Marketing is often one of the most confusing activities for business owners. This article provides an easy guide to online marketing for business owners.

 

With the vast amount of promotional options out there, it may be difficult to pick which is the best choice for your business.

Online Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing, in the form of flyers, billboards, radio ads, TV ads, and others, has existed for decades. Traditional marketing has provided good results for decades. So, why are marketers and business owners abandoning traditional marketing for online marketing? The short answer is: online marketing provides, in average, higher returns on investment. Online advertising also provides more options for small and medium business.

Choosing the right online marketing strategy

Selecting the correct marketing strategy depends on several factors. This guide will show you which online marketing strategies you can use depending on the stage of your business.

Stage 1: Brand Awareness

Web Design

Web Design in Miami

What is it?

Your website is the center of all your online promotion and will help you attract customers for as long as you own your business. If you don’t yet have a website, you can start with the most basic features and expand as your business becomes successful. Here is a list of pages that you may want to include:

  • About your company.
  • Product and Services available.
  • Hours of operations and directions.
  • Contact us.
  • Appointment scheduler (if applies).
  • Blog with signup form (optional but highly recommended).

If your budget allows, you may want to add ecommerce capabilities to your site. This provides your business with an additional sales channel and will help you sell more. It also makes your business look professional as it provides added convenience to your customers.

How does it work?

Web design is an easy process. After you hire your web design agency, they will ask you to provide details such as your products’ main selling points, marketing objectives, logo, and color schemes, among others. If you hire a digital marketing agency to design your site, they may help you with these for little or no additional cost.

After you provide this first batch of information, your agency will send you a few layout options for your site. Once you select one, the rest of the design process may take a few weeks depending on the complexity of the site.

Stage 2: Strategic Positioning

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Local SEO

Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses in Miami

What is it?

Search engine optimization is a strategy used to make your site rank higher on Google and other search engines. This helps you getting more visitors to your site and increasing your sales. SEO can make the difference in customers buying from your business instead of from a competitor. A good SEO expert will make sure that your site loads quickly, has quality content, and is structured correctly. In addition, it will help you get other sites to link to your site.

If you sell directly to consumers, you may also want to engage in Local SEO. This is a similar strategy that helps your business rank higher in search engines for consumers close to your area. A Local SEO expert will make sure that your site shows up on maps and on popular review sites such as Yelp. Optimizing your website for local buyers is essential for any retail business.

How does it work?

If your site wasn’t built SEO-ready, your search engine optimization agency will change a few features of your site to make sure that search engines can read it correctly. They will also create content for your site especially crafted to attract users on search engines, and build high-quality links pointing to your site.

Content Writing

Content Writing Service

What is it?

Content Writing is a part of your content marketing strategies (SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing), and it involves writing engaging content in your site that adds value to your customers. This is one of the most important strategies that you may use as it shows your customers that you and your business are active in the industry.

The most popular channel for content in websites is adding a blog. Having a blog allows you to post news about your industry, your business, and your community that may interest your customers. Content can be also used to enhance the image of your products and services to make them more appealing to buyers.

How does it work?

Content writing services vary depending on the scope. You can choose to send your content writing company some ideas and media so they can write a compelling article. If you don’t have time to provide many ideas, your content writing agency can also take care of researching subjects and anything else necessary.

Tip:

There are many articles that may interest not only to customers, but also referrers. For example, if you are a doctor and you write your opinion about a new medical procedure, you will show your knowledge not only to patients but also to colleagues that may refer new cases to your practice. This applies for all kind of industries.

Social Media Management 

Social Media Management services help you focus on on your business while increasing sales.

At this point of your business, you have probably created a Facebook page or Twitter profile. If this is the case, you surely realized that keeping it updated can be very time consuming. Your social media profiles can be very useful assets in promoting your business, but only if you use them correctly.

What is it?

Social media management is a service in which an agency takes care of handling all your social media accounts. This includes creating graphics to promote your products, services, events, content, and everything else. They also create strategies to get more followers and turn those followers into customers. Social media managers use advanced tools that allow them to measure what type of posts are working, and use them to drive sales. In short, they manage 100% of your social media accounts; leaving you time to work on other important aspects of your business.

How does it work?

Depending on your agreement, your social media manager can post content from your website or original content especially created for your social network. You can also choose to provide content for your agency to format and post at an appropriate time.

Stage 3: Brand Development and Growth

Online Advertising

Online Advertising in Miami

What is it?

Online advertisements are any type of promotional test or image that you may see online. The most common are Google ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, and others on blogs and news sites.

How does it work?

Online ads are significantly more effective than traditional ads (those on newspapers, flyers, billboards, etc.). This is because you can select the type of consumer that sees them. For example, if you are running a hotel, you can choose to only display your advertisement to tourists looking for attractions near your area. These people will probably be more interested in your ad and in your business. This kind of segmentation is nearly impossible with traditional advertising.

Online advertising is usually priced in one of the following ways:

  • Cost per click (CPC): You pay a dollar amount every time someone clicks on one of your ads.
  • Cost per mille (CPM): You pay a dollar amount every time you ad is shown 1,000 times, whether is clicked or not.
  • Cost per action (CPA): You pay a dollar amount every time someone makes a determine action through your ads, such as liking your Facebook page, following you on Twitter, contacting you, etc.
  • Fixed cost per day/week/month: You pay a dollar amount for your ad to be shown on a site for a fixed period of time. This is one of the least popular methods of advertising and it is mostly offered as part of large advertising campaigns on major websites.

The cost of all these types of advertisements varies depending on the competitiveness of the industry and the segment you are targeting. Nonetheless, a good advertising strategy by a professional marketer can help you keep your costs low while getting you positive results.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing helps you get new business from existing customers

What is it?

Email marketing is a strategy in which you advertise any type of promotional material using email. Email marketing campaigns are often referred to as newsletters or email blasts. These promotional messages serve best to remind your customers about your brand and get repeat sales. You can use an email list of existing customers or build one using signups forms in your website. Considering than more than 50% of all emails are now opened using a mobile device, your emails should be mobile ready and look good when images are disabled. Additionally, your email marketer should use several strategies to improve your email performance including A/B testing, deliverability reports, usability analysis, and others.

How does it work?

Depending on the purpose of each email, your marketer will either use content provided by you or created just for that purpose. After your email is designed and ready to send, you will receive a copy for approval. After the email is sent, you receive a report showing performance metrics such as open rates and click rates.

Warning:

Business owners are often tempted to buy email lists. Using purchased email lists is not only a waste of time, but it may also be illegal according to the CAN-SPAM act.

Reputation Management

Reputation Management can help you control your brand online

What is it?

If your brand is already popular, you know that sometimes it is impossible to please everybody. If you have hundreds, thousands, or millions of customers, it is very likely that at least a few will be dissatisfied with something about your brand. Many times this happens because of a mistake in the purchasing process, false expectations, misuse, or other reasons. When this customers get upset, they may talk negatively about your product online and do serious damage to your brand.

Reputation management is a service that monitors the internet (including websites, news sites, and social networks) looking for any mention of your brand that may require your attention. For example, if one of your customers is complaining about one of your products on Twitter, your reputation monitoring provider detects it in real time, allowing you to address the problem before it gets out of control. Reputation Management services also help you handle negative reviews online, and monitor the internet about everything related to your brand.

How does it work?

You reputation management company begins monitoring the web for any mention of your brand and products. They will also discuss with you how to deal with various situations such as angry customers or product critiques.

 

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