A Guide to Effective Internet Marketing
Created by Jackie Lalley
If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about internet marketing—that it’s a surefire way to increase your bottom line, and you’ll see greater return on investment in a shorter period of time than that of traditional, “outbound” marketing. Data shows the things you’re hearing are absolutely true.
That said, it’s time to trim the fat—do away with stale outbound marketing tactics—and start doing the things that get results. Here I’ll let you in on the top six effective internet marketing activities you need to know about, so you can focus your marketing team’s efforts and start reaping the benefits.
If I had to choose one single-most-important thing to boil effective internet marketing down to, it would be keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that people type into search engines to find you.
Your marketing team will need to identify your ideal customer—who that person is and why they need you. They’ll need to get inside that person’s head and identify pain points and goals, and the language that person would use to find solutions. They’ll also come up with a list of key descriptors, including your company’s name, services you provide, locations, etc.
Further, your team will scope out the competition and find out what keywords they’re ranking for to determine if your content can outrank them.
2. Web Optimization (and keywords)
Once your marketing team has built a list of keywords they’re proud of, they need to put them to good use. First, they’ll use all those great descriptors to optimize your website for people and search engines. In other words, they’ll use the words your customers typically type into search engines on your web pages, making them bot and people-friendly.
When you take a look at your company’s site, the keywords will be tactfully used in menus, page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, and more, so that when a person selects your company’s site over everyone else’s, it’s completely clear that what your company has to offer is exactly what they were looking for.
3. Blogging (and keywords)
Your marketing team will use customer-specific keyword lists to craft blog content that addresses your ideal customers’ pain points. Your company’s blog should be a resource customers—and potential customers—can turn to in order to get their questions answered, find out what’s new in your industry, and get educated.
Blog posts also help keep your website search engine optimized. The more pages your company website has, the better its chances of ranking highly on search engines.
4. Social Media (and keywords) Have you noticed that you’re two-thirds of the way through this post and I’m still talking about keywords? ...
Your company website isn’t going to get the traffic it deserves without a little promotion. Your company should be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media platform where your ideal customers spend their time.
Your marketing team won’t be sharing what they ate for breakfast or pictures of cute puppies. Instead they will write posts around keywords—the same keywords they wrote your company’s web content around. They’ll promote recent blog posts, share links to helpful online resources, and convince strangers that your company’s website is worth checking out.
Once your company’s website has earned a steady stream of traffic, it’s your marketing team’s responsibility to keep those visitors engaged. They’ll do so with offers, which could be anything from a “contact us” form to an ebook or a coupon, depending on where those visitors are in the buying process.
All offers start with a call-to-action, which visitors will click on if your offer interests them. Then, they’ll be taken to a landing page where they will be faced with a form that basically says, “give us a little bit of your personal information, and in exchange, we’ll deliver the offer.” When the visitor decides your offer is worth their name and email address, they will fill out the form and will be taken to a thank-you page where they’ll receive the offer and your gratitude.
6. Lead Nurturing
When visitors download offers, they become leads. Your marketing team will need to treat them like friends (their real friends) and take care of them. And they will do so via lead-nurturing email campaigns.
Lead-nurturing emails follow up with leads after they’ve downloaded your offer—they ask how they’re liking it, what they’ve learned, and offer other relevant resources.
Once your team has launched what appears to be an effective internet marketing campaign, they’ll need to take a step back and take a good hard look at the analytics.
Your marketing team will need to look at where your visitors are coming from—is it mostly organic search (via keywords typed in search engines), social media links, direct traffic (visitors typed in your company’s URL), or another referral source? Using these metrics, they can set goals to drive more traffic from other sources or focus more attention on the source that’s currently the leading traffic generator.
Your marketing team will also examine page performance. If the results aren’t meeting your company’s goals, they’ll need to make some changes. They should start small with an A/B test (change one thing: color, formatting, title) to see if performance improves. They should also do some more keyword research to see if they can better optimize your site and move up in search rankings.
Finally, they’ll need to keep tabs on lead-nurturing campaigns, or emails, paying particular attention to bounce rate and click-through rate. Keeping the bounce rate low and the click-through rate high is key in any email campaign.
Internet marketing’s reporting is incredible, but it’s worthless if you don’t do anything with the data. Making sure your marketing team is as focused on the bottom line as you are will ensure they’re using internet marketing to its fullest potential.