Written by Tiffany Monhollon, Director of Content Marketing, ReachLocal
When it comes to online marketing, knowing exactly where to start can be challenging. Creating a website and getting active is only the beginning. Today, an integrated approach can help you get the most of all the online marketing opportunities available. Here are 10 fundamentals for your online marketing strategy.
1. Know your audience
Who are the consumers you are trying to reach? The answer to this can have many components: their location, product or service needs, basic demographics, etc. When you’re defining your audience, include a picture of both what your current customers look like and what types of customers you want to reach. This way, you can balance being realistic and aspirational in who you want to target your online marketing to.
2. Know your brand
Who are you as a business? What sets you apart in the marketplace? What does your brand mean to your target customers? Ask your current customers why they choose your business. This will help you identify the value proposition that is the heart of your brand, which you will need to know so you can translate that across your online marketing program.
3. Create a consumer-friendly, conversion-optimized website
It’s important that your website not only translates your brand and your value proposition but also convinces visitors to contact you. Make it easy for them to find your phone number and contact methods on every page. And make sure you are avoiding some of the most common website mistakes, like not having a clear conversion path, not using clear calls to action, or having an outdated, unprofessional design.
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4. Build your website’s relevance through modern SEO
Today’s SEO focuses on communicating to consumers about the products and services you provide, so a solid SEO strategy will incorporate a sophisticated approach that integrates offsite and onsite tactics. Through tactics like regular blogging, producing and sharing custom infographics, and sharing testimonials and reviews from your customers, you can build the relevance of your content - and your website over time.
5. Use email lead nurturing to convert leads to customers
Make sure that you are getting the most value from your website contacts. That’s where email marketing comes into play. It starts with automating lead follow up that sends an automated email that thanks new leads for contacting you, reinforces your brand, and helps move them to the next stage. You also need to use lead nurturing emails to keep your brand top of mind – and help buyers choose your business. By integrating a smart email-based lead nurturing program, you can close the loop on more prospects and see more return from your online marketing.
6. Advertise on search engines
Search engine advertising is one of the cornerstones of local only marketing for businesses today. That’s because it’s one of the fastest ways to get your business in front of consumers searching for a business like yours. By adding search engine advertising into your integrated marketing mix, you can drive more relevant traffic to your website, capture more leads, and convert more prospects into customers.
7. Claim your business listings online
Does your business show up in maps when you search for it via desktop or mobile? Is your information up to date on top local directories like Google+ Local, Citysearch, or Superpages? It’s important to make sure your local business listings are claimed and accurate, (down to spelling, punctuation, and grammar) because consumers can find your information on these sites, plus these sources feed other critical online marketing tools such as online maps. Also, search engines like Google compare the information on local listings (called citations) to determine the accuracy and relevance of your business information across the web, including your own website.
8. Appear on mobile
Can consumers find your business from their mobile device? Not only are more and more consumers using apps like Google Maps to find local businesses, but they are also using mobile search engines more and more. In fact, mobile search traffic accounted for about 35 percent of all online traffic in a recent report by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. The key takeaways? Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that you’re claiming local listings and maps that consumers use on mobile devices, and consider other mobile marketing strategies to reach local consumers.
9. Be active on social media
Social media is an important part of any modern online marketing strategy. From sharing content you’ve posted on your blog or website to curating industry, local, or timely content from other sources, having an active social media presence can signal to consumers – and search engines – that you are a relevant source of information.
10. Measure your return on investment
There is a lot of technology available today that can help you know you are getting results from your online marketing program. Use best practices such as call tracking for your online advertising and integrate smart analytics for your website and lead management program that help you connect the dots between your traffic and actual customers you convert. Plan for your measurement up front by finding the right tracking tools and vendors that will help you see what you’re getting from your investment so you set yourself up to measure online marketing success.
About the author
Tiffany Monhollon is an award-winning marketing strategist who is passionate about helping businesses and professionals succeed. As director of content marketing for ReachLocal, she equips businesses with local online marketing knowledge, tools, and insights to help them reach their goals.