If there was ever a great time to breath new life into your online business, it is now. The success of the world’s largest ecommerce company, Amazon, has catapulted founder and CEO Jeff Bezos into the top spot of the world’s wealthiest man at about $115 billion in early 2018. It’s clear that more people are buying things online today than ever before, and this represents a wonderful opportunity for you to accelerate your own success in the online space.
The number one marketing change you can make for an online business is investing more in search engine optimization and social media. Together, these form a robust platform via which to improve everything from customer relations to sales; they entail connecting with your audience more fully, and converting on those connections in a measurable way. Before we delve into tried and true methods for increasing online success, you can read more about the effects of SEO and social media.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must
This, simply put, the most powerful form of online marketing today – with social media (below) a close second. SEO is, essentially, the digital analog to the billboards of yesterday. It is a way to point your website to the legions of waiting seekers that are already searching for what you’re offering. The question is, how do you do this?
The primary way is to create good content, and to have arrows pointing to your website from other purveyors of good content. You do this with the proper use of keywords and backlinks. People who conduct SEO with short-term success in mind often pay in the long term. As a result, avoid spamming keywords – make sure your content is rendered for human readers, and not for Google’s Search Engine. When done correctly, Google will catapult your site up through the rankings for the selected keywords, which means that when people type those words into a search engine, your site will have priority over other sites for showing up.
The importance of social media
Just how powerful is social media, you ask? Considering that there are business such as Pinterest and Facebook that have found explosive success despite being only on social media – it’s safe to say that it is neck-and-neck with SEO as the most powerful online marketing tool that you could use.
For your business in particular, social media should function as a pivot for introducing your products or services to a waiting public. It takes a bit of effort in the beginning; but the ROI is well worth the investment because it becomes much easier as time wears on. In fact, most of the work is done for you after you build a social network; by consistently posting relevant news, your existing crew will propagate the information within their own circles at a hopefully exponentially rate.
To facilitate the very important work of social media, you can obtain the services of a college student to act as a social media manager. Alternatively, you can make it a priority every morning, by spending just ten minutes making a post to your Facebook Wall, tweeting something to your followers, or even applying a few pins to your Pinterest Board. If you think you may not have enough ideas, never fear – use the comments and suggestions on your website and social media platforms to help you offer something of value to your growing customer base.
The power of the blog
One of the best additions you can make to your website is a blog. If you don’t already have one, then you’re missing out on multiple streams of traffic and opportunities. The goal is always to write to inform your audience, or to provide answers to questions. In this way, blogging is a more robust form of social media marketing – but it also requires more effort since the posts are longer.
A corollary to this is to establish yourself as an authority on the service you’re offering. This often entails blogging on other platforms (guest blogging, essentially) like Patch, Medium, Hubpages and websites in your industry. Get on major sites such as Reddit, LinkedIn and Quora to search for outstanding, related questions that you can answer. Don’t forget to add a hyperlink to your blog on the matter.
No matter where you blog, be sure to add value. Nothing causes traffic to click away faster than insubstantial content. Think about what you would want from a business as a customer, and provide the same thing to your audience.
Consider affiliate marketing
This is a tremendous accelerator for the right businesses. If you’ve got a product or service that is tailor-made for well-known potential partners, in that it fits in smoothly with their preexisting platforms, you can approach them and split the proceeds from sales in exchange for their audience. Sites such as Clickbank and countless smaller brands have successfully done so. Of course, affiliate marketing works better if you already possess good conversion rates – that is, if you want a bigger brand to carry you.
Alternatively, you can become an affiliate, yourself. Amazon and eBay have robust programs that allow you to sell products on their websites using your specialized link; you get a percentage of sales. This is not always viable if you already have a product with a great conversion rate, as you do not want to split your traffic between your stuff and theirs. However, if you mostly sell a service, and there are products that are perfectly aligned with this service, then finding a product that complements this can work very well for you.
Obtain leads with a variety of marketing tools
Leads are the lifeblood of conversions. Since you’re in the online space anyway, you should use a squeeze page to convert more of the visitors that arrive at your website. To do this well, you’ll also need to offer them something – this can be a white paper, an ebook or an exclusive video that is for members only, in which you reveal premium content.
Your best bet is to start the quarter off with a combination of the above tips; you will see massive improvements in your marketing efforts in the months to come.