Business owners peruse the internet, coming across web page after web page of regurgitated information boasting buzzwords like creative content and quality leads without any real explanation as to what these words mean to them, or better yet, how to buzz through these buzzwords with great success.
As a small business owner interested in driving more traffic to your business both online and in-store, you’re likely overwhelmed in an attempt to find answers to simple questions, like…
How do I market my website? Do I need social media for my business? What is SEO?
You can get lost for hours in each of these subjects without really finding out how these areas of online marketing are connected or where to get started. Let this blog post be your guiding light through what may seem like the Bermuda Triangle of online marketing. In this post, we’ll aim to guide you through your dark and treacherous travels within the internet and help you see that website content, social media, and SEO are actually the online marketing trifecta! Have a question? Post it in the comments below.
Off To A Good Start With Online Marketing
Let’s assume you already have a website dedicated to your business, that you’ve at least looked into establishing an online presence via social media, and that you’re interested in SEO even if you’re not quite sure what it is. However confusing these subjects can be, what you know is that you want your business to be a growing success. That’s it. To you, that is all that matters. Tweet This!
Like many small business owners, your marketing plan is on a small budget. You need to grow your business, but you need more business income to grow. So, you invest what you can one bit at a time. Right now, you’re looking to make the most of what you have. You’re looking for some “staying power” which you already know will mean putting your business in front of more people, more often, through the use of the Internet. Tweet This!
Phase 1: Website Marketing
You’ve researched the basics of online marketing. At this point, you know you need a website that is capable of capturing lead information for sales. You’ve researched what you can do with this information and a variety of ways to nurture your leads via email marketing. You’ve read about implementing a call-to-action (CTA) to your website; that your CTA should be visible on your homepage without having to scroll down on the page. All of these things are true, and it is all great information. But, how? why?
Here’s where it gets tricky. At this point you may have researched someone to design a web page for you and you have signed up for a MailChimp account. You’re having your web designer integrate a web form on your homepage that will auto populate to your email marketing platform. Everything seems to be going great!
Have you thought about what you’re going to say to your new leads? Do you have something consistent to send your leads? Even more importantly, where are these leads going to come from? You quickly learn you’ll need people to visit your website so they can then be encouraged to get more information about your business.
This is where that creative content buzzword comes into play. A well-designed lead nurturing program will take new leads through the sales funnel, automatically. As a business owner, you don’t want to waste your time selling to people who don’t want to be sold to, so you’ll need to setup an initial campaign to weed out higher quality leads.
At this point, you’ll include a Double-OptIn (aka email verification) to get rid of any fake leads, but then you’ll need to deliver on some kind of offer to push new leads from pending prospect to solid sale.
Great! Now you have a one-off web design guy that can get you all setup, but you don’t have all the content required for the setup to fully function as an online promotion tool. You’ll need to hire someone to create some unique content to connect to your CTA on your website, deliver via your web form, and help guide new leads from initial interest to a sales consultation. So, you do that and will likely have to pay a retainer fee to keep your web designer waiting while you have some content created. Meanwhile, your marketing budget is dwindling away while you try to figure out where to focus your online marketing.
Phase 2: Content Marketing
All you wanted was to drive more new clients to your business through your website, but now you find that in order to effectively do that, you need to add regular content to your website so you have something to offer your prospective clients. You brainstorm with your web designer and decide you’ll need some landing pages to link to your website’s call-to-action. Maybe you create some landing pages around information regarding your main products or services and add a few extra special offer landing pages for when you feel like promoting a deal exclusive to your online followers.
Unsure of how to make each of these landing pages sound unique without directly copying and pasting information from your main website or someone elses, you decide you need someone to help you effectively write some on-site content or web copy. In the meantime, you’ve read a lot of great things about eBooks and creative how-to content like infographics and online video tutorials. You decide you want to create a few of those to promote more visitors to your website. More visitors means more leads and more leads means more business!
Now, you have some content and you can get it plugged into your website and have an idea of what your lead-nurturing steps will be. You are starting to realize that you’ll need regular updates to your content in order to email your leads more often, but you’ve decided to worry about that later because you’re still stuck on one of those initial questions – How are you going to let people know about your website content so you can get more traffic?
