A CEO should not be concerned with the nitty-gritty details of their company’s marketing strategies. However, not understanding the basics of online marketing and how it can benefit or hurt their company can prove detrimental. Comprehension of how online marketing works and why it is essential is vital for every CEO. CEOs hire marketing team members, and they should understand the skills their marketing team needs and how online marketing in general can help their businesses increase revenue. The return on investment for online marketing is high.
Why Online Marketing?
Modern online marketing takes traditional outbound marketing and turns it inside out. Traditionally, marketing online has been spammy, full of useless content and downright annoying at times. Companies might only have a basic website with a brochure-like presence. Today, however, customers come to companies knowing what they want to buy. They talk to other customers online about particular companies and products. They know what they want. They want companies to engage them and to treat them as individuals.
Online marketing today consists of content-rich websites and connection with potential customers via social media. Online marketing is a multi-layered and multi-faceted tool that can save companies significant amounts of time and effort by connecting with customers in places where they already are online. While outbound marketing at trade shows, direct mail, and cold calls may still have their place in overall marketing strategies, online marketing is much less expensive and produces many more positive results in terms of quality sales leads. Online marketing also provides very specific statistics on potential customers online, which is invaluable to tailoring overall marketing strategies to various types of customers.
Key Parts of Online Marketing
Online marketing consists mainly of a search engine-optimized website and social media. SEO-enhanced websites and social media meet to provide user-centered experiences for all potential customers that visit the company’s website or who initiate a conversation via social media.
Using Online Marketing to Generate Sales – What Your Company Should be Doing
A company’s website must take into account the customer cycle: top of the funnel, middle and bottom of the funnel. Potential customers use general keywords to find a company in their initial search results. The main pages, or landing pages, of a business’ website should incorporate these general keywords into their content. The content must relate to what website visitors searched for.
White papers, lists of facts or other helpful information can help turn visitors into interested potential customers. You might also offer free consultations, estimates or analysis of a potential client’s problem. Offering free, helpful information is essential to building your company’s reputation for being experts.
Have a sign-up form with at least name and email address for visitors to download free ebooks, white papers or to access other free initial services and products. Use their email addresses to encourage them to come back to the site and explore what your company offers. The customer interested in more than just free downloads will likely provide more information about him/herself if you offer user-only areas of your site. The more information you have about your website visitors, the better prepared you will be to customize each user’s experience on your site and your social media pages.
The social media aspect of online marketing takes building relationships with potential customers to the next level. Company employees answer questions from customers on social media sites, host free webinars (through which they also get names and email addresses in registration, in addition to other demographic and personal information), post helpful blogs and give discounts, freebies and sneak peaks to specific groups of customers that engage with the company online. They may also post in forums of interest to potential customers and answer questions on LinkedIn Answers.
Businesses use social media to connect on a personal level with their customers. Social media and a web presence give companies the opportunity to build their online reputations. A helpful, trusted, credible company is likely to receive positive reviews in social media, forums, and articles than a company that is isolated and only offers a spammy-looking webpage.
Online marketing also takes note of what, when, where, why and how people use the site. Website analysis tools tells businesses where people visited, what they looked at, how long they stayed there, what they bought, what they did not buy and generally provides other vital information about customers. Online marketers then use this information to tailor their online marketing to engage specific groups of customers.
Hiring a Marketer for Your Company
Marketing firms and departments handle the details of how to align your company’s business vision and sales goals with the needs and expectations of potential customers. They leverage the data they get from website analysis and customers’ personal and demographic information to increase companies’ bottom lines.
Work with a marketer who understands your industry. Ask for references, and ask for a list of their clients. Talk to the clients to see if they have been pleased with an increase in sales since the marketer took over their website and social media. Work with a marketer with solid professional experience who understands and will work toward fulfilling your goals for your company.
If online marketing is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.