What is the Big Picture?
There are a lot of pieces to successful online marketing and it’s easy to get lost in the minutia. Here is a quick breakdown of the major pieces that are required to build a successful online brand.
Online Advertising (Google Adwords, Bing and a Few others)
Online advertising is paying for visitors. This is the quickest way to get new visitors (and customers) to your website. The advantage of advertising is that it is quick, and you can easily measure your results using analytics.
The main types of online advertising are Display (Banner) Advertising and Search Advertising (also known as Search Engine Marketing).
Display Advertising (Banner Ads)
In general, Display Advertising online is a brand awareness building exercise with at least one major exception. Mostly display ads do not create a direct response, but they do give you an opportunity to snag a bit of attention, and if you target your ads wisely, that attention could be a potential future customer.
You can use the Google Display Network to show text ads, flash ads, or video ads, but image ads are the predominant type of ads shown in this venue.
The notable exception to this rule is Remarketing Banner Ads. If you haven’t heard of remarketing ads, this is one of the coolest things that Google has added in quite some time.
Remarketing Ad Campaigns through Google Adwords allow you to show Display Ads to anyone who has visited your site during the last 30 days wherever they go on the web. Your ads follow the PERSON. If you abuse this feature you will creep out your potential customers, but when used correctly, I have seen great customer creation using Remarketing Banner Ads.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is the realm of traditional Google Adwords. Someone types a keyword in Google (or another search engine) and your text ad shows up directly above or to the right of the regular (organic or natural) search results.
If you use Search Engine Marketing effectively, it can be a great tool for direct response advertising because you are catching the potential customer when they are searching for your product.
* BUT, if you don’t measure your results, or you choose keywords that are too broad, or too expensive, buying search ads can be a way for you to flush a lot of money down the toilet quickly.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I really hate to even use the term SEO when I describe my services because it’s a term that is abused repeatedly. SEO when done properly is a way to to get a great long-term return on your investment. With proper SEO, you spend the money now, and the return continues indefinitely.
SEO when done poorly results in:
- Nothing (the best thing bad SEO can bring)
- Getting penalized in the search rankings.
- Getting delisted on Google. (It doesn’t get much worse than this.)
You can’t game Google in the long run. DON’T TRY!!! Google has hundreds of very smart engineers who are spending all day trying to get rid of spammers.
If you manage to game Google today, Google will smack you down tomorrow.
Quality SEO can be broken down into 3 main parts:
Structural Optimization is creating a firm foundation for building your SEO. It means that your website should be search engine friendly. The code should be clean. You should make sure that there are no broken links. And, that search engines can properly read your website.
If your website is structurally a mess, it doesn’t matter what content you put on the site, Google won’t be able to read it anyway.
Create content on your website that answers the questions that your customers are asking. Write it in a direct, clear, conversational tone. Be real. Don’t hide behind buzzwords and marketing speak. Don’t try to stuff your site with keywords, at best Google will ignore this tactic, but you could get smacked down for it.
Write on a regular basis. Create a schedule and editorial calendar, and stick to it. Write posts that are at least 300 words of useful content. Use Heading Tags and Lists to make your article easy to scan.
If you write good content that answers the questions people are asking, and posting regularly, your customers will find your site.
I won’t write content for you, but I can coach you on how to do it effectively. Besides, you know your niche way better than I do.
And, if you would like to hire a professional copywriter to help you with your content writing, I have a number of good writers that I work with in this area, and I would be happy to hook you up.
One of the ways that Search Engines rank the reputation or authority of your site is by looking at who is linking to your site.
This reputation is based on:
- How many links are there to you.
- How many sites have links to you.
- What is the reputation of those sites.
- What is the diversity of those links.
This is an area where some SEO companies have tried to game the system. I repeat, DON’T DO IT! Link farms, link exchange schemes and spammy directory sites are of very little value ever, and could be grounds for Google to devalue your site.
Social Media gives you an opportunity to connect with your customers in a conversational manner.
I can help you with creating a social media strategy, and with the technicalities of making your website social media friendly. Be honest and authentic in your conversations. People can see through posturing and BS.
Social Media can take a lot of time to manage, so choose your platform wisely. It’s better to pick one and use it effectively than to try to manage a bunch of them ineffectively.
Social Media is another area where I will be happy to help you understand how to approach it effectively and create a strategy, but I don’t do Social Media Management. You know your business, and your audience much better than I do, and will be much better at carrying on a conversation with them.
Analytics (Google Analytics)
If you can’t measure your results, you can’t improve them. Analytics gives you a way to track just about everything that your visitors do on your website. We use and recommend Google Analytics, a free and powerful analytics software. Without Analytics you would just be wandering around in the dark, throwing the good money after the bad. Measurement is critical for successful online marketing.
Analytics software can be configured to track:
- The Success rate of your Online Advertising Campaigns.
- Goal Completion.
- Ecommerce Statistics.
- Where your visitors are coming from.
- And more…
When you look at the pieces of a successful online marketing strategy, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but if you take a logical approach and tackle one piece at a time, you can create a successful online business.