10 steps to succeed in online marketing


There are many examples of online marketing throughout the internet for all of us to see, and plenty of posts and articles from gurus and experts all saying how wonderful their versions are. So I have added my tuppence-worth to the fray to let you know what I think of this subject!

1. Understand exactly what marketing is. This may sound pretentious, but marketing should not be confused with selling. It’s important to know that marketing is all about nurturing relationships with your customers and also having the chance to spread your expertise to gain trust and credibility. Once your potential customer has really got to know you and your company, only then will they make the move to do business with you.

2. Understand how important customers are. It really is worth doing some marketing analysis on your customers’ profiles, activities, buying habits, lifestyles – not to mention their needs and wants. This means you’ll be able to provide effective solutions to their problems, as well as placing your marketing exactly where your customers hang out, saving time, energy and money. And when you write copy, always present it within the customers’ point of view, to make them think you really care about them and want to help them.

3. Do you have a proper focus? It’s not worth setting up a marketing campaign without a suitable end in sight. Lots of people happily spend time marketing their business and then wonder why nothing comes of it. If you aim your marketing towards a goal, not only will it be more focused in its approach, but it will help towards measuring your results and analysing whether you are going down the correct route, being cost-worthy and productive, as well as achieving what you set out to do.

4. The importance of keywords. Search engines thrive on both keywords and links. Concentrating on the former, performing adequate research into which keywords are effective, relevant and up-to-date, plus knowing how and where to use them correctly, could make or break your online marketing.  Successful search engine optimisation may be considered a ‘black art’, but even small amounts performed appropriately is better than messy misunderstandings in large scale operations.

5. Content is king/queen. A well known phrase which can be interpreted in many ways. What you write about should always be relevant to both you and your customers. It should be focused on your customers’ desires, or aimed at filling a niche gap in the market, or promote your service/product within your customers’ point of view. It should be entertaining, educational and enterprising. It should pander to the needs of both humans and search engine spiders, to both be read and interact with the internet. It should not mention your company to say how wonderful it is!

6. Be aware of social media use. Rapidly rising in online marketing use, this phenomenon should not be ignored. Blogs are, of course, the hub of social networking, as well as all your online marketing activities, as everything can be directed back to them and thence outwards! But social media is not necessarily somewhere to dump material hoping it will be read and acted upon, it depends on social interaction and sharing with like-minded and relevant contacts. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are facilities to collect a following and post notifications of what you are doing, whereas other social media such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Mixx, Digg, Reddit and the like, rely on a voting system to promote your blog posts virally around the web. If you aren’t interested in what others are doing, how can they therefore be interested in you?

7. Gathering leads into lists. For some online marketers this is key. If you are able to collect a relevant and focused list of likely leads for you to market to, people who have willingly given their permission to receive information from you each month so that they can keep in touch with what you are saying, thinking or doing, being the first to know of any events or promotions you are creating, this is an extremely important source of marketing value. Email newsletters are big news because of their cost-worthiness in communication, and flexibility of use and transmission, and as long as they are used appropriately with the required focus, they are a very effective online marketing tool.

8. Using calls to action. Oh, how many times do I see online marketing with inappropriate or neglected call to actions! If you don’t tell your customers what to do, they won’t do it! And where you place these call to actions is also important: multiple mentions, within landing or squeeze pages within your website, with incentives and time-dependency, in postscripts at the end of communications – this little, much forgotten element of marketing could make all the difference towards success or failure. And the squeeze pages I mentioned before – another excellent marketing tool that when used appropriately can contribute much towards the benefits of online marketing.

9. How well are you performing? It’s no good undertaking a marketing campaign without knowing how well you are doing. Google Analytics for both your website and blog are vital to measure performance and analyse the correct procedure for future projects. Understand who is responding, why you got the responses you did, how to get more online visibility, what can you do to increase your conversions – all this is related to many of the points I mentioned above, plus a coherent understanding and focused appreciation to enhance your online marketing.

10. Nothing will happen overnight. Ignore all those marketing gurus who promise untold immediate wealth as soon as you sign up to their programmes. Online marketing is hard work, and you need to be in it for the long term. Many customers will read your newsletter and blog for years before they decide to take action, during which time they have been convinced of your expertise, have learned what you can do for them, and have formed a favourable opinion of you and your business to make the initial approach. If you show genuine interest in them (mainly through social networking) and gain a sizeable following of relevant, like-minded prospective customers, regularly communicating with them through your newsletter and providing them with valuable information that truly helps them, only then will your online marketing activities start to bear fruit.


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