By Bob Speyer – Web Success Team
Everyday we are bombarded with helpful suggestions on how to build our business online. Cherry picking the information most helpful to your business can be challenging at best. Like a sports team that “loses” its way, sometimes it is better to return to the fundamentals of online marketing that have been proven effective over years.
You should start by breaking down your business model and review how well it is achieving its goals and objectives, examine your website’s content and functionality, its branding and product positioning. Be critical. That being said, I have compiled a fundamental checklist to help you reexamine your efforts and address the weakness in your online marketing efforts.
1. Re-Defining Your Goals and Objectives: First, you need to reexamine your reason for being in business. Are you staying up-to-date with the needs of the marketplace? Are you competitive? Do you offer a valuable product or service that is still relevant, priced right, and consistent with your goals and objectives? Is it time to rebrand or give your business a facelift or a repositioning? Sometimes tweaking can produce dramatic results without having to cannibalize your business or website and start over.
2. The Impact of Keywords: Are you using the most effective keywords for your business? What you think are the most important or highest searched may in actual fact not be correct. There are many keyword analyzers to help you determine the best keywords to use. Once you have a good hold on the best keywords for your industry, integrate them into newly written website content
3. The Importance of Search Engine Optimization: It is essential that your site be optimized for the search engines. Choose a Webmaster that understands the main components of search engine optimization and direct response web development. Your objective should be to make your website organically searchable (rankings on the free side of Google) and designed to increase your conversion rates by inducing visitors take action, i.e. offering a special limited time promotion.
4. Your Unique Selling Proposition: What makes your company, its products and services stand out from the competition. What image do you want to project to your viewing audience? Every company has a positioning and it needs to be clearly stated and consistently promoted. If you sell widgets, make certain the reader knows your particular brand of widgets will outperform the competition, are easy to use and priced right. If you sell a service, then find the positioning that makes for the most receptivity in the marketplace — that fulfills the consumer’s need and offers a solution.
5. Promote, Promote, Promote: Your site should be attractive to viewers and it should also offer incentives and take-a-ways to keep them on your pages as well as guide them to your conversion pages. Always keep your branding in mind. Visitors can return to your site up to six times before they make a decision so you want them to remember your identity, your unique features and benefits and ways to bookmark or download a free report to keep your branding on their desktop.
6. Increase Your Conversion Rate: A certain amount of your hits must have a desired outcome. Whether it’s to buy a product, fill out a form, or perform any other desired action (click on an advertisement or stay on the site for a specified period of time). Increased conversion rates turn more visitors into customers. And if the site is designed correctly, instead of leaving your site, visitors will stay and find the information they want. And of course you want more return business. Draw your customers back to your site with newsletters, special offers, and other campaigns that will dramatically increase your back end sales.
7. Social Search Optimized Marketing: Once the site is built or rebuilt (if an existing site is not working up to expectations) and optimized for search engines, the next critical step is Social Search Optimized Marketing (SSOM). The purpose of SSOM is to create a continual and increased flow of traffic to your main website. Simply put, the more visitors and more page views, the more opportunity make a sale and increase your profits. Sometimes known as off-page marketing, SSOM is often the forgotten child of marketing. Budgeting for this area is essential. To be successful online requires implementing SSOM strategies and techniques that include online PR, blog, Pay Per Click, niche micro sites, social media networking, building and communicating with your email list, submitting to directories, search engines and local search, special offers, ezines and viral marketing.
8. Analyze Your Statistics: Another key component of the online marketing mix is to constantly review your statistics. Analytics help take the guesswork out of a website’s effectiveness and is hard concrete evidence if a page or promotion is working. Testing and tracking, tweaking your content, updating keywords, doing A / B testing of a promotion or web page will give you a flow of marketing information based upon visitors behavior that is invaluable.
9. Understand Your Online Competition: Often times your competition can unwittingly help you succeed. By analyzing how they conduct business online, where they are spread on the Internet, the effectiveness of their site (choose only those that rank high on Google), how they are branded, positioned and selling — will tell you a lot about your improving your online business.
10. Setting Realistic Budgets for Optimum Results: And finally, you need to budget for success. Do not put all your eggs in one basket (i.e. building a beauty site with little else to support it). Traffic is the life-blood of any website. That is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) should be a focal point in any marketing plan if you want to succeed on the Internet. You should set a realistic budget to allocate your marketing dollars. Skimping on marketing is like yelling in a vacuum.
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