Table of Content :
1. What is Online Marketing?
Online marketing is the act of promoting your business on the internet. It sounds simple, but it entails so much more. The main goal of marketing is to show up where your potential customers are and attract them to your products and services. Today, the potential customers of almost every type of business are online.
Think about how you use the internet. You might have a Facebook page to stay in touch with friends and family. Perhaps you use Google to find recipes or look up movie show times. When you want to learn more about the services a hair salon is offering, you go to their website. You go on the internet multiple times each day. Smart businesses know this, and they will meet you online with their marketing.
Do I Need Online Marketing?
You may be thinking, “I don’t need online marketing. I’ve been successful with traditional forms of marketing, like bus stop ads and flyers.” Although this could be true, you are doing yourself a disservice by not getting online. The number of new customers and amount of profit you’re missing out on is exponential. Your customers are online. If they don’t find your business, they’ll find your competitors.
Not only does online marketing allow you to compete in the market, but you can learn more about your customers. Each online platform is full of data on what your customers are looking for. The more you know about them, the better you can cater to their wants and needs. And, you may learn of an entirely new customer base you haven’t been catering to previously. This all amounts to more awareness, more leads, more sales, and more profits.
2. What is Your Brand Identity?
Before you can dive into the wonderful world of online marketing, you need to know your brand identity. This is not the same as your brand category or the industry you’re in. Your brand identity is specific to YOU and your unique business. When potential customers relate to your identity and feel safe with it, they’ll spend money.
It’s also important to have a brand identity for consistency. You likely have different marketing materials you use, even in traditional marketing. The flyers you hand out, your business cards, and your promotional merchandise all need to tell your story. In online marketing, you want your website, social media, and advertisements to tell that story, too. Once you have a better idea of your brand identity, it’s easier to streamline it across all your marketing channels.
What is Your Brand Story?
In the past, a good logo and nice packaging were all you needed to sell your products. Today, consumers want to know where their money is going. Millennial consumers especially want to feel a connection with the company they’re shopping from. You make it easy for consumers to relate and connect to you by creating a brand story.
Have you heard the quote, “whenever you see a small business, you know that someone took a huge risk”? Your story and your company’s story are important. Sharing the story of how your business was born, the risks you took, and what your mission is matters. Here are some questions to answer that will help you create your story:
- What inspired you to start your business? What problem did you solve?
- What’s the timeline of starting your idea to where you are today?
- Who are the founders? Who are you?
- What is your business’s mission?
- What challenges or failures tested you along the way?
Answer these questions in as much detail as you can. Building your brand story will expand your business further than just a company that sells stuff. It will help you expand your marketing strategies and streamline your marketing channels.
You Need a Website
Now that you have your brand identity and story, you need to get online. Perhaps you’ve already started a website or started one in the past and gave up. If you’re going to reap all the benefits of online marketing, you need a functional and pleasing website. Think of it as the headquarters for your business. It displays all the important information about your company in one place.
There are tons of free website building resources that make it easy to create your HQ. But, to make your website the absolute best it can be, consider hiring a specialist. You’ll learn more about optimizing your website further in this guide
3. Should You Hire an Online Marketing Specialist?
If you’re reading this guide, you’re going to learn the basics of online marketing. By understanding these concepts, you can get started in the online marketing sphere and learn the ropes. But, there is so much more to each online marketing tool than we can fully explain here. Some people go to school for multiple years learning how to market online successfully. While you can learn a lot of it yourself, you can’t do it all.
You should consider hiring an online marketing specialist if you fall into one of these categories:
- You don’t have time to learn the ropes yourself.
- You’ve tried to do it yourself but it’s not working.
- It’s too overwhelming to do yourself.
These are all completely valid reasons to hire a specialist. And, that’s why they exist- to take this stress and load off your plate. Plus, online marketing specialists will be able to help your business more efficiently than if you do it yourself. They know how to assess your current online marketing strategies and improve them. Sometimes it’s beneficial to hire a specialist just as a checkup to see what you could be doing better.
If after reading this guide you’d like help with your online marketing, feel free to reach out on our contact page. We’re here to help you start online marketing or take your existing marketing to the next level!
