Businesses and enterprises today are facing huge challenges. Brick and mortars entities are increasingly replaced by online counterparts. More and more people are ready to access your products and services online, whether it be the traditional desktop or mobile, smart phones and tablets. Trends are changing fast and for businesses to retain their customer base, a lot of new digitally oriented efforts needs to be made. But at the same time getting new customers cutting accross geographical locations is getting much easier if your business is able to acclimatise to new online realities. There are growing technologies for precision targeting of your brands, Advertisement. Opportunities exist as never before. But so are the challenges. This guide will lead you through 21 most trusted online marketing techniques or trends that will help your business in customer acquisition, better engagement and customer retention. This will help you prioritise your online marketing efforts.
Search Engine Optimization
Getting your top business keywords placed in search engine results will always be one of your top priorities. SEO helps you to rank for the terms that have maximum user intent, naturally target users though keywords who are actually searching for that products. Search engines are placing great efforts at bettering their search results. Lot of anti spamming algorithm have been brought such as Penguin, panda and Hummingbird. All places greater importance on better content, natural link building and above all best usability experience. It is not only for ranking for desired keywords, to remain in top of SERPs means lot of efforts which you could have ignored earlier.
You Need SEO for:
- Ranking for high volume keywords to remain ahead of your competitors
- Exploiting high intent long tail keywords that form considerable portion of your traffic if properly targeted
- Provide better user experience, enhance CTR, explore new target opportunities
- Gain trust in the eyes of search engines
The social media landscape is changing quite fast and instead of being a medium for big brands to just have a presence, it has turned mainstream. It is now core business function for many enterprises. Social Media is now social enterprise. Whole lot of ideas are generating out of this: Big data is an offshoot of abundance of data due to social usage. Whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook effective social media strategy will definitely get you more visitors.
You have to explore social Media for
- Precise branding of your enterprise
- Customer engagement – precise measurement of your visitor engagement and turning them into leads
- Online Reputation Management. Listening to your customers voice
- And of course, more visitors
- Social media ads to target the audience of your choice
Social Media is not only LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
Social Media is not only LinkedIn, twitter and Facebook. You have to develop a social media strategy through which you plan to engage and acquire customers. New channels are emerging. Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram are to name a few. Forums like Quora are emerging that forms new ways in which you can attract customers. Exploit social sharing, get social analytics on a serious note and go for social apps. Build authority in your circles.
Get Visits from Relevant forums – Be an authority
People are more and more depending on authoritative reviews and recommendations before making their purchase decisions. You have to engage with relevant business forums where people looking from your services can visit and research. Contribute in those channels, build relationship, and engage positively with review sites. Engaging with this platform will help you to:
- Get authority status in your business domain and hence also look trustworthy
- Positive reviews means more intent and conversion
- Link your contribution from your site for reference to enable customers see your sincerity
- Of course more visitors than your competitors
Have some paid Campaign Budget?
There are traditional PPC campaigns that most business are aware of. But new forms of paid marketing are emerging. Especially for small business they might be relevant for driving high ROI. Google enhanced campaigns and similar local targeting by Bing must be mentioned here. Facebook Ads on Mobile must also be explore. Same is the case for Linked in especially for company services search. Explore what is best medium for you. 60% of all searches are local searches. These features will help you get visitors at low cost as this space is still very less competitive.
The internet is moving towards a convergent media. Visual Marketing is getting more prominence in marketing strategies. They are shareable and communication of the message is tremendous as compared to traditional textual medium. Attention time span for average user is reducing and Videos are filling in the gaps for attracting the visitors to expose them to different form of communication & engagement. For some mediums such as Mobiles in fact they are the preferred ones. It is no wonder that You Tube is the second largest search engine. Now instead of text testimonials now you have video testimonials and have also been great source of user generated content. Businesses should create high quality engaging videos and share them in relevant platforms.
- Develop a good You tube Channel
- Develop a company explainer video
- Submit your videos to some good video submission sites
- Include your company introduction video in all external communication from your enterprise
Create & Share High Quality Images
Pinterest have taken the internet users by storm. So has Instagram. Image use and sharing is a reality and only growing in popularity. Visual media integrated with content is the preferred content marketing strategy now. You seldom find content without images. It shows that users are more prone to share your images and videos. Almost 12-13 % of the web search is images. It is part of search engine integrated search feature now and some search engines like Google suggest you images for location based searches as part of their algorithm. They can form important source of visitors for your enterprise.
- Tag Your images – very meaningfully on your site
- Explore sharing images on Instagram
- Activate your Pinterest profile
- Activate your Flicker Profile
Search engines now places far more importance on Unique, fresh and relevant content. There is an all out war by search engines to penalise shallow content sites. Interesting content are important source of natural link building. They incentivise the users to share your content. They help improve social signals for your site. Diversify your content: let it be info graphics, images, videos, User generated content and others.
