"Internet marketing" can mean a lot of things in many different circles. That's the beauty of marketing online--there is room for interpretation. It's a matter of solving an equation with variables that lead to multiple solutions. But add the word "effective" to this equation and things become a bit more complicated. In the end, it's about conversion rates, and if your online marketing isn't converting new contacts, you may need to reevaluate what you're doing to ensure you stay in business.
Here's a fun fact: an effective Internet marketing campaign doesn't happen by accident. The campaign MUST have certain elements in order to be successful. It is an intricate process to build a long-lasting, yet versatile online campaign, and it takes time to develop effective strategies for achieving this goal. It would take volumes to define and outline this process in writing—and I'd like to keep your attention for what's coming next—but it's important to note that IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE to build this kind of online campaign and having a reputable marketing company on your side to do it will save you time, money, and energy!
To help you get started, I've outlined what I consider to be the
most essential elements of an effective Internet marketing campaign.
Target Audience & Services
Defining your audience and services will help to refine your campaign focus.
Your online campaign, especially your website, should cater to the appropriate audience. You've got to start guiding your potential leads from the minute they land on your website (this is called the conversion funnel).
The best way to go about doing this is by knowing the following:
- Who your potential customers are;
- What your potential customers are looking for;
- What you are offering your potential customers; and
- Why you are the best fit for your potential customers' needs.
Ask yourself why you are building this online campaign. Are you looking for more leads or are you simply planning to inform visitors about your cause? In most cases, businesses are offering a service and want to generate leads from their online campaign. Receiving a worthwhile ROI is a direct result of understanding and articulating what you are offering, who you are offering it to, and why you do what you do.
Message & Brand
Unique messages and consistent branding will set you apart from your competitors.
Your brand and messages should be intimately connected to your audience. Once you have figured out who you are catering to with your website, it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with a message that encompasses who you are a business and what you are offering to new potential customers.
Some key factors to remember when coming up with your brand and messages include:
- Get Someone Else Involved: Marketing companies exist for a reason! Having a third party perspective on how to brand and articulate your message will make it that much better. The truth is that having a unique marketing message is inspiring to visitors and often the reason they call!
- Define the Benefits of Your Services: Your target audience needs to know why they need you and why your offer is the most beneficial to them. If you do a great job of presenting your solution to their problem, you have earned their contact and can begin to build trust to earn their business.
- Determine Your Unique Offer & Own It: Is there something you offer that others don't? What is that thing you do that others in your industry won't do, can't do, or simply don't do? Define it, work out a catchy phrase for it, and market it prominently on your website and throughout your campaign!
Presentation & Usability
Design, content, and functionality will capture or turn away visitors.
Now that you have your audience, services, brand, and messages in motion, you have to present them in a helpful way to potential leads—all while following SEO standards. Things like relevant images, engaging content, user friendliness, responsive design, and mobile capability are all buzz words that should come up during this stage. (Side note: if you've hired a company to handle your online marketing that has not mentioned any of the items above—run.) .
Be creative and fresh with your design and make sure the colors match your brand and services. Don't be afraid to take a chance in the design area too, but a chance in the direction of your target audience and one they will be most inclined to accept. Most importantly with design, content, and functionality: make sure the user experience is top-notch or all of your efforts will be for naught.
Strategic Linking & PR Exposure
It's not just about backlinks these days, but about targeted paid ads and online reviews.
You could have all of the essential elements listed above perfected and still have an unsuccessful online marketing campaign if you forget this step. Your campaign is a reflection of who you are as a business and it is imperative that you build a reputation for your website in a way that's acceptable to search engines.
There are several things to consider when directing traffic to your well-crafted online entity, all of which have proven to be effective:
- Paid search advertising, also known as "pay per click"
- Online reviews about your services
- Social media sharing
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a list that won't likely change over time. Trends in this industry come and go, but having a solid presentation to build upon as the pendulum swings will ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your Internet marketing campaign.