Whether you're selling online through Ecommerce, or have a brick and mortar business, finding customers is at the core of any advertising or marketing program you initiate. After all, if you don't have traffic or visitors, you won't have sales. The 'simple' solution is to increase your brand awareness and gain more customers.
Unfortunately, unless you have a huge budget and no brand awareness issues, it's not really 'simple'. You have to market to an internet generation who are fully aware of marketing tactics, and who are sick of them, and just paying for ads won't get you far unless you have the budget and expertise to match.
Driving customers to your business is a time consuming, complex, and sometimes an expensive process. You can get started, and with the least hassle possible, by moving your marketing efforts to the web. Digital marketing is incredibly valuable for any kind of business, simply because you can pay for what you get, and directly engage with customers. These tips will help you boost your brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website, so you can create leads and make sales.
Approach Your Marketing Like a Customer - If you're trying to market to your customers, you want to approach it in a way you would like to see a company market to you, and in a way that you would respond to. To get started, consider how you make purchases, think about how you search for things, and consider how you would find your own business. Try looking up comparable products to see how you would find them, and check what they are doing. This applies to every aspect of your brand marketing, including social media, PPC (pay per click), banner ads, content marketing, and even your product listings.
Offer Helpful Content Marketing - Content marketing includes most of the major forms of marketing on the web, and it will help you find both digital and brick and mortar customers. It involves search optimization, content marketing, web pages, and landing pages, which you can use in a variety of ways.
You may already know to use SEO or search optimization in content, but unless you have a completely unique niche, that's likely not enough to drive a great deal of traffic on its own. Most search engines use existing web traffic to rank sites, which means you need traffic to get traffic. Much like the old adage of you need experience to get experience, search engines demand you earn your spot to rank top of the search.
You can push helpful content to people buying your products, to your social media pages, and it is useful for long tail keywords or search phrases. Instead of marketing to people, offer them something in exchange for visiting your website. Helpful posts, informative content, and non-written content like video and other media can all help to increase your brand reach by building followers, whom you could turn into customers with the right marketing tactics. If you integrate search optimization into these strategies, you can capture people who are researching solutions to their own problems, or researching products. The primary goal of content marketing is to solve a problem for the consumer first, and market for your brand second.
Use Native Content - The cardinal rule of the web is that any content you post should be native to the platform it is on. This means that if you post on Instagram, you need high quality, artistic photos or 15 second videos. If you post on Facebook, you need photo media or lightweight text, and if you're posting on Twitter, you use 140 characters and hashtags. Design everything you post around the needs of the platform and its users. Native content is shareable content, which automatically increases your brand reach every time you post..
Master Social Media Marketing - Social media is probably one of the easiest ways to drive customers in today's media driven world, but it's also one of the easiest things to mess up. While it's tempting to simply post hard sales tactics, this method simply doesn't work. No one wants to follow someone who is just going to market to them. Instead, you should offer something that is useful. Whether that's entertainment, useful information, or something funny, the majority of the posts should be useful. Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk outlines this idea in his book Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook, and it's one that works for major brands. Incentives, like offering a discount to people who come in to your business from your social media channel is also a way to boost sales, but might not be good for boosting long term sales. The key to successful social media marketing is to build relationships with consumers, solve their problems, or even help them with making purchases.
Utilize Local Pages - Google + Local is the largest of these networks, and despite it’s recent updates it’s still going strong, but Yahoo, Bing, Angie’s List, and Yelp are all similar services. Local pages list your website when people look for businesses offering your service in your area. You want to be listed on all of them, make sure that your location is verified, and then ask the customers you do have to review your business. Google Local is one of the most valuable of these, because it's integrated into the most popular search engine in the world. When people search "this product in this location" your business will be listed on the top of the search, on a map if you're in the top five in your area. This is incredibly valuable for increasing your web presence, and therefore both traffic and sales, because they are on websites that are already heavily trafficked, and you will show up when those website users look for a business offering your services.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Reviews - When you start a media campaign, you can easily turn it into a referral campaign through peer reviews. Because most Internet users trust peers more than professional reviews, these opinions are valuable, providing you’re offering a quality product and even better service. The simplest example includes asking your existing customers to write reviews on your social media, Yelp, or other pages. Not only will this show up when other people see your business, it will also show your customers friends that they reviewed you, which boosts your immediate and long-term reach. Customer feedback of any kind is extremely valuable, so offering your products to bloggers or users for free in exchange for publicity can be a good idea as well.
Build Your Brand - Building your brand isn't something that's going to happen overnight, but it is the most important part of driving sales over the Internet. The web is a big place, so the best way to get noticed is to aim the majority of your marketing efforts at the local audience. For example, use local city and neighborhood keywords, talk about local events, and make sure you're listed on pages that show your business based on area searches. Finally, and most importantly, engage with the audience you already have, be authentic, and remember that you're there to entertain them first, and send them to your website second. If your brand isn't something that you would trust, or think of when you needed the product you sell, then you're doing it wrong. Good branding will create customers, simply because people remember you when someone else needs your product, and recommend you.
Digital marketing, branding, and brand management are skills that you have to learn, and hone to perfection in order to succeed on the web. For many small businesses, hiring a professional marketing agency to create plans, strategies, or to handle your entire marketing campaign, can create better results. If you are interested in a free website and marketing review, contact ArchiTechs for the Web, we are here to help!