I’ve been publishing my pieces from the StartupSmart‘s short course on how to build a better website on my blog. This time around the topic is marketing (minus some points on email and direct marketing).
Everyone knows they should be marketing their website. It’s a given. But are you marketing your site in a way that’s returning the maximum investment? Have you got a marketing plan? Setting up a Google AdWords account in order to drive traffic to your site is one thing, but having an integrated multichannel measurable course of action prepared is another. Your marketing plan should be closely coupled with your business objectives. Marketing as a discipline can be as simple or complex as you make it. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding your customers, your product or service, the market it operates in and how to reach people. If you just want to gather leads for your bricks-and-mortar business, producing a video series and publishing it on a social media account might not the most relevant or resourceful option. For a successful marketing strategy, combine your online and offline elements into the one plan.
Search (SEO and SEM)
Search is one of the most important areas of online marketing. If your website is technically sound and your content strategy is working well, a lot of the work should be done for you in the organic rankings. If you want to try paid search and haven’t yet, Google often have $50 or $100 offers available, so keep a look out. We explain more about search in a separate step of the series.
If you have the audience, advertising can be a solid source of revenue for your site. It’s also a proven way of attracting newcomers. Classifieds, search and display (“banners”) make up the majority of online advertising. Video is growing heavily – especially on content sites (as you might have noticed when reading the news). For standards and guidelines, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia is a must-visit resource.
PR and communications
When seeking publicity, identify not only key broadcast media players but also new media influencers. As an entrepreneur, you may love getting your name in print in one of the broadsheets, but if someone with 50,000 followers on Twitter links to your site you’re likely to notice the latter delivers more value.
Ambient, outdoor, experiential, guerrilla
Out-of-the-home advertising doesn’t have to be all about the four-metre-high billboards. Personally sticking posters up around your local community could be effective if you’re flying solo. Game enough to rope in your friends and family? Even pavement chalking your URL outside a fashionable cafe helps to get more users to your site. Branding and giving away items such as recyclable coffee cups and mousepads are also tried and tested ways of aiding recall.
Although somewhat controversial, cause-related marketing is an increasingly popular way to connect and build your community via supporting others. Online platforms make it easy too – check out Kiva, Kickstarter and Start Some Good to get a taste.
It’s been the year of the mobile for the past five years, but it’s really coming into its own in 2011. When reviewing your digital strategy and marketing plan, mobile needs to be a priority. If 25% of your users are accessing your site via an iPhone, a mobile-optimised site or application could be on the top of your to-do list.
Although self-explanatory, part of growing your online audience involves discovering them offline. The networking opportunities at trade shows, seminars or large conferences can really be beneficial.
Social media and viral
Discussed in more depth in another post in the series, social media and viral marketing offer an innovative way to reach and converse with your users. Don’t put too much pressure on your content to go viral though – there’s often no logic as to what wildly spreads and what does not. Instead, concentrate on delivering value and creating meaningful relationships.
One thought on “Online marketing basics”
Very thorough article. I’m glad you included “Ambient, outdoor, experiential, guerrilla”. With local search becoming more important, unusual marketing tactics like these are really effective.
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