What if there was an economical way to attract new customers, interact with current clients, and tell hundreds or thousands of people about your business? Seem too good to be true? Online marketing is the answer.
Whether you use email, social media, blogs, your website, or a combination of all of these approaches, you first need a strategy and a plan. Check out these eight tips to boost your online marketing reach.
1. Be conversational and friendly.
People are busy. Make it easy on them to read and interact with your content. They don’t have the time or the desire for acronyms, business jargon, or high-level research. Write as if you’re talking to a friend. Keep your sentences short, make sure your topic is relevant, and write with your customer in mind. What types of information would be most helpful? What subject lines and blog topics will entice your subscribers to continue reading?
2. Schedule your posts for maximum reach.
Have an upcoming event? Want to recognize a special day or person? Wish to share a funny picture? Consider scheduling your news ahead of time for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social platform. I’ve been using HootSuite for years and find it intuitive and user-friendly. But there are other options out there. Check out Sprout and TweetDeck for Twitter or Buffer and Ifft for other social media. You’ll also need to determine which networks work best for your business and your goals. Here’s a great post about creating a social media calendar.
3. Interact with your customers and clients.
When someone posts something about your business or brand, be the company that is willing to have a conversation. If it’s a compliment, say thanks. If it’s a grievance, respond promptly and ask what you can do to resolve the issue. If it’s just a shout out, say hello back and perhaps offer them a coupon or a special deal. Again, Hootsuite is an easy way to curate and see posts in real time. I’ve also used Radian6 at a large organization and found it to be an excellent resource.
4. Measure twice, cut once.
As that old adage has it, prepare before you begin. Do some testing before you launch your online marketing campaign. Since a majority of people access news and email via their mobile devices, make sure your website uses responsive design and all your sites display properly on smaller screens. Test how your website, emails, and other online marketing tools look on smartphones and tablets. Send your messages to people in your company before launching them to your customers and subscribers. In addition to display issues, this is also a great chance for others to check for any errors in your copy.
5. Don’t re-invent the wheel.
It’s okay to repurpose and reuse content for different audiences. If a post did particularly well on Twitter, for example, don’t be afraid to include it in your next email message. If you received a lot of feedback and questions after an email campaign, consider expanding the content into a blog. You can then post the blog on your website and LinkedIn. You know your audience; you know what they prefer. But you needn’t bake from scratch every time.
6. Be patient; be flexible.
You’re doing everything right, you’re having great conversations, your posts are relevant, and your stats look great. So why aren’t sales through the roof? Online marketing takes time. And you need to do some analysis to see what’s working and what’s not. Are there certain days or times that work best for your posts? Do people respond to particular topics? Does one channel (Twitter, Facebook, etc …) seem to resonate more with your followers? Is there a particular format—images, blogs, videos—that your customers like best? Examine what is working, then go back to the drawing board and tweak your online marketing strategy. Remember: You want people to enjoy your content and then take action.
7. Keep it simple.
You don’t need to be on every social media platform, send weekly emails, or write weekly blogs. Pick the network(s) your customers prefer. Survey your customers about how often they’d like to receive emails or read blogs. Remember that it’s better to successful at one strategy or on one channel than to be mediocre across five platforms. So don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on what you do well and what your customers want.
8. Don’t be afraid to use humor.
If you can make your clients laugh, you’ve created a bond and they’re more likely to remember you. And, according to research, good memories simply last longer. Laughter unites and unifies people. Whatever your brand, whatever your product, try to bring a smile to your customer’s faces.
Keep an open mind and keep experimenting as you find the best ways to connect with your customers. Online marketing is a powerful and economical way to tell people how you can help them. Done right and done with purpose, it can boost both your reputation and your bottom line.