If you want to market to people, you have to get your brand and message where their eyes are “looking”. And everyone is looking at their phone. Put your brand in the palm of their hands.

But, with such a vast “ocean” of information out there, how can you be sure to make a splash and get noticed? This is a complex and difficult task, especially if you are a business owner with serious day-to-day concerns.

Let’s face it, everyone and their brother has a website. That alone is not going to help you stand out in the crowd. Even posting to Facebook might not ensure your content reaches your direct contacts, not without paying to promote your posts.

All Is not lost. The good news is, you don’t have to get your business message in front of everyone to succeed. You just need to reach the people who could potentially be your customers – now and in the future.

Today’s internet technology allows us to target specific demographics of people, living and working within specific geographic regions – Thus, allowing businesses to hone in and target niche audiences among internet users.

Here are a few points to consider for more effective online marketing in 2018:

1. Claim your spot – Update your business profile.

It may sound simple, but make sure your business location and details are correct and up-to-date. Google places, Yelp, and other business directories offer visibility when local web users search for products and services. But nothing will make a prospect move on to the next listing faster than inaccurate business listings. If I search for your business and Google returns a listing with a photo of an abandoned lot linked to your address, I’m moving on.

This year, make sure all of your business details are synched up – So if they find you, they’ll “get you”. Web surfers should easily find your logo and relevant photos that tell them immediately that they’ve found the right place.

2. Great online reviews – Get active on social media.

Many times, once a web user finds you, the first thing they want to know is – “what do others say about the service”. This speaks to the importance of having “social proof” that a product or service is worth the money. Depending on the type of business you run, it may be a great benefit to have a Facebook page. This gives you an outlet to interact with customers and let them share their experiences among their social circles – think “word-of-mouth” marketing.

This year it would be a killer idea to start an online “review program”. Get in the habit of asking happy customers and repeat customers to take a moment and say what they liked best about the experience. This can be done by a verbal request as well as by using email reminders to prompt them for a review. Note: It’s a good idea to set up a system that let’s you approve a review before it goes live on the web. This will help you have higher percentage of positive reviews, while addressing customers personally who expressed “not-so-positive” feedback, to hopefully resolve the issue before it becomes a blemish on your business record.

3. Facebook advertising – Raise brand awareness.

Unfortunately, the age of using “free” postings to boost your business’ Facebook presence was short lived. However, by paying to promote postings, or better yet, using paid advertising techniques, you can target specific groups of people – and get your message in front of the right eyes.

Much like pay-per-click advertising can be used to improve Google results and traffic from other search engines, Facebook allows for specific ads to be promoted to users who fit certain criteria. Your ad budget will ensure your marketing content gets put into more newsfeeds. This is like the social media answer to TV advertisements. Use Facebook to get in front of more people in your target market.

4. Video Marketing on YouTube – Show Your Commercial Before Related Content

Simply put, video content is the best way to communicate ideas to web users. Thanks to the internet, we are now conditioned to just “push play”. Effective video combines images and words to communicate a message. Video content has consistently proven to be the most engaging material on the web. That means web users are more likely to watch a video for information as opposed to reading website text.

In recent years, YouTube viewing has surpassed viewership of all TV channels combined. People turn to YouTube for entertainment, but they also use it as a search engine and a research tool. Let’s imagine you’re a local plumber and somebody in nearby town jumps on YouTube and searches for a “how to video” for unclogging a drain. If your business video is set to play as an advertisement before the “how to” video, there’s a better chance to be “front of mind” when that web user decides they need professional help.

Now think about what type of video content will be of interest to your ideal “customer”.

5. Coordinate Your Advertising Efforts – Develop a Strategy for Attracting New Business

In today’s online marketplace, failing to plan can be recipe for planning to fail. We recommend our clients organize all of their online marketing material to create a lead generating “sales funnel”. This involves creating a variety ads, text and video and shaping it into a cohesive advertising campaign.

Take a moment to think about your own search “habits” when you look for a new product or service. You probably rely on one of two techniques. Either you have a friend or family member that refers you to a business they’ve used, or you search around the web and gather pieces of information that lead you to deciding on a provider. This is why you want a variety of material that markets to different types of people. Some of this material is brief, and raises brand awareness. Other material might show details of the product or service to help viewers understand the quality of your work, or educate buyers about the value proposition you offer over the competition. The most successful brands have 30 second videos, 90 second videos, even 10 and 30-minute videos depending on the topic and message being discussed. They use text ads, pay-per-click marketing campaigns and/or Facebook advertising. And the list goes on.

Note: The best brands also have internal marketing departments and staff to handle promotions across all platforms. This year, get your marketing tasks and goals organized. If you are overwhelmed in other key areas of your business, you may want to consider outsourcing the marketing work to a vendor who can stay on top of all these moving parts for you.