Oh, the Internet. That magical place where the possibilities are endless. You have probably heard that all you need to do is advertise online, start blogging, get listed first on Google, or be on Social Media, and you will have more leads than you know what to do with. Unfortunately more often than not, people’s first venture online often is a waste of time and money. Yet, if it’s done right, internet marketing can be very rewarding and have one of the best return on your financial and time investments. Let’s go over the five basic steps to start marketing on the internet.
1.) Make a Call-To-Action
The whole point of marketing is to get qualified leads, so the first thing to determine is what makes a lead qualified, and secondly, what will encourage them to become a lead. We also have to decide where in the buying cycle do we want to connect with the prospect. Someone who is just starting to research solutions is looking for much different information versus someone who is looking for pricing and discounts. Create a prospect’s profile that describes your ideal prospect, including their motivations, their authority and where they are in the decision process. As consumers, we are very wary of sales attempts. Consumers want to research on their own time, without the pressure of a sales person. We know if we meet face to face, give our phone number, or leave an email address, we may be put into a pressure situation from a sales person, or at a minimum, we may get intrusive and unwanted voicemail or emails. So how can we persuade a prospect to provide their phone number or email? Through a valuable offer. A Call-to-Action offers a visitor something of value in return for their contact information. The questions is what is valuable enough for a visitor to give up their information and open up the possibility of being pressured by sales people. Once you identify what prospect you are trying to attract and where they are in the buying cycle, you can narrow down the type of offer you will need to give. Call-To-Actions can range from an ebook download to a free trial. Need some ideas? See 101 Effective Call-To-Actions.
2.) Create a Landing Page
Once you have created an offer that will resonate with your targeted prospect, you need a place online to direct them to. This is called a landing page, because it is the page targeted prospects land on when they respond to your marketing campaign. This can range from your home page to a squeeze page. The more focused a page is, the more the qualified the final prospect will be, but also there will be more bounces. If you are attracting a wide range of prospects, that are in various stage of the buying cycle, you may want to have many different channels on the landing page – options for more information for those in the research stage, testimonials and reviews for those in the evaluation stage, and a free offer for those ready to buy. On the other hand, if you are looking to connect with specific prospects, a squeeze page will only provide one option and eliminate all the tire-kickers who are not ready to connect, without wasting your time calling to qualify them.
3.) Start an Adwords or Facebook ad campaign
Now that you have a landing page, it’s time to get people to it. You can email people or call to give them the url, but if you want to expand your market awareness, you will need to advertise, at least until you are found in general search. The good news with Adwords and Facebook Ads is that they are a Pay-Per-Click model, meaning you only pay for those people who clicked on your ad. To reach the target prospect, you will need to think like them – estimate what keyword phrases they will use in search, or define their interest and demographics for Facebook. The good news is that while determining your offer and the Call-To-Action, you built a prospect profile and probably have a good idea on what search terms they would use. Need help developing an Adwords campaign? Sign up for our Adwords 101 workshop.
4.) Write Quality Content
In the long run, an advertising campaign won’t cut it. The real goal with internet marketing is to be found in search. There have been many concepts and tricks to get the first listing on Google, but the only method that has constantly assured a good search listing is to write unique and quality content. The trick is to keep the page specific and on topic. Pick the keyword phrase and make sure to include it in the page title, sprinkle the phrase throughout the page content, use the keyword phrase in image names and alt tags, and in sub-headings. Google has gotten really smart, so write for readability, not for hitting a magic number of keyword usage. Google has also adjusted their algorithm to benefit original content. Too many webpages just regurgitate some other website’s content, so Google’s latest algorithm update penalizes webpages that does not have original content. This gives a great opportunity to those websites that spend the time to craft their message and explain their story. Create a story that will resonate with your target prospect and make sure you include a link to your landing page for more information. Once your content is being listed in search results, you can stop the Adwords and Facebook campaigns. Get more information on Content Marketing.
5.) Promote through Social Media and Email
Now that you have great content and a call-to-action to capture qualified leads, you have to let your prospect pool know about it. Repeat sales are frequently the most profitable transactions your company can make. E-mail and Social Media are great ways to remind past customers and prospects about your service and products. The messages can provide information about how complimentary products work together or reminding people of the benefits of your product so they can reorder.
The best way to promote your content through social media is to grab the url for the new page and paste it in your social media posts. If your page was programmed correctly, you should be able to select an image from the page to use in your post. Posts with images have a much higher interaction rate than strictly text-only posts. We recommend adding a personal note to the post so your connections understand why you are recommending they read it.
You will want to do the same with an email campaign. Send an email to all your contacts with an abstract of the webpage, and a link to read-more. If you have a large prospect pool, it is recommended that you use Constant Contact or MailChimp for your email posts. This will protect you from being labeled as a spammer and your email address being gray-listed by the spam police. You can send out an email with each website update or send a monthly or quarterly newsletter with several post abstracts and links.
In summary, the order we listed here is upside down from how most people start an internet marketing campaign. Most people leave their Landing Pages and Call-To-Actions to the last thing, when they realize that they are not converting leads from their Adwords campaign or social media is a time-waster. By setting up your lead generator first, and using Analytics to track your internet traffic, you will be able to see which channels are delivering the best converting traffic and determine where to spend your marketing efforts for the best return.