6 Online Marketing Strategies to Catapult Your Business
So, you want to grow your business online. First, the good news, done right online marketing can deliver phenomenal results in a way that’s both sustainable and cost-effective.
Now, the bad news, online marketing is no walk in the park. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and unless you’re willing to put in a lot of time and a lot of effort, online marketing could drain all your resources without delivering any lasting results.
There are many online marketing strategies you can try. Not all of them will be suitable for your business. The strategies you choose to work with will depend on who you are, what you do and what you’re trying to achieve.
Here’s your essential guide to six of the most popular online marketing strategies out there. For each one, we’ll briefly explain what it is and what it’s best used for, before sharing some tips on how to get started.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves tailoring your site and your content to make it more likely that you’ll appear prominently in the results on search engines like Google and Bing.
SEO used to be all about ensuring that the right words appeared in the right places on your website, but it’s always been more complicated than that.
If you want to stand a chance of getting found in organic listings, there’s a huge array of onsite and offsite factors to get right. The good folks at Search Engine Land have put together this great periodic table of SEO success factors. It’ll give you a good idea of just how complex SEO can be.
Who is SEO for?
Really, all businesses could stand to benefit from a flexible SEO strategy. No matter what people are looking for online, whether they’re seeking a product or a service, their journey will almost always start with a search on a site like Google or Bing. It’s therefore in your best interests to rank prominently on these sites.
But beyond this, Google’s algorithm tends to favour sites that are easy to read, easy to navigate and that can demonstrably deliver a valuable user experience. So, if you invest in getting your site up to speed for the search engines, you’ll also be getting your site up to speed for any potential customers who might visit your site.
In this way, you might think of SEO as the essential core of any good online marketing strategy. A good SEO strategy can complement many other online marketing techniques.
Where to Start with SEO
Moz is widely-regarded as one of the leading lights of the SEO world. Their 10-part Beginners’ Guide to SEO is great place to start. It’s been read by over 3 million SEO cadets, and it provides “comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO.”
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – everyone’s on social media! But should your business be on social media?
Many businesses like to maintain a presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. They’ll share updates about their activities and maybe post photos and other information about their products and their services. And this is good! But if you want to get any results from social media, you need to think strategically.
On many social media platforms it’s possible to pay to advertise. From using Pinterest to generate an 11x increase in sales, to using Facebook to achieve a hugely diverse range of business goals, there are hundreds of paid social media success stories out there.
But even if you don’t want to pay, it’s still possible to use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to gradually build up your community, which can help to increase your brand awareness while driving more traffic to your site.
Who is Social Media For?
We can’t recommend social media wholesale like we did with SEO. While almost all businesses try to maintain social media channels, not all businesses are primed to find success on every social media platform.
Take a look at the latest demographic information for Instagram. You’ll see that it’s mainly used by women aged 18-34, many of whom express an interest in fashion and design. So if your business sells stylish shoes, smashing! With the right strategy you’ll probably find success on Instagram. But if you service air conditioning units, you don’t stand a chance.
And yes, you might be able to find some success selling your air conditioning-servicing on another platform, like Twitter or LinkedIn, but building up your presence and influence on any social media site can literally be a full-time job. And even then, there’s no guarantee of success.
Where to Start with Social Media
Get ready to do some research. For every platform, find out as much as you can about the demographics, about the tools they provide to businesses and about the sort of businesses that have found success.
There’s also this resource guide to getting started with social media, helpfully compiled by the kind explorers at Social Media Examiner.
Right! Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. We’re the PPC Geeks and we’re about to dive into the wonderful world of PPC!
PPC stands for pay per click. This is a form of advertising where you only ever pay when people actually click on your adverts. So, play your cards right and you’ll only pay when your ads actually do what they’re supposed to – attract enough attention and kindle enough interest that your potential customers feel compelled to engage. In this way, PPC can be one of the most cost-effective forms of all online marketing.
Search ads are probably what most people think of when they hear the words “PPC”. They’re the ads that appear at the top of, or to the side of, the search results of platforms like Google and Bing. Search ads function like an auction – essentially, you bid on certain keywords to determine where your ad will appear in search rankings and how much you’ll pay for each click.
With a good SEO strategy it can take months, or even years, to get your site to the coveted top spot of the Google listings. With search ads, all you need is a carefully-managed budget, a good ad and a good keyword-bidding strategy, and you can get to the top of the Google results within days.
Who are Search Ads For?
With search ads, it’s possible to get some good results in a short space of time and with a comparatively small upfront investment. Search ads are therefore good for smaller to mid-size businesses with tight budgets.
Even if you’re completely new to the world of online marketing, with search ads you can quickly catch up with even your most established competitors. But as PPC is easy to scale, your search ad campaign can grow in line with your business.
So, in short: search ads are good for almost all businesses. They can be used to achieve a huge variety of business goals. So, whether you’re looking to increase sales or boost brand awareness, search ads can help you get there.
