ONLINE MARKETING INTRODUCTION Brought to by: Tzvi Tzidon
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow” Bill Gates
It’s undeniable that the internet has changed the way we live our lives. Not just in the way that almost any kind of information you can think of is now readily available at the click of a mouse, but also the way we communicate with each other, and the way we shop.
“Over 78% of the population of the USA uses the Internet”
Consumers are far more savvy than they could ever be before the advent of the internet. Nowadays, not only can we go online to buy things, but people are able to go online to research and find out about a product or service they’re interested in purchasing from a local business before they make any decisions.
“By 2015 it’s predicted that 30% of all searches on Google will be for something local”
People still rely heavily on word of mouth, but nowadays it’s facilitated by the internet via websites, online review sites and social media sites.
According to Google, the largest and most popular search engine, 30% of all searches will have local intent by 2015, which is why it’s more important now more than ever that your bricks and mortar business can be found online, when customers and prospects are searching.
Gone are the days when local consumers would pick up the Yellow Pages to find a business that could provide what they wanted. Most people go online, simply because it’s quicker and easier than leafing through a cumbersome publication. We have our desktop computers, laptops, iPads and tablets, not to mention internet capable mobile smart phones. Nowadays, if you’re looking for something, you “Google it” whether you’re at home, at work or out and about!
“97% of consumers use online services when researching a product or service”
While the world wide web is expanding rapidly, the sale of print media like newspapers are declining, making it harder for local businesses to see a return on investment from their traditional form of advertising.
Television advertising is generally very expensive, yet modern day viewing devices such as TiVo allow people to skip over the adverts that businesses are paying to air at peak times.
It’s no wonder it’s becoming much more difficult for businesses to attract new customers and make a profit amidst rising business expenses.
It therefore makes complete sense for businesses to market themselves where the vast majority of consumers are now looking – online. If a business wants to grow, prosper and get new customers, creating an online presence is not an option these days, it’s an absolute necessity.
If you’ve thought about online marketing before, but have avoided it because you don’t understand it, you don’t think it’s effective or worth the investment, we hope this report will clarify everything for you and allow you to recognize the benefits that online marketing can bring to your business.
What Is Online Marketing?
You’ve probably heard the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. This also applies to online marketing. There are many, many ways to market your business online, and the good news is they all work either independently, or in synergy with each other. However, you don’t have to try them all at once.
This report will outline some of the more popular online marketing methods you may want to try. Learn about each method, decide which one you feel you can implement the quickest, and then take action.
Once the first method is working for you, step things up by adding in another
method and so on. Build your online marketing campaign incrementally and your business can start heading in the right direction and seeing great results very quickly.
So let’s begin by exploring some of the techniques and strategies available and once you’ve decided which is right for you and your business, you’ll be able to implement solutions that will produce a steady stream of NEW and REPEAT local business without the need for expensive print adverts that just don’t produce the results they used to.
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about an online presence is a website. Consumers nowadays expect every business to have a website, and statistics show that consumers think businesses without a website are outdated and behind the times, and are less likely to buy from them.
“70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than adverts” Content Plus
Having a website is certainly a great way to showcase your products, or the services you offer, and a great way to get found online, but your website should be an investment which produces profits for your business, rather than being just another business expense.
It should be a 24/7 marketing tool that generates leads, results in sales and increases profits, even if you don’t actually sell anything online.
Put your website to work for your business by ensuring it incorporates the following elements:
A Professional Design and Layout
Your website is a digital shop front to your bricks and mortar business, and you should be treated accordingly. The appearance of your website is important in respect of how your business is perceived by potential customers. You wouldn’t have a shabby looking bricks and mortar premises and expect your business to prosper, so having a website which is designed with your target audience in mind is just as vital as the décor and signage you use for your physical premises.
The style and color scheme used for your website should be in line with that of your business branding, since it’s important to keep it consistent at all levels. This way, customers can immediately recognize your high street business from your website, and vice versa.
Don’t take shortcuts with your website design. A website doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but cheap will show, and you risk your website looking like an amateur made it. First impressions are important if you don’t want your hard earned visitors to hit the back button as soon as they land on your site.
Studies have shown that it can take a mere fraction of a second for a visitor to form an impression about your business from your website.
You never know which page of your website a visitor will land on, although most visitors will come directly to the Home Page. Wherever they land, the navigation should be simple enough for them to quickly locate the information they’re looking for or they will very quickly become frustrated and leave.
As previously mentioned, most visitors will land directly on your Home Page. This is your main welcome page and should give an immediate impression as to what your business is about.
