Todays consumers view the internet as an essential part of their shopping experience (especially now during the pandemic). According to latest economic reports, global online sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. Brands that do not take advantage of online marketing are doomed to struggle to survive.
Online marketing, also known as internet marketing, is more than just having a website and social media presence. It is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads, and sales.
Unlike, in the baseball movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner , "if you build it, they will come," does not apply to a corporate website.
The problem that most companies face isn't about creating a website but rather how to get people to notice it in a sea of ever-crowding space. The truth is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed among the deafening noise. If you're not a seasoned web developer, it can be overwhelming to keep up with digital marketing. However, one thing is certain - if you don't invest in online marketing now, you might as well throw in the towel.
So what does investing in internet marketing look like? Despite the number of options, in this article, I will focus on search engine optimization or SEO.
SEO is the method used by web developers and digital marketers to boost the ranking and/or frequency of a website by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Therefore, the importance of SEO comes from its ability to help consumers find websites with relevant content more easily.
How Search Engine Optimization Works
Using "spiders" search engines read websites looking for key bits of information that signal to them the topics and value of the content on each webpage. The spiders, of course, cannot really read. This means that they merely scan pages for certain terms that most closely match the search criteria of the person browsing the web.
In order to take full advantage of SEO, your website content should be updated frequently with new and relevant content. This is why blogging has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. To help keep your content relevant, look at your industry trends and try to keep your topics timely.
When adding a blog to your website, it is not enough to just write content without paying particular attention to 'key words." Remember, the spiders are looking for certain terms (ie. key words) to determine its value.
Using Keywords for SEO
Keywords are what your best customers will type to find your business and products. A strong keyword strategy focuses on attracting both customers at the bottom of the sales funnel who are ready to make a buying decision, as well as customers at the top of the sales funnel who are just doing a bit of light research. For example: If you are writing a blog about gardening, you might use keywords such as how to plant a garden or include terms such as seeds, fertilizers, soil, etc.
When writing a blog, avoid text that is filled with endless repetitions of the same keyword or keyword phrase. This type of text is awkward to read and contributes to a poor user experience, and can actually do more harm than good to your site ranking.
Another factor in SEO is the site construction and organization. Google and its algorithm also look at the organization of the site. A clear site map makes it easy for Google to navigate the site. It also helps to ensure that the spider does not miss any of the pages of the site while it scans the domain.
Side note: If you are thinking of changing your site domain, do not get rid of your old one as established domains generally rank higher than new ones. This does not mean that you cannot add a "better" domain and point it to your established domain. Yes, digital marketing is tricky stuff.
Speaking of tricks, be aware of your website loading speed. Pages that load slowly on a desktop or mobile device will be marked poorly by Google and more likely to be abandoned by impatient viewers. Large images, videos, and animation tend to slow down loading times, so only use them if they are essential to your brand and make sure they are properly set up to ensure an optimal load time.
Last but not least, site errors such as broken links or misdirected pages also negatively impact SEO. Part of SEO consists of running a site audit and checking that all error pages, poorly done redirects, duplicate pages, and similar types of mistakes are cleaned up.
If you have questions about SEO or need help with blogging, let's talk. Schoner Communications offer a free website review and loves helping businesses grow through better online marketing.
“We are all in this together” is fast becoming the catchphrase of 2020. Whoever thought we would have a pandemic of this magnitude that is slowing bringing the world to its knees. While this coronavirus is clearly a health crisis, it is also a wake up call, in particular, to small business owners. Times may have been tough before, but nothing like this. That said, if you love what you do, it is not the time to throw in the towel.
As a marketing consultant, the number 1 question I am being asked these days is “How can I make money during the pandemic?” The answer isn’t easy, nor appropriate for all situations. Oh, that I wish it were. But for those who have inventory to sell, or a service that can be provided online, there is hope. Here’s some tips to help your business survive the coronavirus attack.
Step 1: Use Social Media. If you already have accounts, make sure you are posting content at least once a day. If you do not have an account, start with one platform based on your customer demographics. If you don’t know who you customers are, take the time now to figure it out.
Step 2: Update Your Website. Make sure your website content is up-to-date. Delete any old information or products that you no longer carry. Add incentives for people to buy from you, either now or down the road. For example: Save 30% when you buy before April 15 or get a $100 gift certificate for just $85 with no expiration date. The key is to get cash as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Be Proactive. Think about ways you can save money. Yes, that may mean letting employees go. But before you start handing out pink slips to well-trained and loyal employees, consider reducing their hours or pay. Remember, the situation is temporary. Hiring new employees is time consuming and can be costly.
Note: Congress just approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses — and borrowers who maintain or restore their payrolls won’t have to pay back the loans. Click the link below for an easy, step-by-step Small Business Coronavirus Emergency Loan Guide here:
Step 4: Create Content. Writing a blog not only helps create loyal consumers, it also gives them a reason to come back to your website. Furthermore, blogging improves your website search engine ranking. If you are not adept at writing, there are countless ghost bloggers who may be out of work and would love to work with you.
Step 5: Be Intentional. Now is the time to really think about what it is you have to offer consumers. Make sure all your content reflects your company brand and benefits. If you are using social media, don’t just focus on selling. By the mere name of it, social media is intended to create relationships. Think of what personal information you are willing to share so that your audience can better connect with you.
Finally, while you may be frustrated and have every right to be, I encourage you to try to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m pretty confident there is one. So why not use this time as an opportunity to tackle some overdo projects. I personally have spent several hours reorganizing my files. It felt good.
Hang in there. Stay healthy and contact me if I can help you.
One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners is that they are not getting traffic from their website despite investing thousands of dollars with a “professional” web company. My response is usually two fold. “Are there any analytics to show the amount of traffic to your site and where is the traffic coming from?” My second response is “who wrote the web copy?”
Unlike print copy, writing for the web requires resisting the temptation to write “fluff.” Those searching the web are looking for answers to questions and want value and Google search algorithm rewards those with relevant, current and interesting content.
The most successful websites include useful content, such as articles or “blogs” that provide the reader information and a reason to come back to the website.
The way the Web works is very different from print and the content of your website needs to reflect that.
Keep Individual Page Content Short
The Web is not a good place to write a novel. Keep the content short. The shorter it is, the more likely your readers will read it. List can also be effective web content. If you have technical information consider an infographic as opposed to a full page of copy or add a blog on the topic to your website.
Write SEO-Friendly Copy
Google is watching. If you haven’t yet heard about SEO (search engine optimization) yet, is important to note that an SEO content friendly site will rank higher online than one that is not. WThus, when writing copy for your website, it is important to include keywords and phrases in your content. You need to use the phrase enough so that it's recognized as the topic but not so much that your readers notice.
Video and Audio
Internet marketing also known as digital marketing is constantly evolving. One of the latest trends is to incorporate video and audio on websites. If you plan to do this, consult a web specialist as there are some technical issues you should know before investing your time and money into adding a video or audio to your site.
Rules are Meant to be Broken
All of these rules can be broken. Know your audience and know why you're breaking the rule before you do so. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your writing, just keep in mind the audience you are trying to inform or serve.