Marketing Online: Basic Strategies Any Business Can Use

Want to get into marketing online but wondering what the options are and what online marketing strategies will best fit your business and your marketing budget? This marketing online primer presents an overview of strategies for you to choose from. I recommend choosing and implementing at least three; successful marketing online depends on diversity and persistence for most small businesses.

1) Have a Blog/Website.

The first step to successful marketing online is to have a home base on the web.

It doesn’t really matter if you have an official website or a blog or a combination of both. Either will give you a web address where people can find you and a convenient way of referring to you, two things that will facilitate your marketing online efforts. So even if you don’t sell anything online directly, you need a website.

I encourage business people to have a blog on their website or serving as a website because if you blog regularly and have something relevant to say, you will develop a following – and some of those people will help your marketing online efforts by spreading the word about you and your products and/or services.

2) Online Advertising

Many small businesses in particular bother with this marketing online strategy, I suspect because they don’t want to shell out for it.

They only want to do free marketing online. I say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with free marketing online strategies – as long as you realize they’re not. All the ‘free’ online marketing strategies I’m aware of take a considerable time investment, meaning they’re only free if your time is worth nothing.

CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand Impressions. With this type of marketing online, you basically buy space on a web page and pay for a certain number of impressions, or the number of times your ad is going to be displayed. Many of the banner ads you see on various websites are being paid for on a CPM model.

CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click advertising. In this model, you pay only for the number of times a viewer clicks on your ad, not on the number of times it’s displayed.

Google AdWords is perhaps the best known Pay-per-click marketing online program. When you’re marketing online with this program, you choose particular keywords that you want your ads to be associated with. When people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results.

The theory is that these people are much more likely to be interested in your products or services.

Another online advertising strategy you may wish to try is creating and posting an online video (either to your own website or to a popular video sharing site such as YouTube). An online video can be marketing online gold if it becomes popular.

3) Directory Listings

Adding your business to appropriate directory listings (local directory listings, business directories, etc.) is another way of marketing online that takes little time and is relatively inexpensive. Whatever local business groups you belong to, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, probably have websites where they allow members to list their businesses online and perhaps even place ads on the site at special rates. Search out other local sites, especially those related to tourism, and make sure you’re listed there, too.

Then there are the professional sites. Are you a Virtual Assistant? A CGA? A Canadian retailer? Whatever your professional affiliations, chances are good that organization has a site with a directory of members. There are also a lot of specialized online networking groups/sites that promote marketing online. A Business Advertising package on the Canadian Women’s Business Network, for instance, costs only $36 CAN.

4) Participating in Social Media

Joining the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and forums, posting on Flicker and YouTube, commenting on other people’s blogs, are all opportunities for marketing online.

Marketing online through social media requires a much more subtle technique than marketing online through advertising or directory listings. With all social media, the trick is to participate intelligently and actually attempt to converse rather than just advertising your products or services. Comments such as “Good point.

The downside of social media marketing is that it’s time-consuming. If you want to do it well and see any real benefit from it, you have to work at it. The upside is that it’s free and can really generate a lot of buzz about your products/services if something that you’ve done online ( a post, a video, an article) becomes really popular.

5) Online Networking

LinkedIn deserves special mention in any discussion of online networking. Its stated purpose is to help the world’s professionals connect with one another to accelerate their success. As of this writing, LinkedIn has over 40 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. It’s a powerful tool for internet marketing, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers, partners and colleagues.

Besides being a great source of support and information, groups such as these also provide some marketing opportunities. Other members may be potential customers or referral sources as they get to know you and what you do.

Like social media, online networking requires taking a subtle approach. The same basic rule applies to online networking that applies to networking face-to-face. Give, give, give and don’t worry about receiving; you will, likely in bigger, more powerful ways than you ever imagined.

6) Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best and most powerful ways of online marketing in my opinion. For one thing, once you’ve developed an email list, (notice the word developed, not bought), you are, in effect, preaching to the converted, sending your marketing message directly to people who have already indicated some interest in your products or services.

For another, email is an excellent tool for building a relationship with your customers, letting you build both repeat business and good word-of-mouth.

