Online marketing strategies for online businesses can often mean the difference between success and failure. With so many people using the Internet to discover and choose Products and Services being seen online is becoming a necessity for a modern business.
It used to be that having a listing in Yellow Pages and depending on word of mouth or print media would get you leads, but even the old Yellow Pages is being forced to change in response to the increased usage of the Internet by people in making purchasing decisions. The ‘old ways’ are no longer sufficient on their own to ensure enough presence to get quality leads.
So what is a business to do? Luckily, there are quite a few things that can be done now to take control of the situation and start winning custom by your website. Several of these are detailed below for you as a starting point:
I cannot stress the importance of this enough, without precise measurement you will have absolutely no idea what is working and what is not. Without measurement you are in the realms of pure guess work and often expensive & fruitless stabs in the dark.
Do you know which pages most people visit? Do you know which product or service most people look at and why? Do you know where they leave your website?
If you cannot answer such questions – then how can you expect to refine or improve your website (and its lead generation) in a progressive way?
Google Analytics tracks a whole load of metrics, including (but not limited to):
- Page views
- User demographics (age,location)
- Browsers and mobile devices used
- Speed of page loading
- Navigation through the website
- What people actually clicked on for each page
- Page ‘bounce rate’ i.e. how many people came to your site and left immediately.
The tool is undergoing constant improvement and considering its free to use is very advantageous. Go and set it up now.
Determine your online goals
Now that you have everything being measured online in fine detail you need to turn your attention to setting some goals. Goals in Google Analytics are specific events or outcomes you want tracked in their own right. It could be as simple as people viewing your contact form, right up to people performing an online order.
Why would you want to track such outcomes in Google Analytics? The simple reason is they become another variable by which you can monitor and examine how people are using your website; which can then be compared against all the other variables being recorded – think if it as a light you can shine through all the recorded data to easily extract relationships and facts that were hidden before.
Now don’t go mad and put in goals for everything, rather focus on the top 5 goals that are on the path to the most desirable outcome (for the business) – i.e. what generates leads and sales. Everything else at this stage is not that critical and if required can be filtered from the reports in Google Analytics.
A neat trick, if you are running an Adwords campaign, is that you can combine Google Analytics and Google Adwords together to track right from the ad to the final goal you care about.
Another neat trick is that if you have Google Webmaster set up (and if you haven’t why not – its free) you can share data from Google Webmaster to Google Analytics – so in the one place you can see the keywords that were used to access your website.
Make sure everything works on mobile
You probably do not know this, but it is trending that sometime in the next 18 months the majority of all Internet traffic will come from mobile devices such as a smart phones and tablets. This is important to your business, as your website will need to be something termed ‘mobile responsive’ to be usable on all these devices. Without it your website runs the risk of becoming unusable.
There is a simple check you can perform to check if you website is set up correctly for mobile:
- Get hold of a smart phone (like an iPhone or Samsung)
- View your website on it
- If the website looks very small and hard to read – it has not been set up to be mobile responsive.
Not being mobile responsive will mean up to 50% of all your visitors will go else where for products and services as they will be unable to use your website…
Make sure your website is fast, really fast
Nothing puts people off using a website than one which is slow to load. In fact, studies have shown that a website which takes longer than 4 seconds to load will loose 75% of visitors instantly… Which when combined with the increase in mobile usage (and the slow networks people often encounter) is a frightening situation to be in. When you did the mobile responsive test above, was your website fast to load?
Also the speed of loading of your website is a factor in how Google calculates its site rankings, have a slow website and Google will lower your ranking. Conversely have a fast website and Google will give you a higher ranking. So a slow website is a double edged sword, it loses you visitors and it loses you search traffic.
There are many ways to improve the speed of a website, but unfortunately they are all technical and require specific set up to make the website actually go faster – Aykira can help with this.
Find out how people actually use your website
Something most businesses do not do, but should do, is when you get enquiry or an order placed online, ask them two things:
- How find you find the website?
- Is there anything you think should be improved on the website?
Not only does this gain you valuable information on how your marketing efforts are working, it shows that you are actually willing to listen to your customers and improve as a result.
Apply the 20/80 rule to your website
The essence of this is, using the metrics and measurements you took, focus on what really matters to your lead or sales generation on your website and ignore everything else. I know hard to do, but if you focus on the core path to achieving leads or sales – the likelihood of making a meaningful difference goes up significantly.
So what sort of things could this mean doing? It could mean:
- Putting more information on your product pages
- Making your contact form easier to fill in
- Simplifying the options on certain key pages
- Creating more engaging landing pages
- Adding testimonials and examples of your work
You can only do this based on what the metrics are telling you, if people are visiting the contact page but not filling in the form, is there something wrong with the form? If people are visiting some products page and leaving quickly – is the information on there actually making sense? The metrics will tell you where the problem is and to whom but it won’t be able to exactly tell you what the problem is – this is where getting feedback from people who visit your website is so important.
Social online marketing strategies
To be honest you should be looking at social marketing strategies once you are happy that your website in of itself is set up the best way you can to generate leads or sales. Piling into social networks with a website that is not firing on all cylinders will only magnify your problems and lead to more frustration. i.e do everything above first, at least.
So, if you are happy that the website is ‘tuned’ – how do you engage with social networks, I would recommend that you require:
- A Facebook business page
- A LinkedIN business page (need 100 people in your network before you can do this BTW)
- A Twitter account
- A Google Plus account and page
and thats it, chasing after all the other social networks is not required- remember the 80/20 rule – the four I have listed drive the vast majority of online social interaction.
So once you have all this set up, what do you do with it? You can start with following:
- Write a blog post once a week – may sound like a tail order to produce a blog post (must be at least 500 words!) but you should have something to blog about, be it a new product, a testimonial, a bit of news you want to share etc. No need to write war and peace online, but you should aim to be informative, relevant and up to date;
- Share the fact you have written that blog post across all your social accounts (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter and Google Plus) with a link back to your blog post.
- Actually Like what you write (a lot of people miss this)
- On your Facebook page share images or videos which relate directly to your business
- On your LinkedIN business page, create product or services pages
We also suggest you go and have a look around for forums which relate to your customers and go in and contribute, putting the occasional link back to your website where it is directly relevant – do not spam.
Online marketing combined with traditional offline strategies can offer businesses a very powerful way of interacting with potential customers, as well as being able to precisely measure what is occurring so the website can be improved over time.
If you are looking for someone to help you with your online marketing or general website needs, then please call us on (02) 8407 8060 or fill in our contact form .