We get it: online marketing is a dark, mysterious abyss that is new and unknown. It’s not as satisfying as a sale that is closed in-person. It’s not as concrete as those in-person interactions that come with a customer that walks in the door of your business. We’ve heard it all before from our clients.
But online marketing gets customers to your door, both in-person and via the internet. Online marketing builds trust with your customers before they pick up the phone or walk in—if you take these do’s and don’ts to heart when marketing your business online.
Do invest in a solid website.
A mobile-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and functional website is worth its weight in gold. A solid website is the foundation of a strong marketing plan with pages full of information that your audience wants to read—and you want to direct them to (more information on the musts of a solid website can be found here).
Don’t create a website and neglect it.
The days of producing a solid website for the sake of having a website is over. Nowadays, that website needs to work for you. It needs to have content optimized for search engines so your website shows up at the top of results and on search engine maps. It needs to have a solid contact page that you can direct your customers to when they have questions. It needs to have links to your social media pages so potential customers can continue to connect with you. It needs to have content that answers your customers’ questions and scores points with search engines (more info on regular content here).
Do get the attention of search engines.
Keep two key audiences in mind when you write content for your website: your customers and search engines. More than 90% of all online searches start with a search engine so it makes cents (pun intended) to optimize your website content and invest in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO technology gets your website to the top of users’ search engine results within 10, 20, or 50 mile radius (more information on local SEO in this post).
Don’t start marketing without an integrated plan.
The key is integrated. Your marketing efforts need to be strategic, and an integrated plan that coordinates your online and offline marketing tactics is key (get started with these tips for drafting a marketing plan for your business). Draft an integrated plan that is flexible enough to bend with the trends and inclusive enough that your brand message is clearly heard in your online (social media, content marketing pieces, etc.) and offline (post cards, ads, etc.) channels.
Do invest in mobile marketing.
Marketing for mobile devices is not just a fade. It’s not going away. To the contrary, smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are a wave of the future that we all need to get used to and cater to. If you have a website that isn’t mobile friendly, it’s time to contact a website design company to get a new, mobile-friendly website (built with these website must-haves) online.
Don’t think you have to reach everyone.
Stop trying to reach everyone; instead target your communications for a better return on your investment. Who are your customers? What information do they want? Where are they online? Where are they offline? How can you reach them? The answers to your questions should guide your targeted marketing efforts.
Do outsource your online marketing efforts if you don’t have time.
Even with the best of intentions, many a business owner or manager has run out of time to carry out even the most well-thought out marketing plan. The internet is full of blogs and social media sites started by businesses who abandoned them because of lack of time. If you find you don’t have enough time, don’t hesitate to outsource your efforts to the local experts that can meet your needs and your budget.
Don’t cheat and copy and paste the same text on all your social media sites.
Sorry, you’re not fooling anyone when you post the same text to Facebook and Instagram. It’s not effective. People can tell you’re haven’t created information specific to them, and it’s not going to perform as well. If you feel a little out of your league (knowledge and time-wise) on a social media channel, contact a marketing company that can use the same voice as you already use and get results when you feel you’re in over your head.