Now you have all kinds of different social media, not to mention everything else that feeds into your website. How do you know what works and what doesn’t work for your specific business?
You don’t want to be spending a lot of time on trial and error. Trying out all the different platforms and wasting a lot of time.
What you really need is a custom Total Online Presencetm.
What is a Total Online Presence you ask? Well, let me explain.
So much of what happens online revolves around content. It’s how you get found, why people pay attention and how you start to exchange value. Without it a great deal of effort in other stages will be wasted.
The content platform starts with building a listening station with tools like Google Alerts, TweetDeck, Trackur, Social Mention, Sprout Social or Radian6. From this point you can gain insight into your market, your competitors and important groups, such as key journalists, while starting the work of better understanding your most important keyword phrases.
Keywords are like chapters in your total body of content plan. Doing research, using tools such as Google Keyword Tool or Wordtracker, are the most important ways to show up when people search for a business like yours.
There’s really very little reason to play this game if you don’t put the effort in at this stage.
Having someone type a search phrase that is key to your business and finding a blog post or page from your site on page one of the results is the ultimate payoff.
Search Engine Optimization can be complex and time consuming, but most businesses can generate significant results without making it so, if you simply focus on the following three elements.
Produce keyword rich, educational content – we covered this above, but search engines live on blog posts and other educational content.
Make it easy on the search engines – Make the on-page elements, such as your blog titles, URLs, ALT image attributes, subtitles and internal links, work for you. Use XML sitemaps that make it easy for search engines to grab your latest.
Draw lots of links naturally from other sites – Simply writing great content will start this process, but so will writing guest posts, uploading content to places like YouTube and Slideshare, making thoughtful comments on other blogs, submitting online press releases and amplifying your content in social networks.
An engaged email list, eager to hear from you, is the most valuable asset you can build. 1,000 responsive email followers trumps 25,000 Twitter followers every day when it comes to actually promoting the things that make you money.
Focus on building a list of email subscribers that want to hear from you and social media will become a tool set to help you do more of that.
Social Media Marketing
This is certainly an area where you should consider strategy before tactics.
The first step is to understand how your current customers are using social media and how you can use social media to somehow serve them better. If you do that, you’ll get immediate value.
Create Twitter lists of customers and add their social profiles to your CRM tool. Add a tool like Rapportive to your email.
Once you start to share content, build connections, re-share other people’s content and discover best practices in each individual network, you can begin to amplify your content and start finding ways to drive prospects to your eBook and newsletter in an attempt to start a relationship headed towards conversion.
Many people waste advertising and then conclude it doesn’t work. Pay per click advertising can be very effective when done right. One of my favorite things about it is that a platform like Google AdWords allows you to test your thinking a dollar at a time.
Use your ads to drive content awareness instead of simply to sell.
The basics of PPC are this: Use lots of punchy, dramatic ad copy, but test, revise and test. Create tightly focused ad groups with highly relevant ad copy, work negative keywords out of your list. Test some more.
Mobile and Location
Mobile is more of a behavior than a tool.
I can assure you this however, your customers are reading content, searching for things to buy and using reviews to make decisions on mobile devices.
Create mobile and tablet friendly viewing options with tools such as WPTouch, Tekora or GoMobi. Start creating mobile specific ads, landing pages, coupons and offers that take advantage of the growing use of mobile devices as a major part of the purchasing process.
Analytics and Conversion
Like many stage-based processes there is a cyclical aspect as well. For some, creating benchmarks and key performance indicators is really the first step.
Many people can’t start the process of measuring success until they are measuring in real time or can’t start the process of tweaking and testing until all of the elements are in place. As you build make certain you install tracking code from tools such as Google Analytics, Spring Metrics or KissMetrics so you can begin to build the data to test and refine from.
Then you can start building conversion goals, funnels and events, tracking your ads and split testing your landing pages, opt-in pages and sales pages to discover ways to increase conversion.
Even something as overwhelming and complex as the changing face of marketing online gets just a bit more manageable, I think when you start to view it as a system it is much easier to understand and grasp.
Want to know more? Get the 44-page ebook, 7 Essentials Stages of a Total Online Presence.