There are numerous strategies available to online marketers, with varying degrees of effectiveness. At one extreme are the “bare bones business” sites which may be no more than an online catalogue. If the company has a blog, the posts read like a series of commercials. Communication with the reader takes the form of a sales letter.
However, most online businesses have enjoyed greater success with a more indirect approach featuring informative, content-rich websites, chatty blog posts and two-way communication channels.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an important factor in any online marketing campaign, as most new visitors arrive via search engines. Search engines prefer “relevant” sites, and use complicated formulas to determine a site’s relevance within the niche. Besides keywords, links from “authority” sites are vital in achieving top search results.
While many facets of online marketing can be accomplished on a free or low-cost basis, paid advertising is also an option. Google Adwords as well as exine or website ads can also drive traffic to an e-commerce site. Before investing in expensive advertising campaigns, it may be advisable to make sure that your site is effectively converting a sufficient number of visitors to “buyers”.
One of the most effective traditional “advertising” methods is word of mouth. Social media marketing intensifies the potential for word of mouth advertising in several ways. While traditional word-of-mouth may be wholly dependent upon the buyer telling a friend at some future date, social media allows instant referrals to multiple friends.
For example, if your customer “likes” a page on your website by clicking the Facebook button, that “like” is posted to all his friends’ pages as well. You can also create “fan” pages and regularly post special offers and announcements to your “fans”.
Google+ also offers one-click sharing with the Google + button. There are also several other advantages to using Google+. For example, if you’ve uploaded a profile to Google +, a search for will display that profile at the top of search results. along with your picture. This can be an important advantage, as statistics have shown that seeing your picture helps to build trust and rapport with potential customers. And some marketers feel that Google+ membership makes their sites more “visible” to the search bots, especially if niche keywords are included in their “Introduction”.
Google+ also offers you the ability to create different “circles”. For example, one circle could be “existing customers”, while another could be “employees”. You can instantly communicate with your circles at the push of a button. You can also create “hangouts” for online meetings, focus groups, or informational seminars.
But one of the most interesting aspects of social media marketing is your ability to develop a planned strategy to establish yourself as “the” source within your niche.
This strategy is rooted in the Internet tradition of quality, informative, entertaining content. For example, the most common links shared on social media are humour, video, and information. By developing a content creation strategy and then posting links to that content, you can make every page of content multiply its effectiveness, especially when other people re-post that link by sharing it or direct attention to it by liking it.
For example, one law firm posts “lawyer jokes” on social media with a link to the firm’s web page. The home page boldly states “Legal problems are no joke” and then, after a brief overview of the firm’s qualifications, links to pages about specific legal issues. By offering both online chat options and free initial consultations, the firm turns humor into a powerful marketing tool. There are social media posting tools that allow you to upload multiple posts and schedule them over several days.
Many niches can take advantage of humour. For example, Christian ministries and churches often post funny church signs or bulletin bloopers on social media. One gas station drew both worldwide and local attention to the business by changing price signs to “arm”, “leg”, and “firstborn child”, then taking a picture and posting it to social media.
Another popular graphic “share” is the “cute” picture. Children and pets are common subjects….. Popular, but you need to have really creative people to pull it Off !
Another popular “share” is video–especially entertaining or informational videos. For example, you could create a video demonstrating how your product or service solves the customer’s problem. Or create an informative “how the choose the best____” video listing your best features as criteria and concluding by pointing out that your company meets all those criteria.
Of course, when creating content for your site and for social media marketing, it is important to keep the “tone” of your content harmonious with the goals of your business. Banks and financial planners, for example, want to project an image of solid, sensible professionalism, while artists project colourful, creative expression.
Throughout Internet marketing history, article marketing has been effective and popular. By demonstrating your expertise and providing helpful, interesting information, you can build your credibility and pique potential customers’ interest. Posting articles on both your website and article banks like ezinearticles.com increases your incoming link count and builds traffic. Sharing the link on social media can multiply that effectiveness with just a few minutes’ effort.
Most social media also offer opportunities for paid advertising. Like all forms of paid advertising, it is critical to test and track results to optimize advertising effectiveness.
While experts disagree on some facets of social media marketing, almost all agree that social media will be a powerful marketing opportunity for online business in the near future and for years to come.