As a business owner or solo professional, there are two things you need to learn to build a successful business online marketing strategy.
Ever wondered why 97% of businesses fail to make money online? It’s because they run out of energy and cash before they discover these two things.
In this article, I’m going to teach you in four short, simple and mutually reinforcing traffic streams that will organise your marketing to ramp up your lead flow and your conversion to sales.
Using this same model, you can launch your business to the next level within weeks and months and take 12-24 months off your internet marketing learning curve.
If you’re one of the 97% of small businesses struggling to make a profit through online marketing strategies, even after years in the game, this is definitely a strategy to start implementing.
First, here’s the two things you need to learn about marketing in general. Many people get completely bogged down in the overwhelming amount of information and training out there, paying hundreds and thousands for the latest techniques and marketing platforms. These are only helpful once you have a strategy in place. The two things are:
A. Drive traffic
B. Convert traffic
Learn to master both and you can market anything to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Gone are the days when you can just throw up a website and add a few emails. Customers are savvy. They have learned to filter the thousands of marketing messages they receive every single day, to make their buying decisions based on trust and loyalty.
As I take you through my four streams for a successful online marketing strategy, here’s a quick learning point… the common themes are ‘relevance’ and ‘value’.
This is a strategy I teach all my clients and partners in my primary business. Start strong, invest in a marketing budget for at least 90 days, and set aside some dedicated time learning your trade, build up consistency and find ways to leverage your time.
1. Traffic Stream 1 – Grow your primary list with paid advertising
Most businesses get paid advertising on the internet horribly wrong. They look for cheap ways to bring traffic to their website or they lose their shirt on Google’s pay-per-click or using marketing services. The problem is that traffic is either very untargeted, very expensive or very slow to build.
Social media marketing can drive thousands of visitors to your websites and landing pages. You can use articles, forum posts, YouTube videos, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, press releases, blogging – all excellent methods. But it’s incredibly time-consuming to do it effectively.
To start your traffic pump in any serious way, you’re going to have to do some paid advertising. You do this to jump start your lead generation with targeted traffic.
A few well-placed ads, such as in newspapers, ezine lists, classified, banners on websites that your ideal prospects are likely to read and visit, can really drive secondary social marketing strategies.
You can also pump prime your traffic flow by doing more traditional lead generation, like personal contact marketing, business to business networking, flyers, drop cards, trade fairs, and so forth.
2. Traffic Stream 2 Integrate social networking and give great value
OK, so that’s a quick and dirty overview about generating primary traffic. Now here’s where the magic starts… converting traffic. And that is all about building a relationship with your visitors so they become leads, and then with your leads, as prospective customers.
While social media marketing is seriously uphill all the way in terms of generating traffic and leads, it is highly effective for converting leads.
Back up your paid advertising with a content-driven strategy by giving away valuable tips or guidance relevant to your services or products. You can also send your contacts great ‘free’ content via a social site, usually a blog, Facebook fan page or other branded website. (You can do this with an exit popup or via email follow ups.)
While building trust and relationships, the content you create also provides a secondary stream of traffic. It is a slower brew, but this is where people learn to know you, like you, trust you, all necessary before they will buy from you.
Likewise, your email follow up should be regular, short, friendly, fun messages with a link out again to your blog or website, as well as your social networks so you can build a relationship in different places and link all your marketing together.
If you only pitch to your list, your response rate and conversions will slowly die. What this means in reality is that you will ALWAYS have to pay a premium for paid advertising as your primary lead generation, because your secondary marketing is weak.
Optimise everything to your most wanted prospects and create good congruence between your ads, your target keyword phrases, your offers, and your content. Move the people who are a good fit and respond to what you offer, i.e. become a customer, to a VIP list.
3. Traffic Stream 3 Nurture the viral process
Conversion rate is a good test of your worth to your list. But there’s another test.
Done well, value-driven content will not only increase your conversions from visitors to leads to buyers to regular buyers, it can also kick start the viral process as others tell their networks about you, your content, your products, your offers.
This is excellent ‘social proof’ of your value. Imagine if on your blog, you have a page or a post that everyone is sharing – and you can actually ‘see’ that social activity in the number of tweets and shares.
Well, in fact, social media makes this very easy to do. Most sites nowadays have the ability to share content very easily – to pass it around, to forward it, to repost or retweet. One way to encourage this on your own sites is to add plug-ins so visitors can share more easily with their favourite social networks and bookmarking sites.
When you see this viral activity happening, it is really amazing.
4. Traffic Stream 4 – Aim for the number 1 spot on the search engines
Over time, you will see your website page rank increase, due to the back links and bookmarking you can attract. This can happen quite quickly or build up slowly over time, depending on the niche you are in and the competition for your keywords.
Google and co. reward you for popular content, this in turn pushes your content up the search engine results for each target keyword phrase, which brings a further stream of organic traffic into your site. So keywords really are…. KEY!
So test out different keyword phrases on separate pages and start to move the best traffic converting keywords into your title, page content, image tags and hyperlinks.
Feeding the social process with this mutually reinforcing strategy means more traffic organically (which is free!), more targeted traffic (which lowers your cost per conversion) and more responsive subscribers/followers who turn more easily into loyal buyers (which increases your conversions and your profit).
You finally make it to a winning strategy for generating a consistent volume of high quality leads, by integrating paid lead generation with social networking strategies. Once in your value-rich marketing funnel, these become hot prospects who convert to sales like crazy.