Often times website owners focus a large percentage of their efforts on working with their web design team to create a great looking and functional website, but tend to neglect to plan for how to properly market said website. When it comes to Internet marketing and online advertising, there is no ‘one size fits all’ way to go about it (unless of course budget is of no concern) so it’s always best to spend some time thinking about your audience, your goals, and taking a very careful audit of the tools available to reach that audience and your goals.
Local Website Advertising
If your business is primarily focused on attracting local customers to an attraction or service, it’s very important that you identify a couple of Internet marketing strategies and tools that will give the best return on your investment of time and money. First and foremost, being well ranked on Google Places and Google Maps can really make all of the difference for a business. In order to rank well, you not only need to have very well optimized Local Listing profiles, but you should also be represented on as many valued local listing websites as possible. Some examples of local listing websites are Google+, Yelp, FourSquare, CityPages and localdatabase.com. Further, all of your listings should be identical, having two listings with two different addresses will hurt more than it will help. Often times, creating and optimizing all of these directory listings can be a tedious task, so by working with a company like Yext you can pay a modest monthly fee and they handle all of the creation, optimization and modifications for you. What’s even more valuable is that in the situation where you need to modify your business address, phone number, or any other information, a tool like Yext will let you modify one time and they will then push the changes to all of the directories almost instantly.
Once your website and it’s online presence is well optimized, it may be worth looking into a form of paid advertising. Depending on the audience you are trying to reach, there are a number of different advertising channels available on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) basis. Often times, local business owners are more budget conscious, which makes advertising through channels like Google Adwords much more difficult due to the higher cost for inventory. In this case, it’s best to try and identify places other than Google where your audience may be and buying ads there. For instance, if you own a Real Estate business, advertising through Zillow could be a far more affordable channel with a strong ROI. Other channels that are typically lower cost but still effective are Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and local news channel websites.
Advertising For Products & Brands
If you have a brand or product that you’re trying to promote online, foot traffic in to a physical location is probably not nearly as big of a concern for you, whereas the overall awareness and positioning for your product within your audience are. Considering these goals, there are several channels in which you could advertise, but at this level it’s always best to diversify your advertising budget across 2 or more channels just to make sure you’re hitting your audience in as many places and as often as possible.
To start, using display advertising to showcase your product within ads on popular websites, would definitely be an advised approach for just about anyone in this space. In order to get your product recognized and to get people to look at it, it often takes more than just a bit of text to convince them. By creating visually appealing ads with attractive calls to action on advertising channels that are in-line with the type of content your audience would likely be interested in, you can reach thousands of people a day for just a couple of dollars per thousand.
Depending on the type of brand or product you’re promoting though, there are any number of options you can use for your secondary method of promotion. One advertising strategy that’s becoming increasingly popular is known as Influencer Marketing. This is the act of identifying 3-5+ ‘influencers’, or people with large, engaged following on various social media channels, and asking them to review or promote your product. Typically, the influencer will request free product in addition to payment, so this is definitely not a free form of advertising, but the potential for awareness, virality and ultimately return on your investment are large, as if you work with the correct influencers you can easily hit hundred’s of thousands if not millions of engaged followers in a day or two.
Advertising For National & International Businesses
Once your business is competing at the national or international level, your online advertising really takes on completely new goals and strategies. At this level, the competition pool is typically much smaller, and you’re typically competing for market share and awareness. In this situation, it’s definitely beneficial to have a large, extensive PPC campaign running through Google Adwords to ensure you’re putting your business name and offering in front of as many people looking for your services as possible. Google Adwords PPC can get to be very expensive, but at a certain point, the more clicks you drive, the more conversions you ultimately make, which can make your ROI skyrocket.
Further, customer relationship management should be a major strategy that is focused on as once you attain the customer you will want to make sure they’re not able to be stolen away by the competition. Creating social campaigns via Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram is a great way to quickly disseminate creative content to a large amount of people, but will also give you the chance at that “viral opportunity” everyone is looking for. These social channels also provide a platform in which your customers can communicate directly with you to ask questions, give feedback, or share information. Giving customers the option to directly communicate with a corporation is something that inspires confidence and will help to retain your current customers while inspiring potential customers to work with your business.
Retargeting, or remarketing, is a strategy that every business, no matter the size or location, should utilize. Retargeting is a very simple advertising strategy that works like this. First, you place a tracking pixel on your website that logs when the visitor enters, and another that tracks when they exit. If they exit your website without completing a desired action, for instance, a purchase, they will then be included in the ‘remarketing pool’. Now, when these users visit any number of websites or social channels within your retargeting network, they will be delivered display ads from your business, reinforcing your brand and brand message, encouraging them to return to your website and complete a purchase. This method of advertising does not secure any new website visitors for you, but is very effective at recapturing any conversions or customers that otherwise may have continued shopping elsewhere.