*One of our clients uses Our Kids Private School and Summer Camp marketing to promote their therapeutic boarding school around the world. We attended a webinar they offered, and this slide about places to advertise your business really captured our attention. We wrote this blog post based on it.
When it comes to building an online presence, the 21st century entrepreneur is faced with an almost endless parade of options. So, we’ve filtered it down to 7 essential places your business ought to be if you want to be easily found by potential customers.
1 – Your Own Website
There are a lot of small businesses operating on someone else’s platform almost exclusively – like Facebook. This can be problematic, since there are many limits and the rules can change quickly. Owning your own online real estate is the solution. Your web presence needs to belong to YOU. Full control is paramount. Here’s why:
- You get to design and produce content with your target audience in mind and no outside restrictions.
- The content on your site belongs to you. Adding to it over time can create authority and draw search traffic.
- Your website is an extension of, or may even take the place of a brick and mortar. It’s your house, your rules.
- Nobody can take it away from you with very little notice. Your asset is yours until you’re done with it.
2 – Web Directories
In the good old days, anybody that was anybody had a display ad in the Yellow Pages. Directories are the 21st century equivalent. If you’re not already, make sure you get listed with Google My Business for a start. Don’t have time? We can help with that. In fact, we can get you manually listed in over 80 Canadian online directories if you’re interested – it’s a great investment in your brick-and-mortar business location.
- Directories often trump other search results, because of their combined traffic and marketing efforts. Your link in a directory can be a steady source of web traffic.
- Optimize your entries as much as they allow. If there is space for photos and videos, use them. Whatever you can do to make your listing stand out, you should do.
- You might even consider using a directory submission service that submits to a list of directories for you. Barring that, you can do a few at a time, since it is very labour intensive and time consuming.
3 – Display Advertising
The dreaded display ad is something not a lot of business people use well. Display advertising is the type of ads you see at the top of a website, or in the side bars of your social media news feeds. They can get a lot of attention and work amazingly well if used properly. Not shockingly, we do this too.
- Start with Google Search if no one knows you. Google will serve your ads across a wide variety of websites related to your niche and is a good place to start.
- Facebook ads is the next largest platform and features some super tight targeting that allows you to fine tune your audience selection. Good targeting = Marketing Budget savings. We’ve seen amazing results on Facebook.
- Next up is Twitter and LinkedIn, depending on your audience. Both of these social power houses produce great results with well-targeted, well-written ads.
4 – Search Engine Optimizing
SEO has become less of a buzzword and more of a household term these days. Most online entrepreneurs understand something about Search Engine Optimization, or think they do. It’s likely your knowledge of SEO is out-of-date, so be sure to read current information on this. Take the time to optimize every piece of content on your website. It will pay off in traffic and ranking. Think of the internet like a giant library and SEO as the card catalogue or digital indexing system. You may have written “War And Peace” but if it’s not in the card catalogue, nobody is going to find it.
Truthfully, it doesn’t end there. Those that go the extra mile and do off-page SEO give themselves an added edge.
- Building strong communities can provide a lot of great “off page” SEO. See the section on social media for some suggestions.
- Link building through techniques such as article submission and social bookmarking are still great ways to build organic traffic off page as well.
- Optimize all of your advertising campaigns to keep consistent messaging, keywords and branding for another boost.
5 – Remarketing
The lead you’ve already attracted to your website is primed to accept new marketing messages from you, even though they didn’t buy on their first visit. There are even specialized services to target those visitors.
- Presenting your message across multiple platforms is a good way to remarket, since your audience will typically overlap. A website visitor who engaged with and liked your content, then sees your offer on Twitter, or Facebook is more likely to say yes. It takes 7 impressions of your brand to embed your product/services in a prospects mind – remarketing is an effective way to reach and exceed that number.
- ROI is claimed to be as high as 10 to 1 on remarketing campaigns, meaning that for every dollar spent on a well-targeted campaign, you can potentially earn ten. Amazing returns here.
- Remarketing is speaking to an audience that was already convinced you were worth a look the first time, making them a truly qualified lead.
6 – Social Media
We all know the big platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn still dominate the landscape. There are literally thousands of smaller platforms and some of them might be the right place to connect with your potential customers. By choosing several platforms to share your messaging across regularly, you can broaden your audience.
- Understand each platform and share content in a way that most appeals to the platform’s audience. For instance, LinkedIn generally responds to slightly more formal, business related content than Twitter or Facebook.
- Explore. There are new platforms opening up all the time. Sites like Pinterest have become marketing powerhouses in a very short amount of time. If your audience is there, you should be too.
- Look into automation and curation tools to help you provide a steady stream of relevant content without it becoming a full-time job and stay up to date on best practices to get the most of your content.
7 – Email Nurturing
If you do not have an email list and regular content going out to clients and potential clients, fix that soon. Nurturing leads from cold, to well qualified, to regular users, to brand evangelists, can best be done through the steady, automated information feed of email.
- Through drip campaigns it is possible to educate your leads about your company, goods and services without lifting a finger, except for set up. Once your campaign is built, just turn it on and answer questions.
- By adding behaviour triggers and filters, you can custom tailor even an automated drip campaign to meet the lead where they’re at and give them the information needed to nurture them into the next step of your marketing funnel.
- Efficiency of time and low cost make email marketing the best direct marketing tool available for online business.
Once you have mastered these seven areas, others will present themselves and you will be prepared to determine if they are right for you. By using these seven places to advertise your business, you can create a content marketing system that turns visitors into a steady stream of well-qualified leads.
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