There are several ways you can promote and market your site to increase your income and sales. To this end, we will look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Online Advertising, and eCommerce sites.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is often considered the bedrock or anchor of a website and is simply the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of visitors you get to your website or online business with organic(unpaid) search engine results.
SEO comprises of 3 main parts:
- Quality traffic- no all traffic is made equal and therefore that quality of the traffic you get has a big effect on your business, for example, if you have a store selling mobile phones you don’t want to target shoppers looking for clothes, this would be poorly targeted traffic as they are unlikely to buy. This will also affect your overall Google ranking as your bounce rate will be extremely high, this is another topic that we will look at later.
- Quantity- once you have good quality, targeted traffic you can focus on increasing the traffic. The best way to do that is by getting your pages indexed and ranked as high as possible in the search engine results.
- Organic results- organic results are unpaid listing in the search engine results. However, over the years organic results have been pushed further and further down the rankings in favor of paid ads.
The search engines are continuously gathering information on all the content on the internet and use an algorithm to match this to queries on the search engines. These algorithms use hundreds of on and off-page indicators to rank pages for the search results. SEO is the method used to get the best results from the algorithms for your pages and get higher rankings (www.moz.com).
Social Media (SM) Marketing
Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube are where most people ‘hang out’ online. Quite simply if you do not have an SM presence your business will not have a presence.
If you want to build your business, then you need to have a social media presence. Here are some recent SM stats that will shock you:
- Users spend 116 min PER DAY on SM.
- 60% of all consumers use SM when looking to buy new products.
- 71% will recommend you based on whether they have a good SM experience with you (but the opposite is also true if they have a bad experience!)
- 50+ million businesses use FB to connect with clients.
- 50% of Instagram users follow a MINIMUM of one brand. In other words, more than half of Instagram’s users follow multiple brands.
- 93% of users use SM to plan or make a purchase.
- Visual content is shared 40% more than non-visual.
- 79% of users prefer to watch a video than to read content.
- 15% of FB users watch the video without the sound on.
- Emojis raise engagement by 33%
- Questions in a post raise engagement by 50%
The main big four social media sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube have more than 6 billion users (there are approx. 8 billion people in the world). Social media provides a unique opportunity for inexpensive direct marketing.
However, SM Marketing is not easy and requires a lot of persistence, hard work and patience to be successful.
By its very nature, unlike a website that is static and evergreen, SM is a hungry beast and needs constant feeding with new content. Not only that, but different social media platforms require different types of content.
Your measure of success is more about your level of engagement than the number of fans or followers you have.
Another important component of any successful online business is building your email list or contact list. The problem with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube is that your fans and traffic aren’t really yours. With most of the social media sites you have no direct access to your fans or subscribers, and you have no way to contact them directly, all your interactions are managed and controlled by the platform.
So, you need to coax them away, get their contact details and get them to go to your website.
To do this you need to keep them engaged, run competitions, and use giveaways to collect their email address from them.
Once you have their email address continue to keep them engaged, but do not bombard them with sales pitches, instead build a relationship with them, educate them, solve their problems. Then when they need it to buy, they will come to you.
Your email list should be segmented so you can send specialist emails to a target audience, when you have special offers or new products etc.
You can also create special email flows for abandoned carts and follow-up emails when you have a sale to keep potential customers and new customers engaged for repeat business, asking for reviews and testimonials etc. You can also have certain actions triggering a series of emails, for example, clicking a link in your email to a product or video on iPhones may trigger a series of tips and hacks for iPhone users.
Email marketing is a cost-effective and easy way to keep your audience engaged and entertained so when they are ready to buy, they will buy from you. Keep your brand and logo in front of them.
One of the most effective ways to increase your reach and business is through online advertising. There are many different forms of online advertising and finding one to fit your business can seem daunting so here is a quick overview of the main options available.
Social Media Advertising
People use their social media profiles for a multitude of reasons for chatting to friends and family, business connections and networking, or to buy something. Most marketers use some form of social media advertising because of the sheer number of people using their social media accounts.
The main advantages of Social Media advertising are:
- Highly targeted
- Leverage of different advertising formats
- Investing in advertising that reaches your audience
Social Media stats:
- Facebook 2.5 billion monthly users
- Instagram 1 billion ages 18-34
- LinkIn 660 million
- Twitter 330 million
- Pinterest 300 million
- YouTube 2 billion
- Snapchat 218 million 18-24
- TikTok 500 million
Paid search gives you the opportunity to put your business in front of your key audience rather than having to rely on organic search. Some of the advantages of paid search are:
- Appear at the top of the search page.
- Protects your brand from other advertisers
- Average Return of Investment $8 per $1 spent.
- Native Advertising: this refers to paying for companies like Buzzfeed or The Dodo to craft and produce content that snowballs on social media for you. They will also pay publishers to distribute sponsored content to their huge audiences.
- Display Advertising: display ads or banners as they are often referred have had some bad press in the past, mainly due to a few bad actors who misused them. As a result, people became wary and distrusting of them. However, with the increased use of AI in advertising and other technologies we are beginning to see a renaissance of banner ads being used successfully.
The most important part of building a successful business online or an online presence is to build it on a solid foundation. You should make sure you have a good business plan to measure your businesses success and path in the future. Take the time to register a strong SEO friendly, memorable domain name, brand, and logo. Use a reputable hosting company, research your products and costs and keyword focused content. Market on search engines, social media, engage your audience, build an email list, and keep in touch with them. If you do all this, then your chances of success will be greatly increased.
by Colin Dorman