Online Marketing: Discover The Steps for Success

Trial and Error approach to Online Marketing

Think about how many different ways there are to market your website – free and paid traffic from search engines, social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, email marketing and sharing content via your blog – just to name a few.

But, if you only have a limited amount of time and budget available, how do you know which method of marketing will be effective for your website?  And what steps should you follow for online marketing success?

Effective marketing leads to more money, lower costs and more satisfied customers

First, you need to think about what “effective” means in terms of your marketing.  For some people, having a high number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, email subscribers and web visitors means their marketing is effective.

But, although these numbers might give you a warm happy glow inside, are they actually leading to positive outcomes for your business?

Good outcomes to measure the effectiveness of your marketing are revenue generation, cost reduction and increased customer satisfaction.

There are a lot of variables to consider

When it comes online marketing, here are some of the variables you need to be aware of:

  • Your Website: Each website has a different design, ease of use and quality of content.
  • Your Products and Services: Each product or service you promote has a different price, target market and level of competition.
  • Skills and Knowledge: Whether you’re doing it yourself or outsourcing your marketing, each activity requires skills and knowledge if you want it done well.

So where does this leave us?

Start by selecting activities that will help you achieve your business goals

For example, if you have an ecommerce website aimed at generating revenue, start by building an email marketing database so that you can engage with your potential customers and email then enticing offers that encourage them to buy.

Or here is another example. A Service Provider can start with a blogging strategy, where each piece of content outlines an issues that your target market regularly faces, and shows how the issue can be solved, while at the same time demonstrating your expertise and ability to create value for your clients.

Once you have selected your marketing activities, follow the steps below.

The Steps for Success

  1. Create a plan and get started.
  2. Be open minded and prepared for trial and error.
  3. Be persistent.
  4. Work with the right people.
  5. Gather information that you can learn from.
  6. Review your results
  7. Modify your plan as needed.
  8. And keep on marketing  – either with the same activity, or try something new if you have persevered and the current activity isn’t proving to be effective.

Here are two examples where this approach pays off

1. Blogging

Persistence is particularly important in order to become successful at blogging.

A lot of business owners know that they should have a blog but in the early stages they aren’t really sure about what content to share, or how to market the blog to a wide audience so that it gets read.

Many people start by getting a free blog set up, often using WordPress.com or Blogger. Then they write some articles and wait for good things to happen.

Once time passes and nothing actually happens, instead of giving up, the persistent people seek information via the internet, their network and other sources.

Some of the things to consider at this point are:

  • what you are trying to achieve via the blog
  • who is your target audience
  • what kind of content can you share
  • selecting and using keywords
  • laying the content out so that it is easy to read
  • what Call to Action to include
  • ways to share the content far and wide, like Twitter, Facebook and email subscriptions
  • moving your blog to WordPress.org, which offers a huge range of functionality, such as being able to install Google Analytics.

Having Google Analytics or an equivalent tool installed on the blog means that you are collecting data that you can learn from. Data related to visitor numbers, where the web traffic is coming from, how long they spend reading your content, which pages are most popular and how many pages they view.

Using email software like MailChimp means that you will have access to information about how many new subscribers you get each week, how many people opened the email and how many clicked on a link.

All the data mentioned above gives insights into which pieces of content are the most and least popular. Get started with a Trial and Error approach to trying out different types of content; articles, reviews, audio interviews and videos.

You can then review the data to find out how effective each piece of content was.  Think about what kind of headline you used, which articles got retweeted on Twitter, which ones people clicked through to read from Facebook etc to start learning about what kind of content appeals to each audience.  And then you can modify your content based on which audience is more important!

Blogging is definitely a long term strategy.  But if you are persistent and prepared for a trial and error approach, in the long run it can increase your web traffic, establish your credibility and build your reputation and increase your engagement with your target audience.

If you’re having difficulty creating and sharing content on your blog, check out our Content Marketing eCourse.

2. Google AdWords Search Engine Marketing

A lot of business owners set up their own Google AdWords campaigns because they are open to a trial and error approach. They want to find out if AdWords will be a cost effective way to increase their web traffic and improve their results.

When managing your own AdWords campaign, many people reach a point where they aren’t sure whether or not they are getting a good return from the money they are spending, or if changes can be made to improve their results.

At this point, if you want to continue running AdWords (because you are persistent), one option is to seek help from an AdWords Certified Partner via the Google Partner Search.

AdWords provides a wealth of data that you can learn from and use to improve your campaigns.  Things like the Click Through Rate, Cost Per Click, Average Position of your Ads and the Cost per Conversion.  The historical data from your account is always available.

If you need help with AdWords, I offer personalised services for outsourcing AdWords management and also AdWords coaching to help you learn how to optimise your own campaigns.  Generally with a new client, I review their account and provide recommendations for whether or not minor, or more significant, changes need to be made.

We then modify the plan and monitor the results until enough information is available to decide whether or not investing in this method of marketing brings a good return for the business.

Because there are so many free and low cost methods of online marketing available now, it can be tempting to jump in and try them all at the same time. As a different approach, think about selecting a few strategies to learn about so that you can continually improve your results over time, while gathering enough data to work out whether or not they are effective.

After all, online marketing success probably won’t happen overnight, but (hopefully) it will happen!

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