Note: This post is based on a webinar we hosted. You can learn more about our webinars here, and sign up to hear about upcoming events.
Online marketing has been around for awhile, but every business had fully set up an online presence. COVID has changed all that; if you don’t have a digital presence by now, you’re out of business.
Most companies have a website, but there are so many other ways to make sure your customers can find you online. The Internet is a busy place, after all. How are they going to find your website? Plus, COVID has changed the way people search and who is searching. Whether you’re a grocery store or a software company, you need to readdress your online brand.
If you’re trying to figure out how to market online, here are eight key areas where you can start. We could write a book about each of these topics, so this is a very quick overview. Click the links to read more about each of these, or contact us for help.
- Website – Yes, you probably have one by now. (At least, we hope so!) However, now you need to examine your site with a few things in mind. First, is it responsive? That means it changes its shape and menu for phones and tablets, making it more user friendly. Second, does the content and experience serve people who are searching in 2020? Before, your website may have been a brochure; you focused on getting people to your brick-and-mortar or focused on setting up meetings for your B2B. But now, people are researching, shopping, and buying without seeing you or speaking to anyone on your team. Does your website serve those needs? Make it easy for your customer to know what to do.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization is how you get found when someone searches for “dental office Raleigh” or whatever keywords your customers use. Our potential clients often struggle with the idea for many reasons. (A) SEO has changed a lot over the years, and they may have old ideas about how it works. Spammy backlinks and putting the list of cities you serve in the footer of your site don’t work. (B) SEO isn’t just ONE thing you do, such as putting some keywords on the homepage. (C) SEO seems mysterious, like the man behind the curtain. What is he doing back there?
The Real Deal: SEO is many pieces of a puzzle. It’s the words on your site, but also a bunch of stuff not on your website, such as having social media accounts and getting yourself listed in directories. COVID has changed this, too. If you already have an SEO program in place, consider checking on your keyword volume; the people searching may have changed and the words they use may be slightly different.
- Google My Business (GMB) Page – A lot of businesses don’t realize they can control at least a tiny bit of what’s out there about them. If you haven’t already, claim your GMB Page. There, you can update your hours, add photos, videos, or your logo, add posts, and make sure your address, phone number, and website are correct.
- Social Media – Social media is a lot of work, for little return in some cases. Yes, you need to be on there. Having profiles helps with your SEO and it helps with credibility as people search for you. The key here is to create only the profiles you need and to do them well. You might not need to be on TikTok and Pinterest, for example. And by do them well, we mean be social. Most people are too shy to show themselves or their team. But that content will get you much farther than general posts of tips. Also, use the keywords you and your SEO team have chosen. (Also, be sure to set up your accounts with the future in mind.)
- Online Reviews – Most people leave a review only when they are upset. Balance those and the fake ones out by asking your friends and fans for a review. Create a cheat sheet with short links to your profiles. You want to make it easy. We also recommend you include an email address where people can message you if they have a complaint. Then, be sure to ask continuously for reviews. Ask customers after they’ve interacted with you or email a few dozen each month. Create a system based on your business, but never stop asking. (Pssst: Don’t put a tablet in your lobby.) Also, respond to reviews, good and bad. Here’s how.
- PPC Ads – Not every business wants to set aside money for advertising, but you absolutely should. PPC is one of the best ways to reach people because we can target your audience much more strategically and track the results. Unliked with a magazine, you’ll know how many of your calls or inquiries are coming from those ads. These other tactics often take time, but PPC can help you get people in the door quickly.
- Content Marketing – You may think no one is going to read your blog. Maybe they won’t. But Google likes to see your website get fresh updates. Create a blog and post there at least twice per month, though weekly is better. Use keywords people are searching. And if you hate writing, it’s OK to create videos and infographics.
- Email Marketing – People still want to hear from brands and companies via email. Even if they don’t open those emails, your name is in front of them. So set up emails, set up a way to get more addresses, and send something once a month. (If you’re a retailer, you’ll send more emails: thanks for purchasing, abandoned cart, special deals, etc.) Creating fun email content isn’t easy; try your best to provide useful information and stuff about your company or team.