Newsletters can be sent to the email list you’ve built from the people who provided the necessary information on your website, for instance, providing these potential customers with news updates about your company, upcoming events and/or special offers – and, of course, reminding them that your business exists and that maybe it’s time for another visit.

Email programs such as VerticalResponse and Constant Contact allow you to customize your email to your potential customer so you can send selected customers messages specific to their interests and actions.

Marketing Online and Offline Are The Same in One Way…

Just like any offline marketing, your online marketing efforts need to be planned. So don’t just post something here and place something there and consider that you’re marketing. Create an internet marketing campaign and plan and measure your results just as you would with any other marketing.

And remember too, that targeting still matters. The more carefully you have targeted your potential customers and the more carefully you have chosen and placed your marketing advertisements or your conversations, the more successful your marketing campaign will be.

The thing that’s different about marketing online, however, is its incredible reach. The Internet gives your business the chance to reach thousands and perhaps even millions of people who would never hear of your products and/or services otherwise – making online marketing a marketing opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

Source The Balance

72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users

twitter-user emineo mediaThe Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has been studying online adults’ social networking site use since 2005, and has seen substantial growth since then. Today, 72% of online adults use social networking sites. Although younger adults continue to be the most likely social media users, one of the more striking stories about the social networking population has been the growth among older internet users in recent years. Those ages 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites in the last four years—from 13% in the spring of 2009 to 43% now.

In this report they also studied online adults’ use of Twitter. The percentage of internet users who are on Twitter has more than doubled since November 2010, currently standing at 18%. Internet users ages 18-29 are the most likely to use Twitter—30% of them now do so.

About the Survey

The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from April 17 to May 19, 2013, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older.  Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,125) and cell phone (1,127, including 571 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.  For results based on Internet users (n=1,895), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Download the full Report from Pew

Social Media Marketing Tips

These social sites are continually growing, expanding and changing and it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the changes. Social-Media-Marketing emineo media

Below are the top 10 tips to help your social media marketing in 2013.

1. Make your posts more relevant — When people first started using the social sites they were posting things like “Going shopping today with the kids.  Wish me luck!”  The social sites have grown and changed. You need to start posting more relevant information.  Make it about your readers and followers, not about you. Post solutions, inspiration and interesting facts that can be useful and helpful.

2.  Utilize features and tools — Social sites are increasing the possibilities for your business with more tools and features than ever before. Take stock of all of these tools and learn to use them for the benefit of your followers and your business.

3. Visual marketing — Marketing is going visual and you need to do the same.  Embed text and your business info in relevant graphics to post.  Pinterest, using image sharing, has broken records with its growth.  Pictures are also the mostly widely used and shared method of posting on Facebook.  When people share your images you want them to see your website link or other relevant info.

4. Help Your Clients/Readers — No matter what business you are in, you cannot provide solutions to all your clients’ needs.  Be willing to post links, information and resources of other businesses that can help your clients when you cannot.

5. Use Your Analytics — Review your analytics regularly to see what is working and what isn’t. Are people visiting one social site more than others?  When are people visiting your pages? Find out everything you can from your results. You can learn a lot from your analytics but you must use them to reap the benefits.

6. Host events — Hold regular events such as giveaways, seminars, chats, networking parties, promotions, etc.  Facebook has recently updated its event feature so it is easier and more efficient.

7. Connections not sales — Use your social media pages to connect with your potential customers not for sales.  You want to use social media to share information, respond to questions and comments and to showcase what your business is about. You don’t want to continually bombard your social sites with sales pitches and ads.  Help your followers find solutions, do not pitch to them.

8. Slideshare — Slideshare is predicted to be the fastest growing social site in 2013.  Slideshare will allow you to share your presentations with millions. You can also share documents, PDFs and videos.  The possibilities are endless with this site.

9. Google+ — Google+ will be more important to your business. By being on Google+, you will be able to take full advantage of Google’s many services and tools.  It hasn’t the social power of some of the other sites, but it is a central part of Google and you should be a part of it.

10. Use fewer social sites — Concentrating your marketing efforts to a few of the better-producing sites is more effective than spreading yourself too thin over many of the social sites. The time it takes to successfully participate in social media is substantial, so you need to build a strong presence on the sites that deliver rather than trying to dominate them all.