Marketing is my favourite part of building an online business because it’s the part where you get to see real results.
Today it is simple to grow an audience if you know just how to do it. Whether you’re offering services (design, consulting, cleaning, etc.) or products via an Ecommerce platform.
Here is my strategy on effective marketing simplified.
- Create a strategy.
- Implement strategy.
- Review results.
- Tweak strategy.
I know, easy, huh? Not quite.
First things first. You need to implement some analytics tools to measure your traffic and results. I’m not going to recommend anything other than Google Analytics because it beats everything else hands-down.
Google rules the online search engine world, and they’re masters at measuring traffic results.
So if you haven’t already, create a Google Analytics account and implement their code to your website. I’ll run through how to measure these results later, but this is the first step in creating a marketing strategy that works.
Creating a strategy
When creating a strategy, you need to know what your budget is. Are we working with nothing $0, or do we have a little to play with, $200 per month?
Starting with nothing
Starting with nothing is not a problem. To start marketing, you need content or products to market. This comes in the form of blog posts.
Why blog posts, you ask?
Well, for one, it gives you something to promote. No one wants to see your ‘about us’ page or ‘services page’. They want to see something that benefits them in some way or refers to your brand voice. As a graphic designer, I blog to get some social traction, something that Google and search engines LOVE. The more shares and links you get from social websites, the more ‘Social Authority’ you’ll have.
Not only that, but it allows me to rank well in search terms OTHER than my main key phrases.
For example, I’m a web designer, so generally speaking, I’d want to rank well for Web Designer’, but what if I could also rank well for ‘Logo designs for Business Owners’, or what about Web designers in Sydney’? How do I do that with the ‘about us’ page?
That is what a blog post is for.
Blog posts enable you to focus specifically for keywords and phrases per post to enable you to reach a larger audience who are in different frames of mind when looking into Google.
I think of blog posts as mini sales pages of your website, drawing in more users from search engines and social media as I work.
Blog posts come in many forms too. Don’t think text but video, infographics, and podcasts.
So what do you blog about?
Blog about anything related to your business or your brand. Refer to your brand values to come up with ideas. Keep it light and conversational. Think about the end user when coming up with content. Think about how you can help them before helping yourself. Your users want to know, like, and trust you before making a purchase. This content is about getting them through this process.
There is a saying in online marketing circles. It’s called ‘Give, give, get.’
When marketing yourself online, ensure you are giving twice as much as you are ‘getting’ or being in sales mode. Businesses who focus mainly on themselves will soon only have themselves to market to.
Try and create a content schedule that outlines topics you can talk about. If you’re struggling to come up with content, think about what your clients/customers often ask you about, or things you are constantly repeating in your work.
If you don’t have any clients or customers yet, just hop onto forums or Facebook groups with your target audience. People are very open to discussing gripes and frustrations on there, so check it out. In fact, while you’re at it, find and join as many groups in your related industry that you think would help. I personally use Facebook primarily for creating a space where I’m with people who are like-minded and can help me in my business.
How long should it be?
Ideally a blog post shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes to create. It’s difficult to come up with a correct length but aim for roughly 200-300 words which answers the topic clearly and simply. The most important thing when thinking about length is just quality; if you feel like it’s something that you would share, or a friend could share in regards to answering a question, then you’re on the right track.
Make it easy to read.
If you can, try and add images to your blog post to make it more appealing. If you can add your own video, even better! Although finding the time to create a video with a child is another story.
Bullet point tasks if you can and break paragraphs down into easy-to-digest blocks. Google loves digestible content. If you can, number your paragraphs. This is why sites like BuzzFeed are really popular. Their posts often have a number in them to make it appealing to users. If readers know that they can find out what they want in X steps, then they’re more likely to click it. Don’t overdo it, but keep it in your handy toolbox if you need.
Keep search engines in mind
A huge part of blogging is to get more organic traffic (traffic from people searching queries on Google and other search engines). This is going to be #1 in getting noticed online. Rather than go through the entirety of how to find out your perfect set of keywords, a rule of thumb is just to add words you’d like to be searched for.
So if you sell designer costume jewellery in Wellington, NZ, then make mention of ‘designer costume jewellery’. Or if you’re a fashion designer who works with ball dresses, then mention that. Don’t go over the top and add it as many times as you can; just a couple of times will do, then let Google do its thing.
Plan your posts.
So rather than sitting at your desk/computer thinking up something to write, why not plan it first, after writing down as much you can about what your clients/customers/other people’s clients and customers ask you about your work. What are their frustrations, and are there questions you can answer in a post rather than repeating it in an email to every new client or customer you come across?
It is SO much easier to reply to someone with a link to a post than waste time on something that may not follow through in the end.
Once you have your questions mapped out, schedule them into your daily/weekly/monthly planner.
When creating a blog post, the thing that you’ve got to really nail is the headline. It’s often the thing you share. Experts say that you should write at least 10 different headlines for a blog post to be able to promote your post over and over again on social media.
It’s time to share.
So once you have your blog calendar, a couple of blog posts about your products or services, we’re ready to get it out into the world.
Social media is what I like to think of as the free marketing stream, and it often has the best at the ‘snowball’ effect when advertising your website.
By social media, I mean Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Now don’t be overwhelmed by what is out there. There are simple ways of managing all of these using a third-party app. Also note that you don’t have to be on all of them. Just pick the ones that you like or you think your target customers are on. Make sure you’re consistent with your branding. Look back at what your business values are. No negativity.
This blog post was a snippet of my new ebook called ‘Hustle mum’ for mumpreneurs who are looking to start an online business that works around their new baby and children.
Get it here.