Effective Online Marketing 5 Tips to Avoid Mistakes
As a boutique internet marketing agency, our new client engagements often begin with a comprehensive online marketing strategy. This provides our clients with a strategic plan to brand themselves online to address their audience’s needs. It also provides a lens in which to view themselves and their competitor’s online footprint before they begin website redesign and/or other online marketing strategies. During the online marketing plan research stage, a prevailing theme has emerged from analyzing hundreds of websites. Our observation is that focusing on one aspect of online marketing and ignoring or limiting the 360-degree lens required for effective online marketing does not produce good results on the web.
If your company is considering upgrading your online web presence, keep in mind these five effective online marketing tips:
- Content Strategy is Number 1
- Address Your Audience Needs First
- If You Want To Be Found On the Web – SEO Your Website
- It Takes More Than Great Design for a Good Website
- There Is No “I” in Web Strategy
Create Your Content Strategy FIRST
Develop your content marketing and keyword strategy BEFORE you begin your website redesign. It will make the process much smoother and keep launch objectives within budget and on schedule. Invest the time to revisit your business objectives. Research your target audiences and learn to listen in order to understand your target audience’s wants and needs. Then create a content and keyword strategy that aligns your audience needs to your products, services and business objectives.
The Objective of Your Website is NOT a Grandstand for “All About You”
Too often, marketers continue to think of their website as an online digital brochure. While that was true in 1999, websites are no longer static but dynamically interactive opportunities for engagement. Your website is there to provide information and solutions to your audience’s wants and needs, open engagement opportunities that result in sales or leads that ultimately convert into sales. Distressing as it may be, your audience is not interested in you, they are interested in what you can do for them. Keep the “how wonderful we are” to your About Us section. The rest of your website’s content should be focused on your audience’s needs and your solutions to their needs. Think “their problem, our solution to their problem.”
A Website without Relevant SEO Does Little to Broaden Your Web Footprint
Granted, as a Search Engine Optimization SEO firm that helps clients get found online, we are extremely vocal advocates about the importance of SEO marketing and best practices. Shockingly, less than 30% of the websites we research have any viable SEO elements. Even more distressing, less than 10% have healthy design and adequate SEO elements. We take this as great news for our clients as it helps them build brand dominance even faster against their competitors as part of their effective online marketing strategy.
Design is Just One Piece of the Puzzle
Your website is usually the primary magnet in your online strategies. You do not need to be a tech whiz to oversee great website development and online marketing strategies. That said, you do need to know that a diverse team of specialists that collaborate and work together is essential. Rarely is the best team for the most effective online marketing support under one roof:
- Designer – Website design is the most tangible aspect of a website, therefore it often gets the most attention while equally important aspects of a website strategy get ignored or downplayed. This can be very shortsighted thinking.
- Programmer – Marketers and designers focus their attention on the user-experience and design. While this is good, it should never be at the expense of slow load times. Every milli-second delay contributes to increased website abandonment. Reducing the number of HTTP requests required to render a page without compromising rich page design is the secret to faster load time. Website design and website load optimization programming are two completely different skill-sets. Both are required for optimal website user experience and search engine performance.
- SEO Specialist – On page SEO is not about adding a few keyword Meta tags. SEO best practices mean developing a content strategy and keyword strategy around content relevancy. It requires applying page relevant Meta data that supports each page with unique content in order for search engines to rank your pages well. Without it, being found is little more than a crapshoot.
- Publisher – Content is king. This means quality content that is relevant to your audience’s interests is a critical component of your website. Design your website to fit your messaging rather than creating content to fit your design. If you do not have the required writing talent in-house to create quality content, outsource it…and be sure it is properly optimized for SEO value.
- Strategist – The primary goal of most websites is brand awareness and lead generation. Most websites focus on brand but give less attention than they realize to lead generation. Lead generation should be a collaborative strategy between marketing and sales. Invest in “no tech skills required” software management tools that give your marketing team the flexibility to integrate and manage marketing campaigns. This will improve online marketing effectiveness and reduce IT department dependency.
- Analyst – Understanding online customer behavior is critical in order to maximize the full potential of your website assets. Measuring online marketing ROI and communicating its contribution to the bottom line is very important to satisfy management’s objectives (it is good for job security as well).
Sharing, Collaboration and Teamwork
Let’s face it, as human beings, we all have an ego. But there is little room for egos or knowledge hoarders in creating effective online marketing strategies. The technology is too vast, changes happen too quickly and each online strategy and tactic can integrate quickly across web channels in ways that individually we may not perceive. The only way to stay ahead of the game is to collaborate by pooling our knowledge, talents and resources from multiple skill sets in order to develop the most effective online marketing results.
For those of us that have been in marketing for a while, integrating old media marketing and new media marketing can be challenging. Tried and true static marketing tactics that worked well in the past do not always translate to online marketing results. However, being aware that online marketing strategies require a different mindset is the first step.. Approaching online marketing with a 360-degree lens will lead to more effective online marketing results by pooling technology and sales and marketing resources toward a common business goal.
Tell us your online marketing story in the comments section below.