4 Internet Marketing Strategies You Can’t Avoid
As more of the world moves online and consumers move more of their purchases to the internet, local businesses need a way to stay relevant. If you make jeans in ST. Louis, but people in St. Louis can more easily find jeans made in Taiwan when they search online, you’re business isn’t going to be booming anytime soon. The simple reality is that in order for local businesses to compete in a global marketplace, they need high visibility on the web.
In general, consumers enjoy buying from local vendors when prices are not an issue. In fact, 86% of consumers who search for local products and services online follow up their search with a location visit. If you want to grab a portion of that search market, you have to make yourself available online. But simply building a website isn’t going to grab your customers’ attention overnight. You can employ a handful of great strategies to help you get to the top of local search results. And they are strategies you can’t avoid, if you want to succeed.
1. SEO – Search engine optimization is the number one strategy that will help you start making your way to the top of a Google search. SEO involves much more than just stuffing your website with keywords. A good SEO team will help you optimize your site architecture, your usability, your meta-tags, and more in order to give you’re the highest SEO benefit possible. In addition, SEO experts can help boost your page rank with link building campaigns, guest blogging, and more. If you want to be more than a footnote on the internet, you’ll need to optimize your site for search engines.
2. PPC – Pay-per-click campaigns can also help you get some exposure and boost your organic SEO. PPC is a strategy of paying search engines for featured results. They are the top 2-3 links you’ll see when you do a Google search. They are usually off-set with a grayish background, so users can tell where the paid results end and the organic results begin. PPC campaigns can be extremely effective at bringing traffic to your site. And although they won’t boost your SEO directly, they will help drive traffic to your site, which will result in a better page rank. Combining organic SEO and PPC can help you move your business website to the top much quicker than either strategy by itself.
3. Social Media – Both Google and Bing use public Twitter and Facebook feeds to determine website authority and page rank. In fact, a couple of preliminary case studies performed by SEOmoz and SEOptimise, display the extraordinary power a few well-placed tweets and Facebook likes can have on your company website. But beyond the SEO benefits of running a social media campaign, social media followers can generate massive return business and represent valuable assets for bringing more customers to your business. A recent Syncapse study (PDF) found that Facebook fans generated, on average, $71.84 more revenue than non-fans, not to mention that fans were 28% more likely to give repeat business and had a high probability of recommending brands they follow to friends (41% more than non-fans). So ignoring social media as a legitimate marketing channel could hurt your business.
4. Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a very low-risk way to generate more sales and increase profits for your business. You only pay affiliates after they have brought sales to you, so there are no “lost” costs on methods that don’t work. Affiliate marketing campaigns will not only boost your SEO from all the links on your affiliate websites, but will allows ordinary users and some of your super-customers to be your sales advocates to their friends, family, and website visitors. In essence, affiliate marketing boosts your sales force without having to pay full-time sales people.
Don’t get lost in a sea of search engine results. If you want to survive—even thrive—in the 21st century, you need to make yourself available to your customers through some basic online marketing. SEO, PPC, social media, and affiliate marketing can give your business website a large boost, separating your business from the Taiwanese jean makers.