It doesn't take much to see that ONLINE MARKETING is growing in importance by the second.
These days the internet is at our fingertips almost everywhere we go. Gone are the days where we search for service providers in the yellow pages. Today is the age of Google and we need to keep up with the play if we want to succeed.
Getting your site to perform well requires you to have an answer to the following questions:
How will I get the right people to visit my site
How will I convert visitors into enquiries or sales?
Let's take a look at each of those questions individually:
How to get the right people to your site:
The reality of the situation is that there are four ways to get people to come to your site:
- They search for a keyword or phrase and your site shows up as relevant in the search engine's results (we call this organic listing).
- They search for a keyword or phrase and you pay the search engine to list your website (we call this pay-per-click or PPC for short).
- Other websites who talk to your target customers refer people to your site
- People become aware of your business through social media (Forums, Facebook etc.)
The key word in point one is RELEVANT.
For your site to rank well on Google (and other search engines) your site must be relevant to the search terms (key words) that people are likely to use to come across your website. So how does google ascertain if your site is relevant to the search terms? To put it simply, it checks your site against the following questions.
Does your site contain the key words that the user has searched for?
- Is your Meta-description and Meta-title (description that shows on google) relevant to the keywords?
- Is your site regularly added to and updated with new information?
- Does your site receive a reasonable amount of visitors on a daily or monthly basis?
- Does your site contain multiple media relevant to the keyword (i.e. copy, video, audio)?
- How long do people stay on your site when they visit?
- How many pages do they visit?
- Do other "authoritative" sites (sites with good traffic and high relevance) refer to your site?
- Does your site link to other relevant sites?
Essentially, the better your site stacks up when weighed against the above criteria, the further up the list you go. The best performing site is the lucky first listing!
So how does pay-per-click (PPC) help your Google rankings?
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can be impossible to maintain your early ranking on google because competition is fierce. In those cases PPC can help you to ensure a prominent early listing on Google results. The catch is you have to pay. To summarise quickly, PPC works a little bit like a blind auction. You tell google how much you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your listing (when they search for a particular key word) and then google will place your listing in the paid spots on their page (top two spaces, bottom two spaces or the right hand column). The more you're willing to pay the better spot you will be allocated.
The best strategy for working well with google is to aim to work on your site so that it ranks well organically (without paying) and then use PPC to boost results further.
Of course, search engines are not the only way people come across your site. Social media and other websites are playing an increasing role in driving traffic. Always be on the lookout for sites that can be referring traffic to you. Suppliers, media, social media and complementary sites are a good place to start.
Make sure your website is conversion focused!
Getting people to visit your site is one thing, but converting them to a purchaser or decent enquiry is another thing entirely.
Here's a few tips to help you ensure your site is more likely to convert viewers into customers:
- Make it easy to navigate: have a clear conversion pathway. If a visitor is on your site and they like what they are reading, you'll need to tell them clearly what they should do next. Should they ask you a question? Should they click now to buy? Should they pick up the phone?
- Make buying from you easy. Humans are lazy. If things get too hard we give up. If you're running an e-commerce site (where people can buy online) try to reduce the steps that people need to take to complete their purchase.
- Respond quickly: In today's age we are all about instant gratification. If someone makes an enquiry through your site be there to respond quickly. These days it is simple to add live-chat functionality to your site too.
- Give the reader what they are there for: Your website is an opportunity for you to build a foundation of trust with your prospective new customer. The best way to build trust is to HELP them. Chances are they have questions they want answered (after all their research has led them to your site).
- Find out what questions your customers what answers to and answer them honestly.
- Have helpful and relevant offers all over your site: Use offers to get your customer to take the next step. Offers of free help and advice are always a great way to get the ball rolling.
Here are some examples:
- Free consultations
- Free Seminars
- Free E-book buyers guide
- Free monthly tips newsletter
- Free site inspection
- Free 5 point report
- Ask us a question now
To sum things up, the success of your online marketing boils down to the effort you put in. The more relevant and helpful your website is, the better it will rank on google and the more traffic you'll get.
The more helpful your site is to the reader, and the easier it is for your customers to engage with you when online, the more solid enquiry and sales you will get.
If you are going to focus on growing your business through online marketing then commit to doing it well. It is important to understand that online marketing is going to play an ever increasing role in how you win customers and do business so don't leave it too long to jump on the bandwagon!