OK, so you’ve established your online home, and built a great website. Job done, right? Well not just yet - it's important to remember that there are over a billion websites on the internet. So it's really important to have a strategy for helping the right customers, to find yours.
Luckily there are a number of effective ways you can do this, such as optimising your site so it appears in relevant search results, using highly targeted digital advertising, and engaging your customers through email and social media.
Now let’s hear from Ben at ProDive about how this benefited his business
I was excited when we put our first website together because I knew that it was the way forward. That it was going to be a news marketing channel that didn’t exist.
From what we’ve been able to achieve with online marketing, it’s helped us grow our existing stores and allowed us to open new stores in Sydney. The most effective method of attracting new customers to our website has been ad-words and also things like email and social media.
So let’s start with search engines. When people type something in a search engine, they’re letting it know exactly what they're looking for.
And if you offer relevant products or services to the user's query, search engines will show your business in the search results.
Now, there are two main ways you can do this.
The first is through search engine optimisation, or SEO , which helps your business appear in the search results. SEO is about making it as easy as possible for search engines to understand your website so they can match it to relevant user queries.
The second is with search engine marketing, or SEM , which lets you buy ad space in relevant search results.
Most major search engines use an auction system, where lots of different businesses compete to show their ads by bidding on the keywords they’d like to target.
We'll discuss these in greater detail later, but for now it's important to understand that having your business appear when people are searching for exactly what you sell is an incredibly powerful way to reach prospective customers.
But besides searching, we do a lot more on the Internet. We read news, check sports scores, follow recipes, watch videos and generally browse a lot of really interesting content.
Alongside all of this content you might see ads. This is called display advertising.
Display ads appear everywhere online, and come in many formats like text, image, video, and ads you can even interact with.
They can be a great way to get your message out to new customers.
You’re able to choose the types of people you want to see your ads, and the websites and pages you’d like them to appear on. Think of them as similar to billboards or print ads, but trackable and they can be more precisely targeted because they're online.
Social media sites - like Facebook or Twitter - give another option for boosting awareness of your business, and they’re especially useful for building relationships with customers.
On most networks, you’ll create pages or profiles for your business. These can be used to connect with people and start conversations by sharing content related to your business.
Now finally another powerful way you can engage people online is through email marketing.
We’re not talking about junk email, or “spam” that clutters up inboxes, but sending relevant information and promotion to people who have already said they’d like to hear from you.
Once you've gotten people to sign up, or “opt in” to receive your emails, the rest is up to you. You can update them on new products or services, advertise special events, or promote sale items to drive them in store or back to your site.
So as you can see there are a number great digital marketing strategies available for promoting your business - and we'll cover each in more detail later.
Up next we'll discuss setting realistic expectations, tools for measuring your performance, and the importance of being flexible to adapt your online plan as things change.
You’re online, so now it’s time to bring in the customers you want. We’ll review how to best help them find you, using some tried-and-tested online marketing avenues:
- search engines
- other websites
- social media