Plan Your Online Marketing

Many businesses do a good job of throwing up a website with all the basics—a bit on who they are, what they do and how to contact them. However, most small to medium sized businesses fail to recognize the fact that their website should be working for them. Their website should be functioning as an additional sales arm to the company which, by far has the broadest reach of any sales tool they have.

Hoping that a customer is going to land on your home page (if they can find it) and pick up the phone and convert themselves into a customer is becoming more and more of a pipe dream. From a standpoint, the web is becoming increasingly more and more competitive with millions of websites and topics vying for the typical web surfer's attention. It becomes even more diluted when innocent surfers are often duped into thinking they have performed an accurate search query only to be fooled by the countless affiliate websites that have popped up recently.

An integrated approach to online marketing is critical to the overall success of your marketing efforts. The first question that should be asked is, "What function do I want my website to perform?" There are many successful companies out there whom are completely content with providing informational content to their visitors without engagement. However, if you're like most business owners, you probably would prefer to turn that web visitor into a customer or at the very least a lead.

For most businesses, the following approach to online marketing should do a good job of covering the bases:

  • Basic on-page SEO

  • Initial directory submissions

  • Continual content creation

  • Social media

  • Paid search

  • Email marketing

    In future posts, we'll dive deeper into these individual subjects, but for now, a brief overview:

    -On-page SEO:

    -Proper page title, meta description and search keywords embedded into copy

    -Directory Submissions:

    The basics: Google, Bing, Yahoo (which I heard is changing to free) and DMOZ

    Content Creation:

    The more pages you develop on a continual basis, the better. Google crawlers like to see websites with new and relevant keyword rich content.

    Social Media:

    Facebook and Twitter are excellent vehicles for driving targeted web traffic to specific landing pages on your website

    Paid Search/Google Adwords:

    A properly set up and managed Google pay per click campaign can position your company in front of potential customers immediately. No other vehicle promotes your company to individuals searching for your product or service better or more efficiently than Google Adwords.

    Email Marketing:

    Stay in front of your existing customers through loyalty campaigns and endear yourself to new ones through new product or service promotions.

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  • Executing a PR marketing strategy

    Once you have your press release written you will need to execute the press release campaign strategy.

    There are 3 stages to executing a successful PR campaigns:
    • Pre press release distribution

    • Distributing and marketing your press release

    • Post press release follow up
    Pre Press Release Distribution

    Before you actually start distributing your press release a little extra work and effort to contact key media contacts can pay big dividends.
    1. Contact selected editors and journalists who work at the publications and media outlets that you are targeting.
    2. Introduce yourself to them and ask for their permission to send them your latest press release.
    3. Ask them what kind of press releases are of most interested in.
    4. Let them know you will sending over a press release and let them know they can contact you should they have further questions.
    Distributing and marketing your press release

    Create an email to accompany your Press Release. We have included the email that we use to send out press releases, you can adapt this for your own use.

    Make sure you include your press release as part of the body of your email, DO NOT send as an attachment as many journalists and editors will delete it based on the potential for viruses.

    In addition to sending your press release directly to contacts in your media contacts database you can also do the following to promote the press release and get more coverage.

    Distribute the release through online PR distribution sites

    The first thing you will need to do is optimize your press release so it is more compatible for search engines to recognize. We have included a basic guide on how to optimize your release below.

    Once you have optimized your release you can use a number of online distribution websites to send out your press release.

    Successful Email Marketing

    A successful email campaign will have a number of different components that you need to focus on designing. This guide is designed to give you insight into each of these elements and some guidelines on how to design each element.

    Remember if you are new to email marketing it is a very different medium to print advertising and is viewed and read in a different way.

    With a print advert or brochure you know exactly how every single viewer will see your piece and that they can take time to read it if they wish as the ad is in a print form which is tactile and more conducive to being read.

    An email can be displayed in a number of different ways depending on the viewers screen size, resolution and a whole host of email client settings and whilst you can not ensure your message will be displayed perfectly in every case you can take advantage of some of the design guidelines in this guide to give your campaign the best chance of success.

    An email is something that someone receives that interrupts what they are doing rather than a piece of collateral that they have chosen to read. Generally people are in the middle of working, surfing the internet or answering other emails.

    Should you send a graphical HTML email or a plain-text email? It depends on your objectives.

    Email Subject Lines

    The main objective of your email subject line is to get the recipients attention and have them captivated enough to go on and open the email to read more.

    Email marketing subject lines are one of the most important features of your entire campaign. If your recipient does not open or read your email, your efforts were wasted, your message was not heard, and your products were not sold. Recipients filter their inboxes faster than ever before, and decide on whether to delete or read an email just a half second after reading the subject line.

    The goal of your subject is that it has the ability to stand out in a crowded inbox while compelling the reader to open your email message. It needs to grab the attention of the recipient and communicate the purpose of the message in a creative way that makes the reader want to open the email to learn more.

    Crafting a good subject line takes creativity and imagination as the author must convey a lot of information in a few short words. However, there are some guidelines and best practices that marketers must follow in order to ensure the emails are opened and not deleted.