How to market your online business
Marketing your online business is something that can be done through paid advertising and several other free methods. Some of the items on this list will have no cost implication so you’re able to start right away. In this article, there are 8 different things that can be done or considered for building your online business. There are campaigns to run, free giveaways in exchange for email addresses and email campaigns, amongst others.
A quick competitor analysis could give you some ideas as to what you could incorporate to get your business growing. You could look at social media, promotions and platforms that are being used. You will have to come up with your own strategies to get started, but once the strategy is clear, then you can get going!
1. Give something away for free
The idea of giving something away for free is a ploy to attract customers to your business. This strategy plays part of the sales funnel process. It becomes one way to lure people to your website and also allows for visitors to provide an email address in exchange for something that’s free. This could be to signup or join a marketing list that can be used at a later stage to convert those leads to a paying customer.
If you don’t know what it is that you can offer, then think about something that your business does and prepare a report or a document that will be helpful for your prospective customers. It’s one of the easiest ways to market your online business as you know that people like free things. Remember that this has to be done in exchange for at least, an email address. It’s easier for someone to make a decision or purchase when they know your brand.
An example would be one of our clients, loveteaching.online, that offers free English level assessments for all site visitors. This engages the user on the website and then, users receive a free language level assessment. It’s the opening of the sales funnel, and the lead info can be used for marketing purposes.
2. Maximize the use of your website
You instantly gain credibility when your website looks professional. Visitors often look at adverts on social media and then they look for a website to make sure that they’re sending their money to a legit business. The website that you create for your business has the potential to do a number of things. One of them is to sell your products or services, but there are many other benefits of maximizing the use of your website. It can serve as a communication tool, giveaways, relationship building and anything else you wish to accomplish.
Ensure that you have the option of collecting email addresses so that your business may use the list for marketing to your potential or existing clients. The website should immediately communicate what you do and if you have any special offers or promotions, then it’s a great place to share.
The design and professional look and feel of a website is so important that it could either encourage or deter business. Your website should be easy to understand, with a bit of User Experience implemented in the design. This relates to the way people look at websites combined with what encourages user interaction. Your website should also be responsive, meaning, suitable for all devices – regardless of the screen size. The majority of website visitors are browsing from mobile devices. This is something that we love doing, so if you need more info, please get in touch for a free quote.
Another important use of the website would be to set up a blog that keeps your content fresh and gets web visitors coming back. We get to talk more about the blogging side of things in the next point.
3. Create a blog
I’ve written an in depth article on the benefits of having a blog, which you can read more about here.
There are many factors that contribute to having a successful blog, but one thing is for sure, you have to write something of value, offering information that makes readers come back for more. Your website or blog visitors should, in essence, subscribe and want to hear more of what you and your business have to say. They would want to come back and that will rely on the quality of what you are sharing.
Today, blogging has become an important business tool and it is evident that every business needs a blog. The aim with creating consistent blog content is to keep people on your website, and also keeping them intrigued.
Whenever I have a new client for a WordPress Website build, then I try to explain that building a website is like setting up shop in the middle of the dessert. Nobody will know about your website unless you implement strategies that keep them coming. That could include sharing what you do on social media, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), or other online marketing strategies that bring traffic. Without any definite traffic strategy or marketing plan, your website will not really get visitors.
The good news is that regular blogging brings organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic means that you don’t necessarily have to keep paying to bring people, but it’s not always free, given the time or cost investment for creating quality content.
4. Invest in advertising
There are number of ways in which one can advertise your website. One of the free ways is to list your site, services or products on a number of free websites. These free listings are through business directory websites, free classifieds, social media listings, etc. These options will help to market your business, and also help with the backlinks that point to your website, which in turn, contributes to your page rank on search engines.
Paid advertising can be done through any of a number of online marketing providers. The most popular ones are Facebook Advertising, Google AdWords and Bing advertising for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns. These services vary in the cost per click, but if you pay close attention to sourcing paying customers then this is a great method. Websites don’t usually get any traffic without any marketing. This means that you should generally commit a certain financial amount toward marketing your business.
A paid marketing campaign would then take the allocation that you set toward getting traffic on your website or service, and hopefully convert it to turnover. This is a scalable practice, so if you were spending a small amount and get one sale a day, then if you would increase the amount, the sales should technically increase too. The aim is get a solid return on investment, so it’s not money that you’re throwing away if it’s designed properly.
