In my last post I wrote about starting your own online business and I gave some ideas about selling products and services. That's all very well but the key to making sales of either products or services is marketing. Now marketing embraces a miriad of techniques and sub techniques, some formulas and undoubtedly a few systems too. However, the crux of the matter, when it comes down to it, is you must remember you are selling to another person.
If you always bear this in mind when you set out on planning your marketing strategy, then you will, or at least should always come out on top in terms of making profits. That's because prospects, traffic or whatever you want to call them are only people. They have feelings, wants and desires. They are emotional beings and buying anything other than essential food and perhaps some essential items of clothing will almost always be an emotional decision. So, understand your target market audience and remember they are human, just like you.
Okay, let's move on...
Let's get marketing...
Marketing is a vast subject and includes all forms of advertising from the shop window postcard to the £million TV ad. Online many people tend to think about obvious forms of marketing like Google Adwords or Facebook ads, without any consideration to their website content. Others will ensure their website content is fully optimised for the search engines, and then concentrate all energy and money into getting their website on page one of Google.
Some people prefer to rely on networking or social media or email marketing. I can't say exactly which method is going to be best for your business but I always advise my clients to try all of them and see what works. What I can say however, with some conviction, is there are some forms of marketing that are proven to be more successful than others. And by that I mean... have been responsible for making some people very rich... some of my clients amongst them. Looking at the complete picture, here are my thoughts and experiences on successful online marketing...
Start with your website...
It's no secret that people will do a Google search for whatever they are looking for, whether it's to buy something or just to find information about something so it makes a lot of sense to first start optimising your website. Always remember that Google is in business to provide searchers with the most relevant content relating to their search terms, or "keywords". The latter is so important you just cannot ignore it because keywords is what makes Google work for search traffic and for you.
To give your website a fighting chance of making any kind of impact, amongst all the competition, you'll need really good content on your website. That means it must be well written, with perfect English grammar and punctuation, and must it must be valuable to the reader. For example your content must relate to your products or services, offer some free information, be engaging or entertaining, and deliver your sales message. If you're not particularly good at copywriting then best call in a professional to deal with this very important aspect of your marketing. (Call me now on 01275 837 577)
Once your website content is right, you can then plan to send traffic to the site through free and paid services. There's absolutely no point in spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds in generating traffic and directing it to your website if the content is not up to standard. Now, I mentioned in an earlier post that the money is in the list, so build a list. Here's how...
Build a list...
When someone visits your website you should take every opportunity to engage with this prospect, and the best way to do this is to get them to opt-in to your mailing list. Subscribers can then be contacted by email over and over with offers and discounts and whatever else you want to promote. To build a list of prospects you will need to give them something of value for free. This could be a short ebook packed with information or tips and tricks. Your prospect can get a copy of this freebie by giving up their name and email in exchange. You'll need an email capture form for this and you can get one for free at: www.mailchimp.com
When people begin to subscribe to your emails you can contact them and offer some good advice or free information or just an update about your products and services. It's best to not try and sell them every time you email them because they will unsubscribe. Better to give information in one email and then offer them something to buy in the next one and so on etc. I've known people who have made an absolute killing from email marketing to their own list and they only had around 5-10K subscribers. A large list of subscribers is your ticket to financial success... guaranteed!
Generating traffic... Google Adwords
Okay, so you have the website, you have email capture installed... what next? Get traffic that's what! Many people I know in this business won't bother with free traffic generation methods because it's slow and cumbersome. I'm talking about article marketing, forum marketing and similar slow methods. These will of course work in time but to get instant traffic, and lots of it, you will have to pay for it. Let's look at Google Adwords first because this is still one of the most popular methods. It may seen simple... open a free Google Adwords account, load it with cash and then write a short ad. To be really successful at this you must understand the value of keywords and keyword phrases.
A keyword or keyword phrase is simply a word or series of words that people are likely to use when searching for what you are offering. However, you'll find that there is a lot of competing and you will have to bid on those keywords. In essence, the more you are prepared to pay, the more traffic is sent to your site. Now, Google has a thing about quality of website content and this is taken into consideration when you bid on keywords. They call it "Quality Score", which means your website is ranked according to the quality of your content and its value to to the searcher. Another reason why you must get your website right.
Generating traffic... Facebook
Facebook offer advertising in a similar form to Google but in my opinion has the edge when it comes to demographics. Being able to target people in a particular age group, male or female, within a specific location and pay less than Adwords is well worth considering. They do have a few silly rules you will have to follow but if you want traffic, try advertising here. I should also mention that it's a good idea to get a Facebook account, if you don't already have one, and create a page for your products and services. Them put a Facebook link on your website and ask visitors to follow you so that they can be kept up to date with all the latest blah blah blah. It's another way to create that all-important list.
Get creative with Facebook. People like funny stories, fluffy animals, babies and small children, and good luck / bad luck stories. Factor some of this in with your Facebook marketing alongside some nice friendly images and you're on your way. The key to getting lots of followers on Facebook, and Twitter for that matter, is to put something "out there" that will go viral. If you can come up with a story or a photo that has mass appeal then your marketing will take off like a rocket because there is a strong possibility it will be shared amongst other Facebook users, who may then pay you a visit and subscribe or even visit your website to buy something.
Generating traffic... Video
It's a fact that people who watch a video of your product or service are much more likely to buy from you. Video is huge... it's humongous and it has the potential to generate millions of views, some of which could become buyers. Google loves video content on websites and will reward the website by giving it a higher ranking in its search engine, as will Bing and Yahoo. We are accustomed to "seeing" advertising because we have all been brought up watching TV ads. So, if you want a good video, keep watching those million pound TV ads to get some ideas.
I saw the potential of video many years ago, so I set up a video production and marketing company, www.busyvids.co.uk - This was to be my way of getting a sales message across for my clients as well as writing their sales copy. Video works... it can be instant or it can be slow but it continues to work for months and years so it's a great investment in your business. The optimum length of video is around 60-90 seconds and should include lots of visuals by way of images and text. It's best if it has a professional voiceover and a soundtrack and if it's going onto Youtube it needs to be fully optimised.
Youtube is largest video platform and because Youtube is owned by Google you have the chance of getting your video into the general search pages too. There are several other video sharing platforms, some free and some paid. You'll need to try a few to gauge their effectiveness. Vimeo is probably one of the best. For more about video production and marketing contact me here: 01275 837 577
I don't pretend to have covered all the marketing methods worth looking at or even covered the above in any real detail, because marketing is a subject I could write about all day long and still not cover all the main points, advantages and disadvantages. However, I hope I have given enough to make this post worth reading. If you need any help just drop me a line. If you would like to book me for a consultation or some copywriting work then call me on 01275 837 577.
Consultations are £50 per 30 mins (Telephone and email)
Copywriting prices vary according to project - free quotation on request.
That's all for now but look out for my next post because I'm going to be looking at trends and how to spot them. This will be very useful for anyone who wants to know what best to sell and who to .