4. SEO vs. SEM: What’s the Difference?
These two acronyms are used a ton in online marketing. SEO and SEM are both crucial aspects of marketing that you need to understand. Using both well can transform your business and increase your profits. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is how you increase your businesses’ visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). You want your website to show up on the first page of Google because that’s where your customers will likely choose a result from. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a part of SEM that focuses on improving your content to be more searchable.
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Google is the presiding judge of what its users see and what they don’t. The results page is a competitive space where businesses fight for the top place. If your website is in top place on the SERP, you are guaranteed more traffic than competitors on the lower pages. Your place in the SERP is your ranking; Google ranks each website on many different factors to decide who gets to be on that coveted first page. Your marketing strategies need to align with SEM to be able to compete for top ranking.
How Does Google Rank Sites?
Google ranks websites on many factors, but most of them derive from user experience. Your website needs to be easy to navigate, clear, reliable, and trustworthy. It needs to be an authority in your niche and provide tons of value to its visitors.
The way Google assess each website is through a complex algorithm. This mathematical test looks at over 200 different factors on each website. Although Google doesn’t tell us each of those 200 factors, we can deduce what the most important ones are. It’s important to know that the algorithm is not based on human/manual operation. It’s a digital system that looks at each website objectively. You must play by its rules if you want to rank well.
What are Google Updates?
Google makes small changes to the algorithm hundreds of times each year. When the change is significant, they’ll release an official update for users to read. Online marketing specialists are always checking the latest Google updates to see how it affects their strategies. You can do this too by checking Moz’s Algorithm Change History of all updates up to the most current one.
In the past, these updates have included Google marking non-HTTPS websites as “not secured”. It also placed a higher value on mobile-optimized websites and responsive web designs. At one point, the number of characters in the snippet needed to be under 160. These are just a few examples, but as you can see, Google’s updates are very specific and important. If you hire an online marketing specialist, they’ll stay on top of these updates. But, if you’re doing this yourself, you need to be aware of new updates when they come out.
What is SEO?
The different methods of making your website search-engine-friendly are SEO strategies. These are the various ways you meet Google’s requirements and create a great user experience. Here are some of the basics of SEO you need to know.
- Page Speed: how long does it take for your web pages to load? If it takes longer than three seconds, users will go back to the SERP and choose a competitor. You can improve page speed by optimizing images, reducing redirects, using a fast web host, and much more. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check each of your web pages’ speeds.
- Keywords: The words users type into Google to find what they’re looking for are called keywords. If you use these keywords in your website, it’s more likely to show up in the SERP for those words. You need to research what keywords your customers are using, and then sprinkle them naturally throughout your content. But, if you use too many keywords, you’ll get nabbed for keyword stuffing. It’s crucial you use the correct keywords in your content, titles, URL, and snippets, but not too much.
- Links: It’s important to link to other internal pages on your site to keep users on your website longer. You should also link externally to other websites that are authorities on your topic. By linking to authoritative sources, it shows you’re getting your information from credible sources. Even better, if those authoritative sources link to your site, you get huge credibility points with Google. Make sure all the links on your website work, and that they either go to an internal page or a credible external one.
How can you tell if you’re SEO strategies are working? By using SEO tools to track analytics. There are lots of different tools you can use to track SEO efforts and website traffic. The first is YOAST, a common WordPress plugin that assesses your content before you publish it. Yoast will tell you if you need more and fewer keywords, if your snippet is too long, your URL is too long, and more. It also checks for readability, clarity, and sentence length. If you run your own business website on WordPress, it’s worthwhile to install Yoast.
To monitor your traffic, it’s best to sign up for Google Analytics. Or, you can install the plugin to your WordPress site. Google Analytics tracks your daily, weekly, and monthly traffic. It tells you where those visitors are coming from, where they’re located in the world, and which ad led them to your site. It’s incredibly helpful for planning future marketing campaigns because you know more about your users. If your Facebook ads aren’t bringing in much traffic, Google Analytics will show that. Then, you can channel more budget and energy into making that strategy work.
5. Mobile Optimization
Did you know that 60 percent of internet searches are done from a mobile device? If your website doesn’t load properly on smaller devices like phones, you’re going to turn away customers. To participate in online marketing today it’s crucial you optimize your website for mobile searches.
