The Internet is radically transforming the way we do business. When it comes to promotion most of us are turning online to both find, and market, new products and services. With more access to resources and more potential available online than ever before, online marketing is fast becoming the best option.
Yet, with so many tools at our disposal, some businesses are still not taking advantage of their online presence. Neglecting these fruitful opportunities by forgoing marketing, or delaying it as an unnecessary expenditure could be costing your business. There are so many easy-to-implement options that can have big payoffs and key strategies that can structure your company. Online marketing is simple and necessary – if you know what you’re doing.
This week, I’m walking you through the strategies I’ve found everyone should have in their business for online marketing.
Any marketing campaign needs to meet a few basics. These are the elements that give your campaign a boost or even just ensure that you’re getting the most out of your market. These necessary components all exhibit 5 crucial traits, which you can find in all of my strategies.
- Accessible: No one wants marketing to be too difficult. If it is, your customers are likely to give up before the campaign has served its purpose. As this reduces your sales and engagement, it’s a lose-lose for all involved. Try using some accessible strategies, such as engaging in existing conversations or offering rewards for your followers. With online marketing, it doesn’t hard to be hard or complicated.
- Expected: Your customers will expect you to have certain elements in place. This can range from terms and conditions to platforms for more information. Without these elements, your potential customers will not be getting the most out of your campaign or even be unable to engage with it. People expect you to have these elements and if you don’t, may think less of your company.
- Valuable: If executed well, your online marketing can have huge rewards. Whether you’re aiming to grow your following or your sales, you must be committed to producing valuable campaigns if you want to see the results.
- Time-sensitive: Simply put, the more time you invest in these strategies, the more powerful they can become. Likewise, the sooner you get involved with new techniques, the bigger payoff you could potentially see. Although the big online platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are great ways to connect, don’t be afraid to try out some smaller platforms. You don’t know what could be the next big thing, so be on the lookout for small platforms with big potential. Joining the next big thing in its early stages could put you miles ahead of your competition.
- Affordable: A big benefit of online marketing is the price. While there are still ways to spend big on online marketing, this isn’t necessarily the most lucrative route. There are simple ways to create incredible campaigns for low prices. From engaging well on social media to creating interesting and insightful content, your online marketing can be successful no matter your budget.
Bearing these 5 traits in mind is essential for planning your next marketing campaign. It’s the combination of these factors that makes your work in these areas necessary. With these in place, let’s look at what strategies are vital for your online marketing this year.
Successful businesses can gain a lot of momentum from the strong entrepreneurs who lead them. These figureheads can represent the business better than a message or impersonal logo. Through branding your leader before your company, you’ll have the opportunity to leverage a more trustworthy and personal image to promote your brand. Your customers will have a real face and personality to identify with, which helps to give the impression of transparency.
As well, it also gives you more power to meet and network with others, form more partnerships and lend a face to your otherwise faceless organisation. No matter how big or small your business, the personal touch makes your business stand out.
Who’s doing this well: You can’t think of Virgin without thinking of Richard Branson. Take his LinkedIn – Branson has over 10 million followers and was signed up to be the first and most inspirational official LinkedIn Influencer. In comparison, the best performing Virgin company page on LinkedIn only has 100,000 followers – 1% of its charismatic figurehead’s following.
On his LinkedIn, he frequently posts thought-pieces, blogs and comments – all of which drive traffic and attention to Virgin brands. As Branson gets hundreds of thousands of views for each blog on his LinkedIn, he is essentially providing free marketing for Virgin.
Richard Branson’s personal brand is so powerful that he uplifts every Virgin brand because of his iconic, entrepreneurial status. People relate to him and they buy from him. His PR stunts – brilliant and outlandish – usually go down well. From driving a tank down Fifth Avenue to attempting to fly around the world in hot air balloon, Branson makes headlines and attracts attention. For a business, this gives invaluable exposure.
What you can do: There are very few brands with an entrepreneur as followed as Richard Branson. But no matter what your size, you can still effectively use your leader for personal branding. Making sure that they are easily accessible and active on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter will give more opportunities to reach your target audience.
Exposure can be great. By showing your potential customers more about who founded your business and their personality, your brand could become more relatable. Personal stories often have a bigger impact than faceless, nameless and impersonal campaigns. Put a face to your brand!
