Online marketing is like the spice aisle at the grocery store.
You have all these options at your disposal and that can paralyze you from making decisions on what to get.
There can be simply too many ways to get started and for that reason some people don’t ever begin and if they do they struggle to form a clear strategy.
Well, we’re here to help with four main components of online marketing. They’re like the salt and pepper of the online marketing world, the staples, you’ll need for your strategy.
The Top 4 Online Marketing Ingredients
- Social Media
And I would put them in that order too. If you’re going to get started with online marketing the first thing you’ll need is a website. There are a lot of options to launching a website today that you don’t need much of an investment.
There are no-cost options, but I would at least invest $10 into your own domain and about $50 on getting hosting for the domain for the year. That’s a good investment and you’ll own the domain and all the content on that domain.
This is compared to starting with something like a Facebook page where Facebook ultimately owns all the content. It’s a good supplement to your own website, but we’ll get into that a little bit later.
Here are quick overviews of each of the four ingredients. Then we’ll get into how to blend them together for a great online marketing mix.
So your website is the first ingredient for your online marketing efforts. It’s the most important. It’s your biggest asset.
Everything you do online kind of funnels through your website. It’s usually where your leads will come in and how you’ll get business or get a new job or whatever you’re goal is for your online efforts.
Everything else will funnel things to your website.
The reason for this is because with your website you have control. You have control of the design and the content. Once you get people to come to your website you control the experience and can make sure you communicate what you can offer them and get them to convert into customers.
Next up is the blog, which is an extension of your website. You want your blog to be on your website kind of like how your arm is part of your body. It’s attached and it’s part of you, but you can use it to bring things to you.
I feel that a blog is one of the best ways to bring traffic to your website. There are certainly other good ways, but a blog gives you a lot of control and over time the posts will always be there to bring you ongoing traffic.
I like to think of blogging like retirement saving. You start with a regular plan – weekly posts – or something like that. You start out small, but over time things start compounding. You’ll get more and more traffic from a variety of sources including social media and search.
What do you blog about?
Identify who your target reader is. Then identify the common questions they have in relation to your industry. Answer those questions with your blog posts.
Put down 26 questions and you’ll have ideas to last you for six months.
Email is another channel you own and it remains very power. I think the last stat I saw was that over 90% of Internet users in the world actively check their email at least every few days.
If you can get permission to send an email to your target customer it’s an incredible opportunity.
Obviously you don’t want to break that trust. Email is important to us and if someone infiltrates it without permission or if they start abusing the privilege with get upset.
We’ll talk about blending email into your website here in a bit.
Social media is fourth on the list, but it’s still very important.
Social media is a channel where you can build relationships with people. You can build audiences of people that will follow you because you provide valuable information.
Social media is not quite on the same level as email because you don’t entirely control the channel, but it is a wonderful opportunity because so many people use social media.
Blending Them All Together
Here are some tips for blending these four ingredients together.
On your website, launch your blog and begin posting every week. I’ve found that weekly posts are a good place to start. Set aside a time to write each week and give yourself a few days buffer before publishing the post. So if you write on Friday you publish on Tuesday.
As I said earlier, come up with your ideas ahead of time. This way you won’t sit in front of your computer wondering what to blog about.
Add the blog to your website as a sub-folder, which is the /blog/ URL. That’s the best way to do it.
Next, signup for an email service like MailChimp or Aweber. The great thing about these services is that you don’t have to pay much to start and you only pay more when you get more subscribers. So you’ll actually be happy when you’re upgraded.
To start getting subscribers, add a simple contact form for the email newsletter to the sidebar on the blog on your website. Setup to have your weekly blog post go out to subscribers.
To really bump up the value for signing up, create a guide that answers a really big question that your target readers have and offer it as a free download if they signup for the email. You can even create this guide by putting together 5-10 blog posts that cover a similar topic.
Finally, of the five or so main social media sites out there, look for the top 1-2 for you. The ones you want are the ones that have the most of your target audience.
Signup and start adding regular updates. You’ll probably want multiple updates per day especially if you’re using Twitter. You can share your own thoughts and little tips. Share your blog posts and keep re-sharing them over time.
But in the early days also share other interesting content from other industry blogs. This is a good way to keep your stream filled until you get a good catalog of your own posts.
And that’s really how you get started with your online marketing strategy. You’ll want to add your social follow buttons to your website. I recommend putting them in your footer and on your about page. I would also add social sharing buttons to your posts, but that is usually automatic when you get a free template.
It’s a simple concept to getting started, but sometimes the most successful strategies are the most simple. The real trick will be your daily commitment.
There is a saying that you are what you do every day.
If you want to be successful with an online strategy you’ll have to invest in your blog, email and social media on a regular schedule. Weekly is good for the blog and email newsletter and daily is good for social media. Do that consistently for six months and you’ll start seeing some real strong results.
And from there, things will continue to grow.