To start, you need to either have a separate URL for mobile devices or use a responsive design. When you view your website from a desktop or laptop, the screen is large enough to display content horizontal and length-wise. On a phone, the screen is much smaller and uses vertical orientation. Some companies prefer to have a mobile version of their website that looks like, “http//m.subdomain.com”. On this URL, they’ll simplify the design and tailor it to smaller screens. Or, some companies prefer to use a responsive design for their website. This means their website adjusts to whatever screen it’s being viewed on. WordPress websites use a responsive design; you can see how your website looks on different sizes of screens before you publish it.
In 2015, Google announced it would be taking mobile optimization into account when ranking websites. This is still part of the current criteria for ranking. To rank higher on Google, you need to cater to the 60 percent of searches coming from mobile devices. One important thing to note about these searchers is that many of their queries are for local businesses. Some use voice search to enter the query. They’re looking for restaurants, theatres, and stores “near me”. Since many mobile searchers are on the go and not at home, they’re looking for services that are close to wherever they are in that moment. If you own a brick and mortar business, it’s crucial you’re mobile optimized for “near me” searches.
You can learn more about mobile and voice search optimization in our Voice Search Optimization Guide.
6. Content Marketing
This facet of online marketing focuses on providing value to your customers and potential customers. The idea is you provide free, helpful, and valuable content so that they want to pay for the non-free content, i.e. your products or services. If what you put out for free is amazing, imagine how amazing your paid content is!
Content covers anything you put onto the internet. Most people associate content with blogging, which is one aspect of content marketing. But content also includes videos, graphics, emails, and more. Anything you publish to your website and social media pages is content. And, you can market your content to attract and convert new leads.
If your website doesn’t have any valuable content on it right now, focus on creating some. You could hire a videographer to make a promotional video for your business. Post the video to your home page and social media pages. Create an infographic about the problem your products or services solve. Give away free bits of information in your blogs that readers can use. Everything you produce and publish needs to be relevant and valuable to your target customer.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a flower delivery service. Your website should include content that targets the people most likely to use your service. You could post a blog post about which flowers are best for funerals, weddings, prom, etc. Or, a blog post about how to extend the life of your delivered flowers. What makes your business unique? Make a video showing how your flower delivery service is different; display your brand identity and story.
The Importance of Blogging
There are tons of reasons your website should have a blog section. For one, it’s an opportunity to give your customers free content. Secondly, it’s a channel for engaging with your audience. Blog posts are great sharing content because readers can share it with their various social media feeds. Then, their followers can click it and be sent to your site. Make sure your blogs have a comment section below them. This gives readers a chance to share their opinions and discuss with others. They can also ask questions and you can answer publicly for all readers to see.
Blogging is the perfect venue for SEO. Amidst the text, you can sprinkle short and longtail keywords. Avoid using passive voice, adverbs, and advanced language. Remember to write for the average person; you may have to explain industry terms so readers can understand. The key is to make it clear, readable, and optimized for search engines. If you don’t have time to write consistent and frequent blogs for your website, consider hiring a freelance content writer. Most content writers are experienced in research and SEO so you don’t have to do a thing.
7. Social Media Marketing
Do you use any social media platforms for business? What about for personal use? Any experience with this type of marketing can help you boost web traffic and sales. All you have to do is optimize your pages and post the right content. Then, engage with your followers.
The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. If you’re new to the world of social media, start small. Choose one platform and learn everything about it. Get really good at using it for your business before adding in another platform. It’s better to have one or two accounts that are done well than four that don’t bring any value. Choosing the platform depends on your type of business. In most cases, Facebook is a good place to start.
How to Optimize Your Page
The more followers you have, the more traffic goes to your website. To gain more followers you need to optimize your social media business profile. The first way to do this is by filling out every form section given. Don’t leave any sections blank; the more information you give, the more ways people can find you. Your website, phone number, store hours, and location are important, but so are the other fields.
Then, choose a profile picture and banner that is streamlined with your brand. Your logo, colors, and style should be consistent on every online channel. If someone is searching for your company organically, they’re more likely to recognize your picture or logo before reading the text. Speaking of text, include keywords in your descriptions and posts.
Once your page is set up, you need to be active. This means posting regularly and frequently. You don’t want to spam your followers, but you’d be surprised how much they can handle. Research successful brands in your niche and notice how often they post to their feed. Make sure you’re engaging with your followers.
What is Engagement? And Why Does It Matter?
