Going half, but not all the way
Too often, I’ve seen clients who have an email newsletter and use no social networking tools, or perhaps they blog and don’t integrate search engine optimization strategies. When this happens, the business misses out on potentially profitable traffic, new clients, and an increased number of qualified leads.
Although it’s possible to succeed by using one Internet marketing channel, it’s smart to branch out and integrate channels with one another.
Does this mean you need to use every tool despite your time-strapped schedule? The answer is no.
What’s important is to test and track. When you’re done with testing and tracking, you can track and then test. If you always take these two actions, it will be hard to stop you from succeeding against your competition.
Here are some ideas for integrating a variety of tools:
Email Sign-Up Forms and Websites
Before you can benefit and profit from email marketing, you need to attract subscribers. Many visitors find a website via search, click around, and go away without buying anything. Why not get in touch with them a second, third, or fourth time?
Stay in touch with these visitors when you entice them to sign up for your newsletter and provide them with useful content. Use email sign-up forms – with prominent buttons that say “go” instead of “submit” – on your website. If your blog is a separate entity from your main website, be sure to include a sign up form there as well.
Email Marketing and Paid Search
Google should not be the only way you get traffic. If 90% of your profitable traffic comes from Google, your business is too reliant upon one stream. An algorithm change on Google’s part could affect your entire business.
One of the quick ways to build up your email marketing list is to use Google’s paid search. Although you are relying on Google at first in this process, you are doing so with the goal of diversifying your traffic in the future.
Social Media and Search Engine Optimization
The other day, I joined a social networking site for women writers. Within 24 hours, my profile on that website held the #12 position for my name. Although my name is a not a highly competitive search phrase, such as “President Obama,” the speed with which the page was indexed shows the potential for how fast a social networking page can get indexed in Google.
Tip: other social networking sites that currently rank quickly include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you choose to create a Facebook fan page, think about your target keywords. The Facebook page will most likely rank quickly. Ask yourself if you would attract more people if you created a fan page around your target keyword instead of around your business. Would it be better to rank in Google for your business name or target keyphrase?
To reduce dependence on Google, integrate Facebook tools to get more Facebook fans.
If it works for your particular business, let people know about your fan page via your status update in Facebook. As a courtesy, let them know only once. Be careful not to be viewed as a spammer by your Facebook contacts.
If you know people who would be particularly interested in your services, write up a Facebook note and tag those targeted people you have in mind. Your contacts’ Facebook feed will let their contacts know what about your new page. This works especially well if your contacts have contacts interested in your business or service.
Blogging and Search Engine Optimization
Search engines still love the fresh content and structure of blogs and blogging tools. For several years, I’ve advised my clients to use a blogging platform such as WordPress for their content management system instead of straight HTML. WordPress lends itself to easy optimization and usually does well in search engine results.
Using What Works
We can suffer from blindness to our own success and areas where we can improve.
If you can, get a second set of eyes to review your web analytics and track your sales successes. Put your energy into the channels that work best for you.
If you want to test a new channel and have the resources to do so, then do it. Be sure to track so you can learn if it’s a channel on which you should continue to spend your time and energy.
What other tools do you think you could integrate to improve your business? Please let me know in the comments. If you have questions, feel welcome to post them in the comments. I’m happy to answer them.
- Deborah on why SEO’s not dead… yet
- The Small Business Success Index report on marketing and innovation
- 5 social media tips for ecommerce marketing from TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog
Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Creative Commons