Earlier this year I wrote 7 Habits of Highly Effective SEO. To continue with this series, I’ll be expanding to Internet marketing as a whole. There are many moving parts to Internet marketing, not just SEO, and it’s important that these parts are all talking to each other in the right way. From website design to content marketing to social media, remembering these 7 habits will help keep your business right on track.
1. Be Proactive
The first habit is about preparation. Being proactive involves being ahead of the game, remaining one step (or multiple steps) ahead of your competition. With Internet marketing, you can accomplish this by doing your research. Look at current data about your business. Ask yourself questions like: how is my website performing? What is engagement like on my social media profiles? You should also look at your competitor’s data. What do they do online? What kind of campaigns are they running? Who are they targeting?
Once you’ve done your research, it’s on to planning. For every single marketing effort you plan to do online, there needs to be ways to organize and keep track of what you’ll be doing and why you are doing it. Examples of this include SEO keyword research, social media calendars, blog calendars, and design mockups. Through research and planning, this allows you to proactively gauge and effectively adjust your marketing techniques after they have been implemented.
2. Begin with the End in Mind
Without a solid path, you risk executing nearly meaningless online marketing techniques. If you don’t know where you are headed or what you are hoping to achieve, it’s extremely difficult to achieve success.
Right along with the first habit, make sure that your marketing plans are inline with your overall purpose, the why behind what you do as a business and where you want to go. Ask yourself why and how are you different from your competitors. Ask yourself, what services and products am I targeting? Who am I targeting? What are my goals for measuring success? And is my budget where it should be to execute my plans?
Then, figure out what platforms you will be using. You need a great website. In fact, every business needs a website. But how about social media? Or review websites like Yelp? Will you take advantage of paid ads on Google? These decisions all start with beginning with the end in mind.
3. Put First Things First
Now that you’re done with most of your research and planning, you need to keep focused on the right things. Because there are a lot of moving parts to Internet marketing, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where your focus should be.
For instance, let’s say you don’t have a website. This should immediately be at the very top of your to-do list. With 97% of people searching online for local products and services, you need to make sure your business’ website exists within their search results.
Let’s take another example. If you’re a restaurant, and you’re spending your entire online advertising budget on Google ads, you definitely want to reevaluate that. Through additional research, you’ll find that a large number of people use Yelp to find local restaurants. You’ll also find that promoting your restaurant’s happy hour deals on Facebook during lunch hours may be a great idea. So, not only do you want some of your budget going to Google ads, but you’ll also want some going towards Yelp and Facebook.
4. Think Win-Win
This habit is all about seeking an end-result that mutually benefits all parties involved. Who are the parties? You. And your consumers. You “win” by receiving increased web traffic, increased leads, and ultimately successful sales from those consumers. But what do they receive in return?
Today, many consumers search online through a variety of devices: their computer, their phones, and their tablets. They “win” by being able to easily navigate your website no matter what device they are using. Remember that you can achieve this through responsive design. Another “win” for the consumer is when your business provides free resources to them as part of using your service. For instance, if you own an HVAC company, providing a blog article on something like how to keep the house cool in the summer without breaking your budget is a great way to build consumer trust and loyalty. Or, if you own a local boutique, write a blog article about the latest fashion trends for men and women.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Similar to the Habit #4, Internet marketing is not just about your brand. While a good portion of it definitely is, the other portion is your consumer. You need to seek first to understand them. Get into their shoes and find out their needs and how your business can cater to them. How do they search for your services? What platforms are they commonly using online? How will you target them specifically? What kind of marketing techniques will be most effective for them?
For example, if you run a law office, you want to make sure that your marketing efforts are very formal, professional, and maybe even reassuring. If someone is looking for a defense attorney, they’re probably not looking for a website with casual and goofy content.
On the other hand, if you run a car wash company, you can definitely come off as fun and casual. Because some people find getting a car wash a chore, making your website look more exciting and colorful can actually increase your conversion rates.
This habit is all about emphasizing how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Internet marketing is just that: it’s your whole online brand, not just parts of it. Your marketing campaigns should all be synergized. What your business stands for, what you provide, and who you are targeting should be consistent on every platform.
An easy way to think about this is by looking at your logo. Imagine if your logo was different on every single platform and that it even had a different color. Imagine if Coca-Cola suddenly changed their logo to blue instead of red and changed their font completely. It would confuse customers and decreases the strength of your brand as a whole. Just like you’ll want to keep your logo consistent, you’ll want to do the same for everything else.
7. Sharpen the Saw
Last but not least, don’t stay in the same place forever. What worked last year, or even last week, may no longer work today. The digital space is constantly changing. There are new developments every day. Google’s search algorithms will continue to have updates. New social media platforms will start to become popular. Even changes to how people code a website will emerge. As Internet marketing evolves, your business must evolve with it.
About the Author
Jennilyn Adefuin is the VP of Operations at OMNI Online Solutions. With a passion for Internet marketing and strategy planning, she oversees overall fulfillment and technical performance for OMNI and its clients.