Most people are looking for a solution to a problem, so your Home Page should clearly present the benefits of your business so the visitor gets the immediate impression they’ve come to the right place and will find the solution they’re looking for.
Other Website Content
As well as your Home Page, visitors expect to see an About Page where you can showcase your team, your background and your mission statement if you have one.
A Contact Page is important for visitors to be able to find your physical location, your telephone number and your email address. It makes it super easy for potential customers to contact you if you have an automated Contact Form they can simply complete and click submit. These pages are the minimum that your website should contain.
The content you include on your website is vital to its success. Whatever it’s format, it should always be informative, relevant and up to date.
There’s a saying in Online Marketing circles that “Content Is King”. This is because the content on your website will not only be read by your human visitors, but also by the search engine “spiders”. It’s their job to determine how relevant your website content is to the search terms people are using to find information. It’s therefore important to include your most relevant and profitable keywords within your content, so that your website will appear in front of your target audience in the search results.
Graphics and Images
The quality and size of the images and graphics included within your website can also determine its success to a degree.
The human eye is naturally drawn to images, and the right graphics can sometimes express more than just words can. A combination of both is an excellent content strategy because images also break up big tracts of text and make your website more pleasing to the eye.
“articles with images get 97% more views” Jeff Bullas
Make sure you don’t go overboard though and make your graphics a distraction rather than an attraction.
It’s important to keep the size of your images within certain limits or your website will load slowly, causing frustration to your visitors. Load times of websites are also taken into account by search engines and can affect your overall ranking, as can how your images are named when they’re uploaded to your site.
Lead Capture Form
They say it takes approximately seven “touches” with a potential customer before they’re ready to commit to doing business with you. So when a visitor arrives on your website, you need to ensure you are capturing their details to a list, so you can market to them directly in the future, rather than simply hoping they will bookmark your site to return to later.
A list of customers and prospects is a valuable business asset, and one of the easiest ways to build this asset is to include a lead capture system on your website, normally on the Home Page.
Offer your visitors a coupon, or useful information in the form of a free report they can access immediately after entering their name and email address into your form. This list will form the basis for your Email Marketing campaigns in the future and allow you to establish a relationship with your prospects and customers. Relationship marketing pays dividends and breeds trust and loyalty for your brand.
Call To Action
If you would like your visitor to do something when they visit your website, you need to give them a clear and precise call to action and make sure it’s easy for them to do what you’re asking.
For example, if you want prospects to call you, then make sure you have this call to action on the various pages of your website. Be definite. “Call Us Today at (your telephone number) is far more effective than “Call Us Today”.
The call to action should be in a prominent position, for example within your website’s header so it’s visible on every page of your site. This strategy is proven to greatly increase conversions.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing the chances of your business website, and other content on the internet, being highly positioned in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
Organic results are web pages that appear naturally, i.e. not as a paid advertisement, due to their relevance to the search being performed, the number of backlinks they enjoy, social signals etc. The exact algorithms used to determine the organic search results are a very closely guarded secret of course!
“Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to 1.7% from outbound marketing” Hubspot
As previously mentioned, when most people want to find something, they go online and “Google it”. Google has become so synonymous with the internet that the Oxford English Dictionary has now adopted it as a verb!
Because the majority of consumers today head straight to search engines like Google and Yahoo when it comes to finding products and services offered by local businesses, good search engine optimization vastly increases the chances of your website and other business content being seen by your target audience.
Even if the consumer doesn’t intend to purchase online, they will still search for information about a business, product or service prior to visiting the business in its physical location.
The most highly sought after position in the search engines would be #1 in Google, but to be on the first page of Google, preferably in the top ten, is what most people strive for when conducting an SEO campaign.
The higher your business appears in the search results, the more chance you have of making a sale. It’s a proven fact that most searchers, around 98% in fact, never go past page 1 of the results, and websites in the top ten positions get the majority of clicks.
Getting your business front and center of your target audience at the exact moment they’re looking for your type of product or service is 8.5 times more likely to result in a sale.
Keywords and Key Phrases
Search results are displayed according to how relevant the search engine believes the content to be to the search being performed. They do this by comparing the “keywords” or “key phrase” being searched for, and the “keywords” and “key phrases” which appear on the website or web page the content is on.
This is why it’s vital to know your target audience so you can include the various words and phrases they would use when looking for your particular type of product or service in all the content you put out on the internet.