Engagement is the interactions that take place on your social media page or posts. It includes likes, loves, comments, and follows. Most social media platforms reward accounts with high engagement by showing those posts on the news feed. This exposes you to even more potential followers and garners web traffic.
To increase your posts’ engagement, you need to be responding to every comment. If people have questions, answer them. If they compliment the content, thank them. Take the time to look at your follower’s pages and consider following them if their values align with your business’. Like your follower’s posts; share the love. The more you engage, the more you’ll get in return.
Buying Ad Campaigns on Facebook
In addition to growing web traffic organically on social media, you can buy ad campaigns to further push traffic. Facebook has taken the reigns in creating efficient and successful ad campaigns. It makes it super easy for the business owner to set the rules of the campaign and track its progress. Decide what your budget is and how long you want the campaign to run for. Obviously, a higher budget gets you a better reach. But, for many businesses, the goal isn’t to reach everyone on the platform. Their goal is to reach the RIGHT people. Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to target your ideal customers by demographics, location, income, and interests. Fill in the fields, set the budget, and test out which ads work best for you.
If you need help setting up your Facebook ad campaign, we can help.
8. Email Marketing
Everyone has an email, it’s a necessity in this digital age. Since your customers most likely have an email inbox, that’s another venue for you to market to them. You could offer exclusive access to sales on your website or tell them about a new service you’re offering first. Every email they open sends them to your website where they could become a paying customer. But, accessing that coveted inbox is a challenge. Without the customer’s explicit request for emails, you’ll end up in their spam or junk folders. How can you access inboxes and convert those people to hot leads?
How to Increase Email List Signups
First, you need to have a clear and attractive sign-up form on your website. It should be above the fold and have a clear reason why they should sign up. For example, you could offer free content in return for signing up. Some entrepreneurs create an e-book full of valuable information and send it to their email list subscribers. You could also offer a 10 percent discount on your online store. Whatever you choose, make sure your website viewers feel compelled to sign up.
Every page of your website should have an opt-in form for your email list. But, on secondary pages (not your homepage), consider placing it in the sidebar or bottom bar. As long as every page has the opt-in option, you can capitalize on those page’s visitors.
Curating the Perfect Email
If your emails are boring, confusing, or unhelpful, you’re going to see an increase in unsubscribes. To avoid this, learn how to craft the perfect email. It starts with the subject line. Think of this section as the headline for an article. If it isn’t captivating in a non-spammy way, it won’t get opened. Avoid using long sentences, large words, or words that most people don’t know.
When they open the email, it should be clear that the email is from your business. That means using your brand colors, fonts, and logo. The text of your email should have a clear goal from the start. Explain why this email is about to change their life or at least provide value. Here are some more email writing tips:
- Avoid writing is large blocks of text; stick to a maximum of four sentences per paragraph.
- Use subheadings to break up the text.
- End with a call-to-action; the “p.s.” after your signature is a great place for a call-to-action.
- Use a professional and on-brand signature.
- Send your emails at the right time; research when your customers are more likely to check their emails.
You can pay for awesome email marketing services like MailChimp or ConvertKit. They take care of the email layout for you and guide you through writing the content. Plus, you can automate this process and have the emails sent automatically.
9. Affiliate Marketing
If you have the budget, affiliate marketing can be a super successful form of online marketing. Essentially, you give bloggers a specific link to one of your products or services. They include that link in their online content. For every one of their followers that clicks that link and buys the product, the blogger receives a commission. If the blogger has a large following that trusts their recommendations, their use of your affiliate link could send a ton of traffic your way. But, for a popular blogger to use your link they need to be paid well. Examine your budget and decide how much of each sale you’re willing to pay the affiliate. It might only be 5 percent, or it could be 15. Generally, the more you pay, the more clicks to the link you’ll get.
How to Choose an Affiliate Program
You don’t have to manually proposition every blogger you want to work with. Instead, there are many affiliate marketing programs that do the dirty work for you. You set the rules for your links, and they market your program to affiliate marketers. Affiliates like using programs like this because it guarantees they’ll get paid for their promotion of your link. As a business owner, you get security as well. Some of the most popular affiliate marketing programs are Commission Junction, LinkShare, and ShareASale. But, keep in mind that the program you join will also take a cut of your profits.
