It’s a brave new world of exciting and innovative marketing platforms and tools designed to put your products and services in front of the people looking for them.
So assuming you have an updated, easy to navigate website with a clear call to action, there are many proactive steps you can take to maximize your website investment and increase the likelihood that people looking for the products and services you offer will find you and buy from you.
Here are some services that you may want to consider to generate relevant, targeted, search engine traffic, phone calls and even foot traffic into your place of business:
Pay Per Click Advertising
What It Is: PPC is a way of advertising your website or specific pages of your website on search engines and related sites. You can set very specific budgets such as daily, weekly, monthly and you can target your ads to run in very targeted geographical areas by city, state and even zip code.
Bottom Line: You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If you bid $1 for a particular keyword and someone within your geographical settings searches for your keyword and your ad is triggered to display, you will pay $1 if they click on your ad.
Pros: you’ll know exactly what keyword phrases people are using to find you and you’ll only pay for what they click on. Perfect for highly-defined marketing objectives.
Cons: It can get expensive if you don’t budget properly so it should only be used as part of a specific campaign with a verifiable and MEASUREABLE call to action like filling out a form or downloading a coupon. General branding and awareness campaigns are best left to those with very deep pockets.
Custom Facebook Pages
If you’re already doing some type of marketing of your business on Facebook, having a custom Facebook page can really ad purpose and focus to your efforts. So assumming you have a business Facebook page, and not just a personal Facebook page, a custom Facebook page acts like the front door to your Wall. It’s the perfect place to put a specific call to action and also get people to “like” your page which is a form of “opt-in” similar in concept to email marketing.
What it is: A way to put some “teeth” and purpose into your Facebook social media marketing efforts.
Bottom Line: It’s a low-risk, medium-reward effort than can help increase likes which exposes more people to your brand and marketing efforts. It’s also the perfect addition to a PPC program on Facebook because now you’ll be able to “capture” new visitors who like your page.
Pros: Can give measurable purpose to your Facebook marketing efforts.
Cons: Without spending money, time, or both on driving traffic to your Facebook page, having a custom Facebook page won’t do much by itself.
Videos are a great way to gain additional exposure to your business. In fact, did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google (which owns YouTube!)? By creating helpful and informative videos and posting them on YouTube you can gain new visitors and clients who never would have found you otherwise.
What it is: Anyone can create videos to post on YouTube, whether they be montages set to music using tools such as Animoto or talking into a webcam. The beauty of posting your video on YouTube is that they can be keyworded so they come up in related searches (both on YouTube and Google itself) and can be easily posted to your own website, your LinkedIn profile, Facebook and more.
Bottom Line: Videos are an inexpensive and powerful way to add a new dimension to your marketing efforts. They aid with your SEO and can be useful tools for product demos, addressing frequently asked questions, training and lots more.
Pros: Can be simple to create and, most importantly, easy as pie to post on YouTube to be viewed by a large audience.
Cons: Bad lighting and bad sound quality can sink your efforts and reflect badly on your brand. It’s OK to have an amateur production — just don’t make it painful to watch.
Mobile Version of Your Website
With U.S. Smartphone penetration expected to reach 50% by the summer of 2012 according to comscore, it’s more important than ever to have a website presence that’s formatted correctly for iPhones, Androids and Blackberries. While there are many mobile website solutions providers out there, the most important tip you can get from reading this is to look at your own website on a smartphone and see what comes up. In the case of websites heavy with Flash, you might be surprised that the screen displaying (or not displaying) your website is blank. The point is, find out and take action to remedy the situation.
What it is: Having a mobile version of your website means a lot more than merely displaying correctly on Smartphones. It means having a version of your site that actually takes advantage of the platform itself, such as prominent phone numbers that dial with the push of a button, links to maps and GPS systems and email links that send messages right from the phone.
Bottom Line: A mobile version of your site will soon become a necessity not a luxury. Get in front of this change because ready or not, it’s here.
Pros: Put your business where your customers are — on their phones!
Cons: There’s a lot of confusing information out there about mobile. Some plans are a one-time cost while others are a monthly expense. And while we’re at it — no, a mobile website is NOT an app — that’s something else entirely.
The search engines give a lot of creedence to websites with a lot of other sites linking to them. All things being equal, if site A has a hundred inbound links and site B has a thousand inbound links, site B will be ranked higher.
What it is: Inbound links are considered votes of confidence within the search engine algorithms. If quality sites are linking to you regarding a certain topic, you must be an authority on that topic and will therefore be returned higher in the search engine results since search engines strive to return results that are as relevant as possible. Inbound links are an endorsement of relevancy.
Pros: Once you accept the fact that links are important there are many ways to acquire them to your site starting with creating sterling content! Have you heard the saying that “Content is King”? It’s more true now than ever.
Cons: Inbound links are no longer “you link to me I’ll link to you.” It’s gotten way more complex since the search engines have gotten wise to link swaps. One-way links are the new normal or you have to triangulate them, meaning site A links to site B and site B links to site C and site C links to site A.
Pick & Choose
Along with traditional social media marketing, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and location-based marketing, such as Foursquare and Facebook Check-in Deals, there are a lot of exciting things going on in the world of Internet marketing that you need to be aware of. Don’t be overwhelmed by it. Familiarize yourself with what’s available, reach out to experts who can advise you and try one or two new things every three months or so. Do more of what works, ditch what doesn’t and have some fun in the process. Yes, it’s a brave new world indeed!