Depending on how competitive the keywords for your business are, it can take several months to climb the organic rankings, but the results will be well worth it and can generate substantially more leads, customers and sales at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
If your business serves local customers, it’s vital that you take steps to ensure you appear in the Google Local search results. These are the entries in Google’s own free online business directory (which Google has taken from various sources) and are triggered when the searcher uses a key phrase combination of “city + keyword”. You may find your business in the local listings, even if you’ve done nothing yourself to make this happen.
If the local search algorithm is triggered, the results (known as a 7 pack) generally appear above the organic results, and just below the paid advertisements. See image below.
Google sees these results as more relevant when somebody is looking for something local to their current location, which Google determines from the IP address of the computer or other search device being used.
Not every local business search will trigger a 7 pack, which actually can make it little easier to get your website ranked using traditional SEO methods, rather than the methods necessary for local ranking.
Google takes account of the physical distance of each business from the downtown area of a town or city, and gives preference to those closest to the center, called “the centroid bias.” So for example if you are trying to rank for “Dallas plumber” then the business located closest to the downtown area will be given preference. There are determining factors of course, such as Directory listings and the number of reviews a business has.
Google now automatically incorporates local listings into it’s own Social Media site, Google+ (or Google Plus as it’s also known). However, it’s important that you go ahead and “claim” your listing so it can be optimized for the search results, and also to ensure your company and other relevant information is included and is actually correct.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media has become just as integral to modern day life as the internet itself and is something that business owners, both big and small, simply cannot afford to ignore.
Just as consumers expect a business to have a website of their own, they also expect a business to have a social media presence.
With a combined user base of more than 1.5 billion worldwide, Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are the three most popular sites.
“Almost a quarter of the world’s population will use social media in 2013”
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by social media, as some small business owners do, believing they don’t have the time for it, you should see social media for the many advantages it can bring. Social media allows you to:
- connect with prospects and customers where they are on a regular basis
- build relationships with your target audience so they come to know you, like you and trust you, and ultimately buy from you
- engage with your prospects and customers on a level you are not normally able to do so
- react almost instantly to questions, enquiries and issues raised by your target audience
- respond in real time, in a real way, as it’s available 24/7
- manage your online reputation
“Social media is used by 60% of businesses to distribute content”
A Brief Look At Facebook
Facebook has grown to more than 1.1 billion active users, meaning 1 in 9 of the world’s population has a Facebook account.
Because of the popularity of Facebook, businesses are realizing that they need to have an active Facebook presence, and it’s not unusual to hear “Like Us On Facebook” at the end of TV adverts, or to see the statement “Connect With Us On Facebook” incorporated into flyers and adverts in newspapers and magazines.
f your business does not at least have a Facebook Page, you’re missing out on a massive amount of potential business.
A Facebook Business Page will allow you to connect with your local customers on a regular and consistent basis. It acts like a mini-website where you can keep customers and prospects informed about your products and services, about special promotions, and where you can offer coupons and discounts.
A Brief Look At Google+
Google+ is Google’s own social media site and has grown rapidly into the second most popular social media site, pushing Twitter into third place. It took just 16 days to reach10 million users, making it the fastest site to do so. To put this rapid growth into perspective, it’s worth noting that Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days.
Google+ provides users with a personal profile, and the opportunity to create pages for their businesses.
Circles are how users organize their followers, and the people they are following, which makes it very easy to target content to some groups of people and not others.
A Brief Look At Twitter
Twitter is another social media network with a massive amount of members. It’s different to Facebook in that the messages you send out to your Followers must be kept to 160 characters maximum, and are called “Tweets”.
Even though these messages must be short, they are still super effective since they can include a link so people can read a longer message or article on a website.
If people like what you are Tweeting, they will “re-tweet” it to their followers, giving your message the chance to spread further and go viral.
We talked about a website for your business earlier on in this report, but nowadays more than ever, a mobile website is becoming another essential business marketing tool.
Why? Because more people are accessing the internet from a mobile device than they are from a desktop or laptop computer! This is probably because there are around 5 billion mobile subscribers across the world today, and approximately half of them are smart phones with internet capabilities. They’re always with us, within reach at all times, like a mini computer in our pockets wherever we go.
While most standard websites can be viewed on a mobile device, e.g. iPad, tablet or smart phone, most standard websites are designed just for desktop computers. This means when viewed on a mobile device, the visitor has to pinch and scroll, and they have to zoom in to be able to read anything or navigate around to find what they’re looking for.
Furthermore, most standard websites are slow to load on a mobile device, causing a great deal of frustration for the visitor, who is normally looking for a quick experience, especially when searching for local information.
If your website does not load properly or makes it difficult for people to find what they are looking for, you are potentially losing hundreds of customers.
