10 Essentials to Growing Your Business Online
- On March 1, 2016
- In General
- By Michael Bamberger
Just because you build it, it doesn’t mean they’ll come
When it comes to growing your business online, it’s important to remember that launching your website is just one component of a successful digital strategy. A comprehensive approach to your digital marketing initiatives is the surest way to get a return on your digital investment. The basic framework for an online strategy is to create digital assets (like a website or blog) and then develop campaigns to drive traffic to those assets (for example, through social media marketing or paid advertising).
We’ve put together this list of 10 essentials when it comes to growing your business online to ensure you position yourself for success.
1. Set goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with your website? What metrics can you track to see if you’re achieving those goals? Clearly defining numerical objectives for your digital activity is the only way to properly measure whether or not you’re succeeding.
For your website, this can be the number of people who sign up for your email newsletter or the total number of unique visitors coming to your site. For social media activity, you can track the number of followers or interaction with your posts. If you don’t have specific measurable goals, you won’t be able to answer the question of whether or not your digital marketing initiatives are working.
Google Analytics is a remarkable tool for measuring your digital activity and its impact on your business. OptimizeIQ uses Google Analytics for almost all of our clients’ campaigns, allowing us to know precisely how our activity is affecting their businesses.
2. Brand consistency
The way you portray your company affects how potential consumers perceive your brand. Far too often, companies use various templates with different color schemes and styles throughout their digital presence. Poor consistency makes your company appear poorly managed with a lack of attention to detail. Consider each and every component of your company’s online image to ensure it is consistent and portrays your company in the way you would like.
3. Learn about your target audiences and cater messaging accordingly
If your product or service serves only a narrow niche, then you should spend your time understanding your customers in depth. Identically, if your product appeals to a wide variety of potential customers, make sure your learn each audience and have messaging that is appropriate for all cohorts. In the modern digital marketing environment, it is very easy to created targeted content, emails and advertisements that appeal to specific cohorts.
Surveys, focus groups and reading customer service inquiries are great ways to get to know your customers better. Once you understand your different customer groups, you can define segments and create messages that are tailored to each.
4. Create benefit oriented messaging
The most fundamental cornerstone of compelling marketing copy is to discuss the benefits of using your product or service. Many companies discuss features or differences from competitors, when research has consistently shown that focusing on what’s in it for the purchaser is a far more effective way to get people to buy. Remember that the way you see your product internally is far different from how your customer perceives it. Ultimately, your client wants to know what is in it for them. So create all of your content that is meant to sell about how it specifically benefits your customers.
5. Measurement and data collection are key
After you define the goals of your digital marketing, collecting and analyzing data allow you to constantly optimize and improve your activity. If you use Google Analytics, set up goals and events to track. Then, analyze the traffic to your website and digital properties to see how well your goals are being accomplished and by whom. If you see that your paid search traffic is yielding more effective traffic than your social media efforts, for example, you can adjust activity and budgets accordingly.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t improve it. Define your measurement plan and analyze your data regularly.
6. Test and optimize
Digital testing tools make it simple to constantly improve your online activity. Instead of creating one version of your landing pages and advertisements, create two different versions and see which is more effective. You can use the data from these tests to continually improve your campaigns. You can easily test email subject lines, landing page copy and advertisement versions using modern digital marketing tools.
7. Allocate advertising budgets intelligently
Do you need eye balls or do you need legitimate leads? An advertising package of display advertisements, for example, is much more effective for general branding and visibility than for capturing qualified lead information. Make sure you understand each advertising channel so that you are effectively and efficiently using your budget. As you analyze the data you collect, you’ll notice differences in the effectiveness of campaigns. Use this information to optimize how you spend.
8. Dedicated landing pages for all advertising
For the vast majority of companies, sending paid traffic to your general website is an ineffective way to generate sales or leads. Typically, it is much more effective to build targeted, dedicated landing pages for all of your advertisements. If your advertisement says “Save 20% on Beef Jerky,” the landing page should have a matching header. All of the buttons and options on that page should be specifically related to redeeming that discount offer for the purchase of beef jerky.
When you build dedicated pages that are focused on a single call to action, your conversion rates will skyrocket. If you send traffic to your general homepage, you’re relying on your visitor to click around to find the place they want to be. Instead, tell them what they’re getting in the ad and then give it to them right away.
9. Make customer service an extension of your marketing initiatives
Social media is one of the most powerful ways for companies to interact with their customers. Instead of simply using social media to promote your company and content, try engaging with your target audience. In fact, taking customer service inquiries directly over social media allows you to interact with your current customers while showing how responsive you are to potential new ones. Engaging on social media through the lens of customer service increases touch points with your audience and makes it a much more personal and impactful channel. Treat social media like a marketing channel, and use customer service as your conduit to show how much you care about your customers and solve their problems.
10. Make plans that are doable
A strategy is only as good is its execution. Do not bite off more than you can chew when it comes to a digital marketing plan. The best strategy is always to start small and then build as you learn. Trying to launch a website, a blog, an email newsletter, social media channels, paid advertisements and all other facets of your digital marketing strategy at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Keep it simple, collect data, learn, improve and then grow.