5. Create an affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is pretty much a performance based advertising channel where businesses pay a commission for a conversion to an affiliate. It still remains a method that works by bringing in business to many companies or individuals. Setting up and running a successful affiliate marketing programme will take thorough planning, but it is a way for others to help you sell your products or service in exchange for an income for the affiliate.
Affiliate marketing has made business millions and ordinary people millionaires.
Bo Bennet – Founder & CEO of eBookIt.com and president of Archieboy Holdings.
Take a look at what your competitors (comrades) are doing and ensure that you are offering what is currently in demand. There has to be a market for your product or service, and affiliates can help you move those items or services to your market. Part of the challenge with setting up an affiliate programme is establishing how you will track sales and pay commissions, but there are a number of systems that can help with this. Another important factor is setting the ideal commission rate to pay your affiliate.
The point is that there is a way for you to outsource some of the sales or lead generation to another person or company, that could help you grow your business online. Remember that this option does not usually require upfront payment, so commissions are paid when your customer pays for their purchase.
6. Use email marketing
Email Marketing is a powerful way of bring in the Benjamins. This is done through sending emails to prospects and customers. If the marketing is effective, then it will convert email recipients to customers, and also turn one-time buyers into lifelong supporters. Even though social media is rising, and email spamming is getting out of hand, we find that email marketing is still the most effective way to nurture leads and conversions.
People still check their emails daily, which means that one cannot really compare the one has when you have a solid list to market to. Email still remains the #1 business communication tool for businesses. Another benefit of having your own subscribers list is that you own the list and no other company or network can delete you or your followers and subscribers. You can email your list because it’s yours.
Email marketing converts better with regards to the amounts that people spend as well as the return on investment for your campaign. There are plugins and services that can even automate the process, and even though they may cost a little, they are worth it.
Remember, the easiest way to get people to subscribe to your email list is to offer a free giveaway on your website, in exchange for an email address. Keep in mind that spamming is one way to lose subscribers, so be mindful of the frequency at which you are sending emails. Make use of an email marketing service to help with your campaign.
7. Promote yourself on social media
Without a doubt, social media has become and important part of doing business. Whether you are offering a service or product, showcasing your art or simply creating brand awareness, it’s a perfect space to play. The most important thing to know about a social media strategy is that you need to start with a plan it. This works best with using some form of social media calendar so that you can have an overview of your strategy, holidays and campaigns that match what you’re doing.
In your plan, you get to start with a social media audit, figuring out who you idea target customer is and where they visit more frequently. There will be a bit of a social media competitor analysis and brainstorming of themes and topics for the period that you’re planning.
There are many different social media platforms available so you get to decide on how many platforms you will be manning. Your best bet is to choose a few that you wish to work with, signup and prep them and get started with the planning. There are many ways to automate or schedule posts, so that you don’t have to remember to do it on a daily basis. When your social media strategy is set on a calendar, then it allows for you you to deliver much higher quality posts. One other tip here is to create content that people would want to like, read and share.
8. Word of mouth
Chris Cowan, a market researcher, mentions that word of mouth recommendation still remains the most powerful way to gain new business. An effective recommendation means that you have to like something and share it with others. Rewards are irrelevant at this point in process, as many people refer movies they’ve watched, books they’ve read, without any concept of earning through doing so.
With the amount of headway we’re making in the digital world, word of mouth sort of happens in a virtual way, where someone is able to see your product, service or message and can share it almost immediately. It’s likened to having representatives that are helping you grow your business. A lot of it will relate to how familiar they are with you, the product or service and also where are they in their purchasing process at the time.
For someone to recommend you, they need to remember you or your business. It has to be the first thought that pops into their heads, which means that you have to find a way to ensure that your exchanges are memorable and that your clients are interacting with you. In this way, if they remember a great experience, they would gladly share what you do with anyone who asks!
Have a look at what Chris shares on the topic to see the true value of word of mouth referrals.
As you may have concluded, there are ways and means of marketing an online business, yet it will require planning and action. Franz Schrepf on TEDx also states: “There is no luck, only good marketing!” This makes me think about the theory of reaping what you put in. Marketing is so important to you business that it has direct impact on the scale of your operation. It can be the make it or break it part of your business.
I always explain to our clients that a website won’t receive any traffic without some sort of marketing strategy in place. This does not have to be a paid media campaign, but could refer to free options, that they may require a time investment. The more quality activity that you have going out there, will eventually bring in the business. It’s a matter of establishing the strategy and sticking to the plan to get your business up there.