Use this for:
- Better Keywords targeting and keyword diversification
- Get more visitors though social media sharing of relevant and interesting content
- Improve your branding through writing authoritative matter on you industry
- Improve overall weightage given to your site by search engines
Blogging is a powerful tool to engage with your visitors. While business website has a format aura to their engagement with users, Blogs can go a long way in informally engaging with them. Bus most importantly well managed blogs can be a powerful tool to target far large number of search terms besides being interactive nature. Also it can give shape to various contributors in your organisation leading to channelization of ideas into some goal.
- Host you Blog on Your own networks
- Have presence in publicly hosted networks like Blog spot and Word press
- Have your employees to contribute to your blog on a regular basis
- Have ample sharing feature enabled on your blog
- Have active moderation in place
Make Your Site Interactive
Visitors to your site need more than few information presented in textual formats. They want to do something on your site and want you to listen to their voices. In other words, they would be more happy to use some interactive feature on your website. Search engines have realized this. Now social signals meaning what and how a user is sharing content from your website are part of the search engine algorithm. Whether it be a simple Facebook share button, a simple poll or even a simple comment block. Give reasons to your visitors engage with your site. Listen to your customer’s voice and give reasons to them to give you a feedback.
Apps is the way to go
For some business APPs are very critical. Apps are ways to provide functionality across different devices which normally a website will be hard to have and also a great user engagement channel. For many companies’ apps are the primary channel of user engagement. And they need not always be very investment heavy. Go for some innovative apps which your industry should provide to your users. Be it social apps, android or IOs apps this will help your business to stand apart.
Mobile website was once considered an adjunct to desktop based website. Not now. People accessing internet on Mobile now exceeds that of Desktop based access. Facebook mobile users outnumber desktop users. Google recently suggested that a bogged up mobile site can negatively impact ranking of your desktop search. Similar is the case of Mobile ads. They are more personalised, more precisely targeted and have higher conversion rate. Hence Go for a mobile site, either a mobile sub domain or a responsive HTML5 design. Also spare some money for mobile based Ads. Additionally, Set up Analytics for tracking mobile visitors.
- Do a thorough SEO of your Mobile website
- Go for AMP version of your website if possible
- Otherwise at least a responsive version of the website of needed
- All your email communication ensure to test them on mobile as well
- Run your ads for both the devices separately so that it’s easy to track performance
Targeting possibilities of paid ads has dramatically changes. It has been quite establishes that re-targeting users who have already visited your site with suggestions for products or services that they are looking for is quite effective. You can now target those users who left the funnel at different stages with different ads, wherever the users go either to a search engine or content network. This has huge bearing on the overall conversion for your site and at the same time reducing your spends. Both Google AdWords and Bing & even Facebook ads allows retargeting facilities.
- Create separate audience for different phases of audience interactions like landing pages visit, cart drops, booking page drops
- Target those users differently through different campaigns/ad-groups in both Google & Facebook
- You can set up a dynamic remarketing campaigns as well
Social Crowd Sourcing
To have great content or ideas implemented on your site can be as easy as implementing effective crowd sourcing strategy. Crowd sourcing implies a symbiotic relation between users of your site and your business wherein they find some interest in contributing content, ideas or services which magnifies your web presence many fold. Social media and communities have been a boon for crowd sourcing. Your business must tap into it. You can create participative activities which can be as simple as contributing all or part of the content to crowd voting or a simple question answer interface.
Guest Blogging is getting very popular and you can consider it as a marketing augmentation channel. There is lot of content sharing and guest contribution going on between authority sites. It helps you to get content on your site free of cost with proper Quality controls. Thus it is helpful for organic ranking and content marketing. To the contributor, which might be your business, it is a means of getting branding benefits and also more users through the partner website. User comes to your site through the attribution links present there. You can also emerge as an authority on your domain if you chose the sites carefully.
Search engines like Google are giving huge weightage for personalised search, which means that search results are likely to show those results that are related to your current and historical location. The same is true of Mobile search and Facebook graph search. It becomes necessary for enterprises to include local search factors on their website pages to rank for them.
Big data is all about organising & using the large amount of data being generated in your enterprise. Whether it be analytics data, email correspondence data, social media data or log file data big data analytics processes the discrete entities to make relationship between them and give you insights about what is happening and what are the next steps that you could take?
Connecting online and Offline
Have you ever wondered how online and off line behaviour interacts with each other. What you do off line might be influencing your online transactions. A simple technique of including your brand name in every correspondence can work wonders for your branding. Whether it be emails or automatic voice responders brands name can always be mentioned.
Press releases are one of the best methods of promoting your services and products. Once also favoured by SEO for link building, its importance is still intact as far as attracting visitors are concerned. A well written professional press release also instils trusts in the visitors. Go for some good paid Press release distributers who in turn distribute your PR in various industry channels.
A lot of marketing efforts that used to be carried manually are now done automatically through tools. One example being email auto responders which is an off shoot of effective CRM management tools. Marketing intelligence tools are available which tracks online user behaviour, analyse social media links, referrals and responses and automate your enterprise response on the condition of triggering some benchmarks. You can use this to enhance your online marketing effectiveness and not getting bogged down by the enormity of data.