Phase 3: Social Media Marketing
Everyone has heard an amazing story about how a small business started a social media page and suddenly had tens of thousands of followers interacting with them and more business than they could handle! While these stories are true, getting that kind of overnight attention doesn’t come as easily now that everyone has discovered the same internet how-to articles you have.
Suddenly, everyone exists on the Internet. You know if you don’t at least try, then you might as well kiss your business goodbye. You also know that getting in the game is a highly competitive business. So, you research how to set up your business on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter – adding business description, web address, contact information, photos, logos, etc. It seems easy enough until you actually get in there and try it yourself. What business owner has time for this, right?
Even if you successfully navigate properly setting up multiple social media accounts, you’re probably wondering after the first week what else you’re going to post about. You’re definitely going to need some compelling posts to go up against your online competition.
Now you’re back to that new, original content thing you’ve read about in so many other places. This is the point where many small business owners throw up their hands and insist, “There has to be a better way!” So, you travel down the road a little further and come across this thing called SEO.
The All Encompassing World of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. You probably know that, but do you know what search engine optimization actually is? Ok. Ya, sure. It is something that will help you get more traffic to your website. You might even type “define SEO” into your browser and get the short definition from Wikipedia – SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. For most people, that definition doesn’t really help define SEO other than giving the illusion that it is free and letting us know that it comes from search engines.
There are many layers of SEO. There are entire college courses taught on SEO without ever really skimming past the top of the what or the how of SEO. But, here’s where this all gets very interesting.
If you were answering a multiple choice question on “What is SEO,” I can assure you that the answer should be “All of the above.” Let me explain.
If SEO is the process of affecting your website’s visibility organically, than guess what SEO is? SEO is your website. SEO is your content. SEO is your social media marketing. SEO is all of the above. Tweet This
Search engine optimization is a lot of things – from proper headers on a web page to naturally implementing keywords into your website that you ultimately want to be searched for. You’ll learn things like – every page should only have one H1 header tag and each web page should have one main keyword focus. You’ll learn about broad match and long-tail keywords. All of this information goes into your website’s on-site content, but there is no one, single aspect of SEO that will get you results. SEO is an umbrella of hundreds of ranking factors that serve as constant checklists in how to gain more high quality traffic to your business through the use of the Internet. This is your website marketing – your static content, your web copy, your web forms, and your landing pages.
Likewise, you will need new content that will drive traffic to your website. For some businesses, that means expanding the information provided on their website and regularly updating that content to answer every possible question a prospective client might have regarding their product or service. For other businesses, this means having a business blog. The consistent content you plan to publish on your website is your content marketing.
Articles, guides, eBooks, newsletters, blogs, eBrochures, infographics, and other creative ways of answering client questions are what you want to share on your Social Media pages between posts you use to effectively represent your business as an online persona. This is your social media marketing.
What you share on your social media pages will drive traffic back to your website to visit the new content that you have posted to gain credibility as a business online. Your content gains credibility for your website by answering questions your visitors have. The more visitors you get back to your website and the more time they spend researching within your site, the more valuable your content seems to search engines like Bing or Google. As more people search for you online, you get more “votes” from users who search a given set of keywords and find one of your web pages. It is at this point that many business owners realize that their website, social media, and SEO are not three different points of a triangle – where one aspect can be visited at a time – instead, this online marketing trifecta is a never-ending circle.
While many websites can survive standing on only one leg of online marketing, the only way to be truly successful and gain noticeable momentum in more organic traffic to your website is to implement a web design, content strategy, and social media marketing strategy into your overall SEO business plan.
For many business owners, the depth of each of these areas is daunting and attempting to learn all the routes of online marketing on your own can be an expensive way of getting nowhere fast. That’s why Boostability offers a one-stop-shop for a simple web design, blogs and articles for your website, and daily social media emails letting you know how to effectively manage your own content.
For the greatest success in helping users find your business online, you’ll want to focus on promoting your business across all of these areas. Reaching your full online marketing potential doesn’t always mean more time from you and more money out of your pocket.
Boostability offers complete online marketing packages starting at just $250/month. For more information on how you can improve your website, be consistent with your web content, and market your business on social media, sign up for more information at www.Boostability.com/Small-Business-SEO or give us a call at 1-800-261-1537.