I have watched many a proprietor try to build an on line marketing campaign, only to get tripped up on some key points. So I thought I would assemble my “7 pillars of online marketing success” for you. Here they are>
Pillar 1: A Website You Control
You must operate your own website, which enables you to make basic changes to it yourself, preferably right through your web browser. Waiting for a “webmaster” to update text and pictures does not qualify as a smart use of your time or money. WordPress, an open-source (free) publishing platform, makes an excellent choice for managing and organizing virtually any size website.
Pillar 2: Google Maps
Google now stands alone as the “900 lb. Gorilla” of the online search world. However, most don’t realize that “Google Maps” is the most basic component of local online marketing with Google. Get all the details at Google.com/places/. This tool is one of the fastest ways to get found in Google and, best of all, it’s free!
Pillar 3: Basic SEO
SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” which means making your website relevant when someone searches for your business name or terms related to what you sell. Building all the content, information, and text on your site around a central theme is the No. 1 thing you can do to increase your chances of ranking well in Google and other search engines.
Pillar 4: Make Value-Added Offers
Most people don’t make offers on their websites. Their web pages look like everyone else’s and say basically the same things. You must make offers on your site that spur people to action. Offer a discount or faster service. Give an incentive to come in today. Most important: Make your offers big, bold and obvious on your site while giving people a reason to do business with you right now!
Pillar 5: Drive Traffic
You won’t make a dime with your website if the right people don’t see it. The fastest way to drive traffic is to buy it, specifically with the Google AdWords pay-per-click program. Pay-per-click means you only pay when someone clicks your “sponsored” ad on the search engine listings, and Google’s AdWords is the largest pay-per-click advertising network. However, make sure you set up a “geo-targeted” campaign when starting out so only people in your local area see your ads (instead of wasting time and money showing your ads to people who could never patronize your local business).
Pillar #6: Local List Building
Building up a local following that you communicate with using online tools rates as one of the smartest and most cost-effective things every local business can do. Whether through email, text, Twitter or Facebook (or some new tool), communicating with a targeted group and providing value-added information and offers can bring huge rewards. One coupon with the right offer to the right audience can turn a ho-hum Thursday into a blockbuster sales day.
Pillar #7: Consistent Follow-Up
The biggest online marketing mistake I see people make is NOT following up with prospects and customers. Use email and other communication tools to keep in contact with your prospects and customers and give them reasons to do business with you (by making offers) while providing useful information they want. As a wise man once said, “The fortune is always made in the repeat business.”