You probably have a dozen items on your to-do list.
With a jam-packed schedule, small business owners can’t afford to dilly-dally around with initiatives that offer little or no return on investment (ROI).
Finding and attracting as many qualified buyers as possible is the goal that keeps your business growing and thriving. But how do you do it?
Web marketing is the answer. And most small business owners want to know – what is web marketing?
Maybe you have dipped your toe into web marketing. You may have even jumped in full force. Or, you might have avoided it all together because of the time you think it will take, or you don’t see the value.
What if we told you that using web marketing can triple your business? Because it can!
Let’s dive into what web marketing is, why you should care, and how to use it to help your business explode with new customers.
What is web marketing?
Web marketing is the process of using the Internet to market your business. It includes the use of social media, search engines, blogging, videos, and email.
Promoting a business takes effort. There are a variety of ways to do it. Traditional advertising in newspapers, on the radio and television, direct mail, and billboards has been around for decades.
Web marketing takes your message to the big wide web. With tons of people using the internet every day, there are huge opportunities to get your product or service in front of people who need or want it.
Drilling down into it, web marketing takes many forms. Banner ads, email promotions, and social media posting are three of the ones you have probably heard about. They, and more, live under the “web marketing” umbrella.
What are the benefits of web marketing?
Now that we’ve answered what is web marketing, let’s discuss the benefits. Marketing on the web gives you unique benefits that other advertising and promotion avenues don’t.
Web marketing is cost-effective.
Other, more traditional forms of marketing cost companies an arm and a leg! Facebook ads, for example, are 3 times cheaper and more targeted than radio, television, or print ads. Using the internet to expand and engage your audience is much less expensive, as long as you have a plan in place in advance that helps pinpoint your desired audience.
Web marketing is focused.
Few other advertising options allow you to target the specific demographics of your customer like web marketing. Set your message to show up on websites your prospects are likely to visit, be visible to certain industries and geographic locations, and even target by age or education range in some cases. Nary a television, radio ad, or billboard can do that for you.
Web marketing builds relationships.
Many marketing options end up being annoying noise to the very consumers your are trying to reach. When done right, web marketing is actually helpful to your prospects. It can offer solutions and address pain points. This makes it more effective at starting conversations and building trust than other types of marketing.
Web marketing is easy to adapt and edit.
Social media advertising, banner ads, or other online campaigns can be tweaked and revised quickly and with little fanfare. With preferences changing constantly, this is a big benefit to you. New pricing, additional products, and time-sensitive sales can all be handled easily with web marketing initiatives.
Web marketing is measurable and easy to measure ROI.
How successful are your current ad campaigns? What is the amount of business they have garnered you? Sometimes those answers are difficult to formulate. One of the best benefits of web marketing is its ability to quantify results. You can set up URLs that are only present in the ads you place. That way you can see exactly where the leads are being generated. The same goes for landing pages. Being able to see what works and what doesn’t helps streamline marketing’s efforts, and save time and money.
While you may understand the benefits of marketing your business on the web, you may not be clear on how exactly it is relevant to your business. Perhaps it’s challenging to try to find the time to learn new processes. Or, you may be satisfied with your traditional marketing results and see no reason to rock the boat.
Why is web marketing relevant to you?
To commit to a consistent online marketing and advertising initiative, you must believe that it will bring positive change and growth to your business.
You can build deeper connections with your customers.
Customer loyalty is priceless when trying to build a brand. If you strategically use web marketing, you can set your company apart as an industry expert and establish trust in your product or service.
You can reach a large number of buyers.
Most old-school marketing is bound by perimeters that don’t exist in web marketing. For example, a radio ad can only be heard in a certain number of geographical locations. A billboard is only seen from the drivers who are on that particular road. Internet marketing reaches worldwide! Customers you would have never encountered by any other means can show up on your website as a buyer through web marketing.
You can use web marketing to complement what your current strategy.
It may sound like we are throwing all other marketing under the bus, and that’s not the case. Web marketing can energize the efforts of your current marketing strategy. Companies can continue using some of their tried-and-true efforts and add online promotions into the mix. It is true, however, that after a bit of time, many companies spend most of their marketing efforts on their web strategy and decrease their budgets on other forms of marketing. Web marketing just performs that good!
The great news is that, by thinking about and educating yourself on how marketing on the web can increase your business, you’ve already taken a few steps down the path to success.
The next points to ponder are the types of marketing that you want to pursue.
What are the different types of web marketing?
Using the internet to connect with and engage buyers is a smart move. But where do you begin? The options are overwhelming, and few companies jump into all of them at once. Here’s a brief overview of your possibilities.
Creating emails about your product or service and then sending them to a base of prospects is one of the most widely used forms of web marketing. Email marketing is inexpensive and can be highly targeted. For every dollar spent, email marketing generates thirty-eight dollars in ROI.
The downside is that consumers get tons of emails in their inboxes everyday, so, unless you nail your message, it may end up in the trash folder, unread and neglected.
