The Online Marketing Engine
By Scott Davis
How do you effectively market your business online? In this day in age, that is the million dollar question. First, we have to look at the different aspects of online marketing and how they all interconnect to create what we call "The Online Marketing Engine".
1. Market Research
Do you even know who your target market is? Knowing your market is the ignition key that starts The Online Marketing Engine. It is imperative that you have a full understanding of your demographics and their social behaviors. Without the information, you reduce yourself to the "shotgun approach" to marketing. Meaning, you spend a lot of time, money and effort hitting markets and demographics that simply aren't a fit for your brand. Knowing all of the information surrounding your demographic helps you understand their likes, dislikes, trends and purschasing habits. The longer you collect demographic data, the better your monthly analytics reports will help you fine tune your targeting system as it will begin to paint a clear picture of who is engaging and how they are finding you.
So, you have a product or service you want to sell? Great! However, unless you invent the next greatest and most revolutionary life-changing product, chances are that your brand isn't well-known and, therefore, lacks it's potential value. This is where branding becomes key. A brand should evoke an emotion from it's target market. That emotion creates value to a product or service by developing trust and attraction through an personal connection. Are you following? To put it in the simplist of terms, effective branding creates an emotional bond between the brand and it's target market, opening the door to sales via the emotional connection. Example: Two identical purses side by side. They are the same color, shape and size. One is plain and the other has Louis Vuitton on the side. Which has more value? Get it?
Ok, this one needs some serious explaining. There seems to be this false idea circulating that if you build a website, visitors will be lined up waiting to explore it.This coulnd't be farther from the truth. Websites are designed to engage visitors who are already familiar with your brand or who have found you through effective internet marketing. They are not designed to generate traffic, at least not entirely on their own. With that said, a great website design is essential for converting visitors in to paying customers. How is this done? This is accomplished by combining simplicity, functionality and highly engaging content. It is proven that most visitors will leave a website after 5 seconds unless something immediately engages them. An effective call-to-action is the key to retaining your visitors and it takes years of experience to understand how to make this work. This is why build-your-own websites and $250 website design from an inexperienced "designer" is never advised. Yes, your site will be live, but it will lack substance and creativity. Again, having a website is one thing but having a highly effective website that converts visitors in to customers is the real goal.
4. Internet Marketing
Market research? Check. Branding? Check. Website? Check. Now you need to bring it all together to make it work as one unit and internet marketing is what will make that happen. Internet/Online marketing is no longer a nice-to-do. It is now a need-to-do. If you are not using internet marketing as your number one marketing tool, it is likely that your business may become irrelavant or non-existent in the next 5 years. What is online marketing and how does it work? That could be a very long answer to a somewhat short question. However, it can be simplified as this: Online marketing is a combination of social media marketing, search engine optimization, web design, blog writing, digital ad placement and highly engaging content. Combined, these components create a funnel that ultimately leads to sales. If you're not currently marketing online, now is the time to start!
As you can see, effective online marketing cannot be accomplished through a single option listed above. Rather, it is accomplished through The Online Marketing Engine, which requires all components to work together in an efficient and productive way, much like the engine of an automobile. If the spark plugs on your car are worn, or if your pistons aren't firing correctly, the performance of the entire engine is effected. It is not different with online marketing.
This article was written by Scott Davis, a 20 year veteran of internet marketing, web design and SEO.
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