Content marketing can take a variety of forms. Depending on how your form your strategy, it can also accomplish a number of different goals. For example, you could use white papers, ebooks and other long-form content to attract downloads, signups and conversions. Alternatively, you could use an on-site blog to attract more inbound traffic to your site. You could even use content as a form of help and troubleshooting.
Your content can work to meet any or all these needs and is invaluable to your business. It is an incredibly versatile tool to have at your disposal. With so many uses, it’s becoming a popular resource -your customers will expect you to have at least some of it in place for them.
Who’s doing this well: Being a global leader for furniture and housewares, you can expect IKEA to be skillful at marketing. It’s content marketing is no exception and shows how the brand manages to stay so popular. Though it has a blog which offers creative and stylish decorating techniques, it is the additional creative content initiatives that push the brand over the top.
In Autumn 2017, the retailer released the IKEA Place augmented reality app, which lets customers see how more than 2,000 pieces of furniture would look in their homes. The experience is actually really great since it’s true to scale, which helps users avoid putting together an item only to realize it’s too big for their space.
IKEA has an energetic community of social media followers, including more than 495,000 who create and follow IKEA inspiration boards on Pinterest, and 1.4 million on Instagram who regularly engage. The brand knows its audience well and is constantly showcasing new trends and how these can be found in one of their stores.
What you can do: With any strong content marketing, there are several elements that need to be carefully balanced in achieve your goals. When starting to plan your content, there are 5 key things you can bear in mind as a good starting point.
- Tell powerful stories
- Be honest and open
- Personalize where possible
- Quality over quantity — but if you can have both, then do
- Employ visual content at all costs
Try to show more of yourself and share ideas. Your content marketing can ease the process for your potential customers, meaning you’re more likely to create engagement. From helping your customers to directing more traffic to your site, content marketing – done well- is a great all-round asset for your company.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing can be difficult to get right. With proper planning and successful execution, it can be effective for practically any business. In Audience Bloom’s recent survey of 357 marketers, titled What Works in Online Marketing, social media marketing was noted as a strong performer. It had the highest percentage of respondents – 96% – who claimed they planned to increase or keep their social media marketing budgets the same over the next year. Social media marketing also had the third-highest average ROI rating, out of 10 strategies surveyed.
From Snapchat to Twitter, Instagram to Facebook, it is vital that you’re covering all your bases on social media.
Who’s doing this well: On all platforms of social media, Mexican food chain Taco Bell is striding ahead of its competition. Serving more than 2 billion customers each year at over 7,000 restaurants, the company is reaching its wide customer base through its powerful use of social media marketing.
They’re continuing to prove themselves as global leaders of social media marketing, creating a unique social media presence that is unparalleled by its competition. While the leading fast food chain, McDonald’s, may boast more collective followers, Taco Bell has managed to be levels ahead when it comes to engagement and the brand attention that their social media activity receives.
What has made Taco Bell so strong is its embracement of its brand personality. The fast food company have defined their youth-based demographic and have found a way to appeal to them through a witty and unapologetically sardonic sense of humour. By listening and engaging, Taco Bell isn’t just tapping a like button or copying and pasting a blurb, they are responding in a humanistic way that’s mixed with enough playfulness that it warrants a share from the recipient. They’ve also embraced a content strategy that goes beyond what Taco Bell creates internally.
Take their taco emoji campaign, for example. After the company realized that there was no taco emoji, they started a petition to get one. This was successful, with the company managing to receive over 33,000 signatures for their campaign. They followed this engagement booster by inventing a ‘Taco Emoji Engine’. This not only celebrated the taco emoji entering the texting game, it also prompted followers to tweet at them for a unique response. In the first five days of introducing the ‘Taco Emoji Engine,’ the company’s official Twitter page received more than half a million direct tweets.
What you can do: Know your audience. By understanding your brand’s demographic, you’ll be able to direct your marketing and develop a brand personality. Listening to what your audience wants or is interested in can help you shape your campaigns. The more directed and relevant they are to your audience, the more likely you’ll see your messages shared across social media.
Start campaigns that both reflect you as a brand and the interests of your audience. If done well, this can increase your following, engagement and brand recognition in one go. Social media marketing can give big rewards – if carefully executed.
These strategies all work together. While each can be pursued individually, all these strategies work and connect with each other in some way. It’s not enough to master just one. If you pursue them all, complementing your efforts across these multiple areas, you’ll see an even higher potential return. Online marketing takes time, but with good planning and plenty of patience, your business will reap the rewards.