How to Be Successful with Affiliate Marketing
Remember, you don’t pay the affiliates just for posting your link. You only pay them if that link converts a sale. It can be tempting to be stingy with your budget when paying for affiliate marketing. But, consider what you’re paying for. That one customer that clicks the link and buys your product could become a repeat customer for life. The profit you can make from one customer over a lifespan is huge and well worth the cut paid to that affiliate.
It’s best to join an affiliate program or choose bloggers that are already in your industry. This means the content they use your link in is more genuine and relevant than a blogger in a non-related field. For example, if you sell car parts, having an affiliate in the fashion and beauty world isn’t likely to bring you many leads. Instead, you’d want bloggers in the automotive field. Choose a program or individual bloggers who can genuinely mention your link to their followers.
10. PPC Marketing
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a potentially lucrative marketing tactic. It has a strong learning curve, but once you get it, it can be very successful. The most common form of PPC marketing is “search ads” on Google which uses Google AdWords. When users type in specific keywords from your niche in the search bar, you want your ad to show up. This requires lots of keyword research to understand what your customers are searching for. For example, if you’re an online bathing suit retailer, you’ll want keywords related to that niche. Like, “bathing suits for vacation” or “summer swimsuits”.
Essentially, you write the copy for your ad, choose your keywords, and set your budget. If your budget, or your bid, is better than your competitors for that keyword, then your ad will be shown. Keywords that have a high demand and lots of competition will require a higher bid/budget.
If your ad gets shown to Google searchers who used your keywords, they might click it. Your ad should take them to a landing page that converts their visit into a sale. Every time your ad results in a sale, you pay Google.
Google AdWords and Keyword Research
You want to know all the different keywords your customers might use on Google. While you can likely brainstorm the obvious ones, there are probably more you won’t think of. Luckily, there are lots of online tools to help you research the best keywords for your business. One is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Here, you can find out the most popular keywords in your niche. You can also see how competitive those keywords are. Depending on the competition for some keywords, bidding can get quite expensive. You can certainly learn and improve your AdWords skills, but this marketing method is one that a specialist can help a lot with.
11. How to Plan My Online Marketing Strategy
Now that you know the basics of online marketing, it’s time to plan your strategy. Your business is unique, as are your customers. The marketing strategy that works for your competitor might not work for you. If you’re going to do this by yourself without a marketing specialist, start slow. Choose one marketing channel or tactic and perfect it. Learn everything you can about that one strategy, like email or social media marketing. Once you know how to use it best for your business, add in another tactic.
You should also decide what your goals are. Do you want to increase web traffic? Or maybe increase the conversions of your current web traffic? Perhaps your goal is to reach a specific demographic in the market. Get clear on what your specific goals for your marketing plan are.
When you try a marketing tactic, be open to the process of trial and error. It may take some time to learn what works and what doesn’t. This is a normal part of marketing and it’s very important. AB testing is when you produce two pieces of marketing content, like an ad, but with a slight difference between the two. For example, you could make two Facebook ads, one with a carousel layout and one with a collection layout. Look at the analytics behind each ad and see whether A or B worked the best.
If you want to increase web traffic, consider starting with SEM, SEO, and affiliate marketing. If you want to increase conversions, focus more on email marketing and mobile optimization. To reach a new consumer base, utilize social media, Facebook ads, and PPC marketing. These are only basic suggestions; a professional marketing specialist can assess your goals and help you plan the exact strategies to be successful.
12. The Future of Online Marketing
Online marketing isn’t going anywhere; it’s only going to advance further as the years go by. It’s crucial you get on the bandwagon now so that you can reap the benefits this marketing sector is offering. It’s probable that 99 percent of your target customers are online, either with email, social media, or both. Marketing online gives you the best of inbound and outbound marketing. You can attract customers to a well-designed website and online store, and you can go out with awesome ads that reel them in as well.
If you’ve read this far, you may be thinking that online marketing encompasses a lot more than you first believed. This is true; you can’t learn everything you need to know in one day. While it’s possible to become a great online marketer on your own, sometimes it’s easier to ask for help.
That’s where we come in.
SEO Heroes Bangkok is equipped with highly trained and experienced marketing specialists that deliver real results. We can help build a marketing strategy unique to your business that garners traffic, leads, and sales. Send us a message below so we can take your business’s marketing to the next level!
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