Diversify your online marketing: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

diversify your online marketing

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

It is generally accepted that an integrated approach to marketing, and by integrated I mean both offline and online marketing efforts, works best. However, for many small online businesses and start-ups with modest budgets and resources,  the reality is that digital marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing.

Diversify your online marketing efforts

If you are prepared to put in time and effort then online marketing can help you climb up the search engine rankings, drive more traffic, build customer relationships and increase conversions. However, it is essential  that you don’t focus your efforts in just one area, rather diversify your online marketing to cover different activities. For example you may excel in your social media efforts, but if you are using social media in isolation then it just isn’t going to bring in the traffic you need to make your online business successful.

Of course,  it is also about striking the right balance between undertaking a variety of online marketing activities and not spreading yourself so thinly that you are unable complete any activity to a professional standard. I would therefore suggest you focus on some key areas and do them well.

Content should underpin everything you do.

Content should be the constant in all the activity your undertake. Your customers want to see relevant, fresh and valuable content and consequently this is what Search Engines want to see too – up-to-date, relevant and quality content. Good content is absolutely central to whether your digital marketing will be effective.

Key areas to consider:

Website

Your website is so important – so focus your initial efforts on getting it right. You may have a great product or service and traffic may be flowing in however,  if your website isn’t up to scratch then no sooner than a visitor arrives, they’ll leave – without hanging around to see all the great things you may have on offer. You should be looking at your website’s navigation, usability, accessibility, credibility and of course, content. Take a look at our post 7 website essentials for a successful online presence for some helpful tips and advice to making the most out of your website.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing involves two areas –  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC)  advertising (think Google AdWords). Search engine optimisation focuses on improving your website’s position in the search engines natural listings – using on-page optimisation, keyword and keyphrase analysis and link building.  With PPC advertising you pay for an advertisement to appear  at the top and to the right of relevant search engine pages.

It’s best  to take a two-pronged approach – especially when you are starting up.  Don’t forget it takes time for you to climb up the natural search engine listings through SEO so driving traffic through PPC as well is a good idea.

Email

Email has suffered a bit from bad press over recent years however I think is it an excellent and very cost-effective way of keeping in touch  with customers. Email is a great channel  of communication, it’s so quick and flexible you can (and indeed should) use it to communicate all sorts of information. Such as marketing offers and promotions, product and service updates, informative newsletters and customer service correspondence. Focus on building a great database of customers and targeting your emails appropriately to each segment.

Blogging

As we’ve already mentioned, keeping your website up-to-date with fresh and relevant content is essential. Setting up blog on your website is a great way of doing this. Not only are you helping keep  search engines happy, you are also giving something back to your customers (which is great for relationship building) and enticing in new customers looking for information on a particular subject. Try and keep the blog relevant to your target audience and online business.

Social Media  

And of course we can’t finish without the growing phenomenon of social media. Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – are one of the best ways to give your brand personality and build relationships with customers through two-way dialogue. In a 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 89% of marketers said that social media had generated more business exposure with benefits including:

  • Improved sales
  • Increased exposure
  • Grew business partnerships
  • Generated leads
  • Improved search rankings
  • Increased traffic
  • Market place insight

 

It will take both time and effort in all these areas for you to reap the rewards of digital marketing.  However having a diverse and integrated approach goes hand-in-hand with creating fresh and relevant content. Stick with these digital activities and you will see your search engine rankings improve,  traffic to your website  increase and relationships with your customers develop.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic, so do please take a moment and leave a comment.

Easter Basket image courtesy of artur84 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Make sure your online business gets a bite of the apple this Valentine’s day

valentines day image

The days of grabbing some last minute flowers from the local petrol station on the way home from work are long gone. Nowadays, Valentine’s day is seriously big business. According to statistics 180 million cards are exchanged on Valentine’s day and the average annual Valentine’s day spending is a staggering $13.19 billion.

Growth in online Valentine’s s day purchases

For the past few years UK and US online Valentine’s day sales have been grown steadily year-on-year. In the UK alone it is estimated that 1 out 3 shoppers will go online for their Valentine’s day purchase. So if you are an online business offering something that would make a great Valentine’s day gift or experience then you really can’t afford not to tap in to this lucrative seasonal surge.

Valentine’s day is not just for the chocolate and card industries

And, don’t just think Valentine’s day is only of relevance to the card, flower and chocolate industries. These days popular Valentine’s day presents are surprisingly diverse –  from jewellery to electronics, clothing to pets. Yes, pet shops take note, in the US an eye watering $367 million is spent on pets on Valentine’s day.

Take inspiration from other websites

So, what can you do as a small business to get in on the act? A good starting point is getting some inspiration from other websites. There is a great deal that can be learnt from looking at websites that have been established for a while or who have a large marketing team and budget behind them. Assessing other sites can provide you with great insight and is a good way to generate ideas – even if you have to pare them down or adapt them to meet your own business requirements. Here are a few websites that we at ShopIntegrator think do Valentine’s day well:

Valentine’s day up your online business

  • Website: Give your website a Valentine’s day feel and focus by introducing some relevant images and graphics. When customers come to your website they should immediately be able to see where your Valentine’s day selection is. Remember, customers shouldn’t have to think to hard once they’re on your website. Categorise gifts where you can and try and help customers with their purchase by inspiring them with gift ideas ‘gifts for him’,  ‘gifts for her’ ‘gifts under £25’ and so on. And, as with any seasonal deadline, make sure last shipping and delivery dates are clear for your customers to see – shoppers will not want their Valentine’s day purchases turning up after the event.
  • Special Valentine’s day offers: Used sensibly, special offers can be a good way to pull in customers. Perhaps think about motivating customers with a Valentine’s day promotion as an added incentive.  For example a small free gift with every purchase  over a certain value or introduce discount codes and sales vouchers with free shipping and delivery,  percentage off or multi-buy savings. Just remember to factor in all your costs before introducing any promotions.  Although offers may generate more sales, your profit margins could be effected.

“People who receive gift cards often spend more than the value of the card

  • Spread the word: Telling your customers about what you are doing is essential. Use all your available digital marketing tools to spread the word.  Send out Valentine’s day related emails and promote your special offers on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and  all your other social media sites. And if you have a blog then why not use it to entice customers in. Not on the High Street. com have cleverly used their blog to inspire customers and to tap into the whole Valentine’s day phenomenon with fun and relevant posts.

Plan ahead your seasonal promotions

It is important think ahead and plan for seasonal surges such as Valentine’s day. Most industries have times when sales peak. You need to identify these periods in order to ensure you maximise the opportunities they can offer your business. And remember one of the benefits of being an online business is that you have a global audience – so try to think globally and culturally. Once you identify your best seasonal periods and start examining all the possible opportunities, you’ll be surprised at just how creative you can get.

Image courtesy of Claire Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

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