In today’s tech-driven world, online marketing is a linchpin for success. The average consumer is changing how they go about finding products and services, with the Internet being one of the first places that they look. Therefore, no matter what sort of industry your business is in, its online web strategy is invaluable.
As important as a web strategy is, it’s also important to remember that it’s just one piece of the puzzle that makes up a business. And with so much else to take care of, it can seem nearly impossible to keep up with the ever-changing atmosphere of online marketing. But while it may be worthwhile to hire an online marketer or social media specialist to handle the day-to-day tasks, it’s still important that managers and owners have a basic understanding of web strategy and online marketing.
The “50,000-foot view” is common business-talk that refers to a general understanding of how part of a company works. For example, a business owner may not know every step of the process that a dedicated marketing team makes, but it’s still important for the team to know the general highlights and direction of the company. When it comes to online marketing, here is a general outline that highlights the ABCs of web strategy.
Know Your Audience
As with any approach, the first key is that you know where your target is. Therefore, your web strategy should have a firm understanding of your audience and how you plan to attract it. If you believe that you already know your audience, you may want to think again.
Most companies will begin by setting up an online marketing strategy that approaches their audience the same way that it would with offline efforts. However, it’s important to know that the Internet is changing the way that you reach customers.
For example, you may have a stand-alone retail store that nobody outside of your neighborhood knows about, but that doesn’t matter once you go online. Your target audience expands to people around the world when it comes to online marketing and approaching new customers.
By understanding who your audience is and whether it is local, regional, national or global, you can develop an online marketing strategy that directly approaches it. This is also the chance that a business can rebrand its image and find new ways to expand in ways like never before.
Determine What the Audience Wants …
The next step in the web strategy for 2014 should be determining what it is that the audience wants and how easily it will stay interested in what you provide. For example, some online strategies may be to post viral videos to social media accounts. Other businesses might rely on blogging or posting new information for their audience to see. Others may even rely on an email list that is used for a monthly newsletter.
There are a variety of different approaches that may work best for your audience, so determining what it wants will help you focus your approach.
Before you jump to the conclusion that more content is better, keep in mind that this may not be true for your specific market. While there are plenty of videos or memes out there that attract a lot of interest, your target market may not be interested in such “viral content.” Instead, your audience may want more relevant information to your industry and what it is that you provide.
Looking to get 1 million views on a video might be a viable online web strategy for some, but it’s most certainly not the only option. Therefore, know what will interest your audience the most and be sure that this is the type of media you use for your approach.
… And Where They Want To Get It From
It is estimated that Facebook has more than 1.2 billion users who have registered accounts. Twitter has roughly 200 million, and Instagram comes in at around 100 million. These are staggering numbers, but it also shows that there are great disparities between each social media site.
As nice as 200 million users is for Twitter, it has a long way to go before it passes the 1 billion mark like Facebook.
Keeping some of the numbers in mind, it’s important that your web strategy is available to your target market via resources that it uses most often. Facebook is obviously a good resource because of the sheer amount of people who are on it, but it’s not the only outlet for your web strategy. Instead, your business may be better suited with an online blog, YouTube video channel, or a simple monthly email.
If you are aiming your online marketing approach at places where your target audience won’t see it, then you are wasting your time. However, providing information to users where they already are looking will help to increase the online presence of a business.
Optimize for SEO
Anywhere you look for tips on how to make your web strategy better, you are going to hear that SEO should be one of your most important considerations. SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the ranking that a website has on a Google search query. In order to get higher rankings through SEO, a business needs:
» Keyword-rich content that triggers search engine results
» A website that runs smoothly and functions properly
» Correct contact information for a business (called “NAP” for: Name, Address, Phone number)
» No filler content to take up space
Whatever your approach is for online marketing, be sure that you plan ahead. This will help you save time and be much more effective with your online approach.
By planning ahead and having a routine schedule for improving your website, you won’t have to worry about missing posts or running short of content. Instead, you’ll always have new material to help with SEO, while also keeping the interest of your audience.
Unless you are ingrained in the web strategy approach of your business, it can be hard to keep up with everything. But with this 50,000-foot view of the best practices of web strategy in 2014, it’s much easier to see how valuable each part of the process is.
— Taylor Reaume is an e-Business coach and founder of Search Engine Pros. He can be contacted at [email protected], or 1.800.605.4988. Click here to read additional columns. The opinions expressed are his own.