11 Ways To Grow Your Business Now
By Haydn Rowe
An effective online marketing strategy is pivotal. It can send your enquiry rate through the roof, dramatically slash your cost per enquiry and bring you a flood of new customers.
And if you're not getting to grips with online marketing, your competitors will walk all over you.
This is not about building an "online only" business. This applies if you are a manufacturer, wholesaler, professional firm, IT or software company, in hospitality or distibution.
Here is a brief overview of the eleven key areas which your online marketing strategy will require to optimise your chances of success:
- Do you have effective Landing Pages? Many websites fail to 'grab' and convert visitors because either they haven't created specific landing pages, or fail to direct traffic to the most appropriate landing page. This results in a 'bounce' - the visitor quickly scans the page, doesn't find information relevant to their search and 'bounces' back to Google or Yahoo to select another indexed website.
Creating landing pages - one product or service per page - that are highly relevant to certain searches is the key to getting your search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising to work, and to converting a website visitor into a lead or sale.
- Your Call to Action Copy. Websites often make little or no use of call to action devices. If your objective is to generate sales leads, build your prospect database or get a sale online, then as you lay out your compelling reasons for choosing your product or service on each landing page, you must 'ask for the order'. Test results show that asking for the action throughout the copy maximises conversion.
- Call to Action Banners. Some visitors will not read all of your sales copy. While good copy will turn 'scanners' into readers (and readers usually become buyers), some people come to your website 'pre-sold' or with such an urgent need that they are ready to take action right now. The use of small Graphic Banner Ads (similar to a Google Adwords ad) can be used with good effect to generate response. These can be as simple as Call Us Now on 1234 567890 - Lines Open 24 Hours ... or a link to download a White Paper or 'packaged information'.
- Packaged Information. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo, have created a vast pool of prospects who expect to find information. If you offer the information that prospects are looking for, you will get the conversion. Interestingly, we've had web developers who've fought us 'tooth and nail' to keep the site 'simple' and with not too many words ... yet when we've got them to agree to a small test panel offering detailed information such as a buyers guide, white paper or special report, it has produced the vast majority of the clicks on the site! Don't be swayed. Information is vital.
- Newsletter Signup. An offer of a newsletter with latest product developments, hints and tips, case studies, articles and special offers can generate significant 'conversion' of website visitors. Website visitors who are not yet ready to buy from you are often willing to give you their email address and contact details.
- Autoresponders. It often takes between 5 and 8 contacts before a prospect is willing to say yes to your offer. This can be as significant as placing an order or as subtle as moving to the next step in your sales funnel such as agreeing to request your 'more information' package, phoning you or requesting an appointment. An autoresponder is an automatic email sent in response to an action taken on your website - usually involving the prospect 'opting in' to an offer such as a mini-course, email newsletter or packaged information. An autoresponse 'constant contact' campaign of (well written) and appropriately spaced email communications increases top of mind awareness, educates the prospect, creates a level of trust and relationship and significantly increases your chances of 'getting the order'.
- Search Engine Optimisation. Most traffic for a website is generated by search engines such as Google and Yahoo. It is therefore critical your website is search engine friendly. When the search engines visit your website to view what is on each page, the text they see must be written in such a way that the search engine can understand exactly what each page is about, so it can offer your page as a relevant match to a searcher.
This means tightly written 'clean code' (the HTML code which sits behind your website and is responsible for everything you see on a computer screen). It also means having relevant, authoritative websites linking to your website to increase your search engine ranking. Your search engine marketing 'expert' should be very familiar with this.
- Pay Per Click Advertising. If your goal is to quickly increase traffic, then Pay Per Click advertising using programs such as Google Adwords and Yahoo Sponsored Search will play an important role in your online marketing strategy and the development of your website. Not only will this increase traffic, the statistics generated will give you immensely valuable information about search engine marketing which can be applied to your search engine optimisation so in time your 'paid for' traffic can become free traffic.
- Online Directories. There are two good reasons for using online directories. The first is that by submitting to directories you will build the number of links directed at your website, improving your search rankings. The second is that by subscribing to (and sometimes paying for) listings and links in high-traffic, relevant and industry specific directories, you can drive quality traffic to your website. For example, if you are a franchisor, you can list your franchise with a range of franchise directories, including your basic details and a description of your franchise offering.
- Articles. Writing and publishing authoritative articles on your area of expertise on article websites, and then linking to the website, can produce significant volumes of traffic to your website.
- Offline Marketing Integration. Integrating your 'offline' marketing with your online marketing and website can be a hugely profitable exercise. After all, even Google uses direct mail and magazine advertising to promote their services. A good example of this is when you write to prospects or clients offering 'Packaged Information' in the form of a White Paper, Report or Guide, sending responders to your website to complete a request form.
Again, this is just skimming the surface of an online marketing strategy. The purpose is to highlight the sort of strategies you will need to not only pay lip service to, but to seriously pursue to make sure that your business takes advantage of the online revolution and stops your competitors from having this space to themselves.
When you consider that many of our clients now generate more than 50% of their sales revenue from an online marketing strategy - you need to ask if you can afford not to optimise your business in today's online world?
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To read more articles related to this go to the Online Marketing section of the Academy.
You will also find other useful articles in Marketing Foundations, Generating Leads, Converting Prospects, Increasing Average Transaction Value and Increase Purchase Frequency.