But that said, some businesses will find it harder than others to find success with search ads. If you’re in a particularly competitive industry, or if you’re selling a particularly popular product or service, you may have to pay a lot more than a business operating in a less glamorous sector.
We outlined some of the major benefits of search ads (and the broader world of PPC) in this post, which also provides a bit more information about the pros and cons of SEO.
Where to Start with Search Ads
Hello, we’re the PPC Geeks!
We live and breathe this stuff. We offer free audits to any business looking to get started with search ads or any other form of PPC advertising. It’ll show you what you need to do to make your business ready to start benefiting from search ads. We can then manage your ads for you, so you can rest assured that you’ll always get the best possible results.
Here’s another branch of that fruitful PPC tree. Whereas search ads let you place ads in Google search results, with display ads you can advertise on sites that have signed up to the Google Display Network.
You know those banners you sometimes see when browsing your favourite sites? They’re display ads. The major benefit of display ads over search ads is that they’re a lot more diverse. They can make use of flashy images, or gifs, or even videos, so it’s possible to create something that’s truly outstanding.
Almost any site can sign up to be part of the Google Display Network. Millions of sites covering millions of subjects have signed up, and Google does its best to match the right ads to the right sites. So, while you don’t have nearly as much control over targeting as you do with search ads, you can still be reasonably sure that your display ads will get seen by potential customers.
Who are Display Ads For?
As you’ve less control over your targeting, it’s hard to recommend display ads to all businesses. They’re great for visibility and brand awareness, but smaller businesses with tighter budgets might be put off by the risk that they’ll see no real return from their display ads.
Also, for display ads to really stand out, they need to look good. If your business can afford a professional graphic designer, or if you’re able to code something snazzy, then you might be able to craft the sort of fantastic display ads that simply demand attention. But if not, a dull or underwhelming display ad could do more harm than good.
Where to Start with Display Ads
Did we mention that we’re the PPC Geeks?
Remarketing is an advanced PPC technique. It essentially involves advertising to people who have already visited your site.
Remarketing can also be used with display ads. Again, say someone visits your site without buying anything. With remarketing, you can set it so that they’ll see adverts for your products or services on subsequent sites that they visit.
In both cases, you can tailor your ads to make a purchase more likely. Maybe you can offer a discount on those shoes they were eyeing, for instance?
Studies show that over 80% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. Remarketing simply lets you target your potential customers at multiple stages of the buying cycle.
Who is Remarketing for?
As we said, remarketing is an advanced PPC technique. If your business is completely new to the PPC world, it might be best if you spend some time getting to grips with the more elementary strategies and techniques before you start to experiment with remarketing.
Also, a successful remarketing campaign can take time. If you’re looking for a quick-win, this one isn’t for you. But if you’re looking to take your PPC to the next level, remarketing could soon be your new best friend.
Where to Start with Remarketing
Sorry if we’re starting to sound like a broken record here. But hello again, we’re the PPC Geeks!
Yes, our free audits can also help you to get started with remarketing as part of a broader PPC strategy.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) involves fine-tuning your site to make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to buy from you.
Whereas every other strategy we’ve looked at in this post has looked at getting traffic to your site, CRO is all about what happens once this traffic reaches your site. It’s about removing all obstacles that stand between your customers and your sales.
You need to streamline the sales process, making it possible for visitors to buy from you in as few clicks as possible. It’s about making use of colour, psychology and other design elements to ensure that there’s nothing on your site that might be putting off potential buyers.
CRO can be a long process involving lots of testing and lots of trial and error. It’s the sort of job that’s never really done. There’ll always be something else to test or some other aspect of your site you could fine-tune to help boost conversions.
Who is CRO for?
Again, all businesses could stand to benefit from CRO. There are few downsides to streamlining your site to make conversions more likely. And building your site to be as responsive and appealing as possible will also help make your SEO, social media and PPC campaigns a lot more effective.
Think of CRO as the last piece in the puzzle. It’s all very well driving traffic to your site, but if your site isn’t set up for swift and efficient sales, and if there are elements of your experience that are actively repelling potential customers, you might as well have not bothered.
But that said, CRO is complex and very time-consuming. Not all businesses have the resources to do it properly. Also, CRO principles are only really relevant if you’re running an ecommerce site, or if you’re gathering enquiries. If your business site exists to share information or advice, your priority should be on clear communication rather than streamlined conversion rates.
Where to Start with CRO
Once more, with feeling: We’re the PPC Geeks!
One of the most important parts of a good PPC campaign is ensuring that the landing page your ads link to is primed to convert. Our guide to the sort of tests you can run to get your landing page up to scratch will introduce you to some of the fundamental principles of CRO.
And once more: We offer free audits to any business looking to get started with PPC. As well as search ads and display ads, we can also look at some of the pages on your site and let you know what needs to change and what sort of tests you could run to boost your conversion rate.
We can then manage your campaign for you, which will include running relevant tests on your landing pages. In this way, we’ll help you to ensure that your online marketing truly does serve to catapult your business to the next level.