Social media marketing
Creating a company profile and engaging on social media has developed many small companies into thriving powerhouses. As with email marketing, this form of web marketing is inexpensive and getting into it is simple. However, throwing up posts every now and then without a set calendar won’t set you up for a rousing success.
You have probably heard the phrase “content is king”. Content marketing is exploding as an effective web marketing tool. Companies that post blogs on a regular basis see four times the website traffic as the companies that don’t.
The reason is simple.
People search for answers on the internet. The company that doles out helpful, easy-to-understand answers that are relevant to their questions win the grand prize of loyalty and trust. A steady stream of high-quality content strategically distributed can double, triple, and quadruple a company’s sales!
Search engine optimization
Keywords, links, Oh My! Companies aiming to get more business from their online efforts will need to sink their teeth into search engine optimization, or SEO. Mastering this technique helps your content get ranked higher in those all-important search engine searches, drives more traffic to your website, and increases the chances of capturing more sales dollars.
If you are operating in an industry that is already competitive online, it might be tough to get to the top of the search rankings. This is when you should consider….
Google ads (or PPC Advertising)
An astonishing 2.3 million searches are performed on Google every second. Companies can pay to be at the top of the search, ahead of the organic returned results. Google ads are a valuable part of web marketing because they put your business in front of an audience that is already searching for information about your product or service. They are also cost-effective, because you set a budget in advance and only pay for click-throughs.
Companies can choose to advertise on certain websites where their buyers are likely to visit. Good choices of these are industry publications and associations. The website typically charges a fee to each company that wants to advertise. Prices vary depending on the size and placement of the ad.
The key to making display ads a success are to know what attracts your prospects, and then being able to capture their information once they click through your landing page.
Has a lead visited your website and then clicked away? 49% of buyers visit a website between 2-4 times before making a purchase.
Retargeting is a form of web marketing that can bring them back into your sales funnel.
For example, a person looks at your website. Your site drops a cookie that is a trail leading you back to them. When they visit other sites, your retargeting ad shows up as a banner, reminding them of your company. If they click on it, they will be routed back to one of your awesomely designed landing pages.
Retargeting is essential in re-engaging potential customers who, for one reason or another, didn’t complete their transaction with you.
Now you see how in-depth and multi-faceted the term web marketing actually is. Savvy business leaders know to put time into their decisions of which options to use, so they get the most return on their investment of time and cash.
How can you get started with web marketing?
If you have used web marketing already or are just getting started, you need a plan to wring the most success out of your efforts. Some actionable insights that help you build a good one are:
Set your goal
A plan without a goal is a rudderless ship. What are you trying to accomplish? Don’t just say “get more sales”. That’s too broad. Dig into what you really want to accomplish. Is it to grow your website traffic? Increase your social media followers? Expand your email database? The better you are at laying out your goals, the more likely web marketing will help you reach and exceed them.
Understand your buyer
Relating to your buyer’s problems and pain points and addressing their needs is crucial to your entire marketing strategy, especially with web marketing. Since you are able to target your buyers so precisely through online activities, if you are aiming for the wrong consumer, you are likely to fail spectacularly.
Put time into developing your buyer persona. Figure out the topics they would be interested in, and then use these as your marketing base.
Choose your tools
As we mentioned previously, there are many choices to make when diving in to web marketing. Think about your customer, the time you can devote to your online marketing initiative, and your budget. Pick the avenues that you can devote ample time to so they can be developed and nurtured properly. Social media posting, email marketing, and content marketing are smart ones to kick off with. The ultimate decision depends on your specific company and goals.
Craft your message
Your branding message needs to be consistent and succinct to build recognition and loyalty. Decide on what you want your leads to remember about you and then share that message across the channels you have chosen to use. Avoid the temptation of veering off-course with other messages that don’t fit into your original brand.
Organize and commit
Decide who will manage your web marketing efforts. Choose someone who buys into the relevancy of online promotion. This may be the time to consider hiring an agency to handle this for you.
Ask that they create and maintain a content calendar that shows ongoing planning of the blogging, social media, SEO, and other online advertising efforts. It’s vital that the person in charge of these tasks stay focused and diligent about doing them consistently. Lack of strategy and advertising and blogging whenever you “get around to it” won’t reach your goals nearly as smoothly.
Measure and revise
One of the best things about marketing on the internet is the ability to directly measure ROI. Periodically review the results and see if you are reaching your goals with current efforts. If not, pinpoint what isn’t working and edit it.
If you are killing it, figure out what specifically is making it such a success. Digesting analytics may seem boring, but it’s this type of information that makes future efforts even more prosperous.
Once you understand what is web marketing, it is time to start executing. Otherwise you are falling behind your competitors and will most likely start seeing less ROI from your traditional marketing efforts.
Buying into what is web marketing, the benefits of web marketing, and how it is relevant to your business can energize your entire marketing initiative and breathe new life into your strategy so you can triple your sales!