A 360-Degree Look at Small Business Online Marketing Strategy
A 360-Degree Introduction to Business Online Marketing
How do you cut through the internet noise to give your business visibility among the 12 million new domains/websites being registered each quarter, let alone the 326.4 million domains worldwide?*
Fortunately, the solution is not as complex as you might think, and a new or established business that follows a simple formula can successfully attract new clients through online marketing. Even if you have never marketed anything on the internet, have never built a website and don’t know the meaning of the term “social media”, you can still be successful. So, let’s dive in.
How Marketing and the Internet Work
If you wanted to bake a loaf of bread, and wanted that loaf to rise, it would really help to know that yeast is a living organism, and how to help it thrive during the rising process. The same is true of success with online marketing. Knowing how marketing and how the internet works is vital to successfully marketing your business online.
How Marketing Works
Marketing begins with:
- A valuable product or service…
- Targeted to a specific audience…
- And communicated through a compelling message.
Follow this simple formula to communicate with impact in all your marketing communications:
- Problem: Don’t start by talking about your business and products. Nobody cares. Your target audience will only listen to what you have to say once they know you understand the problems they face. Connect with your audience first around their problems, or pain points. Who is your target audience and what problems do they face? What goals would they like to achieve? Many businesses are so focused on their great product that they have not made an effort to clearly identify their audience and their needs. The more targeted you are in your marketing communications, the more likely you’ll connect with your target audience.
- Solution: Only after gaining audience attention, present your solution. Make it simple, easy enough to understand. If they can’t understand your solution and picture themselves using it to solve their problem, it’s not a solution.
- Benefits: Now list the benefits your solution provides. The benefits are usually the reverse of the initial problem. Go back to the original problem you described, and show point by point how it disappears.
- Call to Action: Make a simple, clear specific all to action. What action do you want your listener to take as a result of hearing your message? Don’t assume your reader knows what to do once they’ve learned about your solution–even if you’ve clearly explained how it will solve their initial problem, and then created a compelling list of benefits. You need to take one final step of guiding your reader by the hand to take a specific action such as “Click on this link.” “Call this phone number.” Tell them when to take that action (i.e. “Now”, “Today”). Add in a sense of urgency: “This is a limited time offer.” “The first 5 to order will receive a discount.”
How the Internet Works
You want your compelling message to be found on the internet? Here’s how it works: Every time your target audience goes to the Google search engine looking for your product or service, Google needs to make a split second decision which businesses to put on page one of that search. Here’s the simple criteria: If you want Google to decide you’re one of the businesses that go on page one, the content on your page needs to be original, relevant and valuable.
Make Your Content Original:
Never copy content word for word from some place else on the internet. Google instantly runs “duplicate content” checks on all internet content. If your content is duplicate, Google instantly downgrades its visibility. Google’s customer is not you–it’s the person searching for information on the internet. Google wants to give that person something original, not a cheap copy of prior internet content.
Make Your Content Relevant:
Google measures relevance based on key words – the words your target audience is putting into the Google search box. If your content contains the key words your target audience is putting into the search box, Google is more likely to show your content to your audience. There’s a simple tool available to everyone that will tell you how many visitors put a keyword into the Google search box in the past 30 days. To find the tool, google the term “Adwords Keyword Search Tool”. As a rule of thumb, speak with the same words your audience is searching. Always speak to the issues and answer the questions your audience is searching. This makes you relevant and will cause your target audience to listen. This works both on and off the internet.
Make Your Content Valuable:
Valuable content is engaging. Google can’t know what’s going through the viewer’s mind, but can guess whether the viewer is interested. Google makes that guess by answering this question: How long does the visitor stays on your web page, and what actions do they take? Make your content valuable to your reader, to hold their attention, and give them a “call to action” link to click on every page. Videos are great, because a good video engages the viewer and causes them to stay on your page longer.
The Internet is not a collection of individual isolated websites. The internet is an integrated system.
Think of your viewer’s experience. They aren’t just going to individual websites. They may start out with Google, which leads them to a Facebook post. Now they’re scrolling through multiple posts on Facebook. They happen upon a link to a LinkedIn article. Now, they’re on LinkedIn. This leads to a video. Now they’re watching YouTube videos. Finally a link brings them to your website.
The viewer is treating the entire internet as one vast repository of information on the subject they’re searching.
Their experience is like going down a river, and you need to be part of that Internet river in order to be found! Here’s a great strategy: Create a whirlpool in that internet river that will draw viewers to your website or sales page. Your whirlpool is more commonly, in marketing language, referred to as an “Internet Funnel“.
Dynamically Engage Your Reader with Internet Action Funnels
Now that you have original, relevant and valuable content, use it to dynamically guide your internet viewer to make the action you want them to take. This action is one of 3 things, in order of success priority:
- Sale: They contact you to purchase your product or service (Home Run!)
- Leave their contact information: They give you their name and email so that you can remain in contact, building a relationship, moving them over time to contact you to purchase your product or service.
- Remain engaged: They stick around, browsing the articles and videos on your website in order to learn more.
You can storyboard internet action funnels. Here are some examples:
- Step 1: Viewer sees an engaging video on YouTube that builds your credibility, and causes them to move to…
- Step 2: The video links to an article on your website where the viewer can learn more, and receive a call to action.
- Step 1: Viewer receives an email that gives valuable information and causes them to move to…
- Step 2: The email links to an article on your website where the viewer can learn more, and receive a call to action.
- Step 1: Viewer finds a post on social media, which leads to…
- Step 2: …an article on your website where the viewer can learn more, and receive a call to action.
- Step 1: Viewer finds your paid ad on Google, Facebook or as a banner ad on a popular website. The ad leads to…
- Step 2: A sales page with a powerful message and a compelling call to action.
The funnel possibilities are endless, limited only by your creativity, but notice how every funnel you create on the internet leads to some valuable information on your website, or on a sales page with a clear call to action.
Build Community and Relationship
Think of yourself as in this for the long run vs. the “quick sale”. Your goal is not so much to “talk” and show how much you know, as it is to “engage”. As a basic principle, think “community” and “relationship”. You’re creating a following, a community. These are your growing list of contacts you attract with your message of value on and off the internet. Your contact list is a community with whom you’re building a relationship of credibility and value over time. Think about the Facebook authors whose posts you’re most likely to stop and read, or watch when you see them. Think about the emails in your inbox that you’re most likely to open instead of deleting when you see them. What causes you to stop and view? You need to be that valuable resource for your market audience, and in particular for your growing community of contacts and clients. If you regularly follow the Problem > Solution > Benefits sequence in your communications, you will become that valuable resource.
By observing the above principles and strategy, you will:
- Grow your visibility on the internet.
- Avoid having an invisible website!
- Engage your audience over time.
- Build community.
- Grow your credibility.
- Be successful attracting visitors and new clients over the internet.
- Build the market visibility that keeps you “top of mind” to your clients and contacts.
- Attract more new business.
- Build the client loyalty that results in repeat business.
You can easily begin engaging in activity that will make your marketing message more visible and powerful on the internet by answering the following questions:
- Who is your target client?
- List 3 problems they face.
- Describe your solution. What makes it valuable and unique?
- List the benefits your solution brings.
- List some specific actions your listener needs to take to solve their initial problem.
Once you’re created a powerfully compelling answer to the above questions, the second step of broadcasting your message through your website, through social media, through email marketing and through the internet action funnels you create will more naturally fall into place. Have fun marketing on the internet and creating something significant!
* View statistic source on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160719006627/en/