A properly designed mobile friendly website is meant to be viewed on a mobile device and is designed so that the visitor can find what they are looking for quickly and easily without having to get out their magnifying glass!
Mobile websites have a thumb friendly menu system, and thumb friendly buttons and icons for navigation purposes. They should also have a “tap to call” button that automatically dials your business number when tapped.
The visitor should also be able to quickly and easily access directions to your premises where applicable, or email you through a mobile friendly contact form.
The mobile version of your site will automatically be shown to anybody who visits your web address while using a mobile device, such as an iPad or smart phone, so the visitor will see the most relevant style of website for the device they’re using.
People love watching videos, and they love to learn from videos too. Many people would rather spend a few minutes watching a video than reading a block of text.
Quite often, if there’s a video on Page 1 of Google’s search results, the person searching will click to watch the video, rather than visit a normal website, even though the video may be lower down in the search results.
With the availability of video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, it’s incredibly easy for a business to use video marketing as an effective way to promote their products and services.
YouTube is actually the world’s second largest search engine, and is owned by Google. It has it’s own internal search engine which viewers use to search for things they’re interested in, including local products and services.
As mentioned earlier in the report, the more content you have on the internet, in different places, the more exposure your business will receive and the more chance it has of being found by potential customers. Videos are just another form of content marketing, but videos have distinct advantages over other forms of content.
- Video allows you to get your most important information over to your target audience in very little time.
- Video helps to establish you and your business as experts in your market.
- Video engages website visitors and potential customers much more than just text, and is proven to increase conversions.
- Once a video is online, it is a 24/7 auto-pilot advertising and promotion machine, available no matter the time of day or night.
- Video can help set you apart from your competitors, especially if they are not using the power of video marketing.
- Videos help to establish relationships with customers and prospects, and have a high chance of being shared on social media sites, bringing even greater exposure for your business.
As you can see, video marketing is another form of online exposure that businesses cannot afford to ignore, and certainly don’t need to be Hollywood style productions to be effective.
Here are a few suggestions as to how to utilize online video for your business:
- Create a short video as a “Welcome” message for your website. Place it on the Home Page and it will allow you to introduce yourself, your team and your business to your website visitors, making them much more likely to spend time on your website looking around and getting to know you and your business better.
- As an alternative to the usual “Frequently Asked Questions” page on your website, create an “Interview Style” video where you are asked and answer the kind of questions that potential customers and prospects might ask about your business.
- You can create “How To” videos around your products or services showing customers how to get the most from what they buy from you, or suggesting uses they might not have thought of.
- Create “Educational” videos where you give away some information to your target audience for free. This is a great way of gaining trust and will increase
- Create a “Commercial style” video and upload it to your branded YouTube channel. This will allow you to sell your products or services online 24/7 and is much more cost effective than actual television advertising.
- Ask your current customers to create a video testimonial about your products or services, and how they use them. This will give your business important “social proof” and make it much more likely that others will purchase from you after seeing how satisfied your customers are.
At the beginning of this report we discussed how consumers go online to research products, services and local businesses before they make any buying decisions.
Consumers are keen to read online reviews and testimonials from existing customers so they can satisfy themselves they’re making the right choice, and they trust the opinions of their peers, family and friends far more than they trust radio, TV or newspaper advertising.
“97% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 47% of consumers trust TV, radio or newspaper adverts”
People are talking about your business online whether you like it or not, and it would be nice to think that only good things are being said, but unfortunately it’s unrealistic to think that’s really the case.
Unfortunately you can’t please all of the people all the time, and it only takes one disgruntled customer to post negative reviews about your business, and cause other people to decide not to do business with you, even though the negativity is unjustified.
It’s human nature for people to talk to their friends about any bad experiences they’ve had, or something they feel was less than satisfactory, before or even rather than expressing the same concerns to the business involved.
The first you might know about anything is when that information appears online and it’s almost too late to do something to rectify it.
It’s therefore vital that you monitor what your customers and prospects are saying about your business so you can lessen the impact of any negative comments before they affect your business, and you can highlight the good comments and reviews.
Good customer reviews and testimonials are extremely powerful in converting prospects into buyers, which is why you should encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review or give you a testimonial. This way you can help to ensure that others see the positive things people have to say about your business rather than seeing any negative comments that might have been made.
If you’re not sure what is being said about you online, simply do a Google search and see what comes up.
I hope you enjoyed this report and have learned how you can achieve more for your business through online marketing.
If you would like professional help implementing any of the methods you’ve read about or need any further information, please contact me at Toll Free (844)Geek-NYC (844)433-5692 to setup a free consultation.