As long as there has been someone with something to sell, and someone willing to buy it, there has always been marketing. It used to be simply a matter of telling everybody that you have a product or service for sale, but in our complex modern society, marketing has become a lot more sophisticated.
Marketing has always been about creating desire for your product or service. With the rise of the internet, there have never been more ways to let people know that you have something they want.
The good news about online marketing is that anyone can do it. There are all sorts of tools and platforms for you to spread the word without spending big bucks on a marketing firm. The bad news is that it’s easy to waste a lot of time and effort on your online presence, and have little to show for it.
There are plenty of ways to make online marketing work for you. Start with some online marketing do’s:
- Re-purpose content – Using old content can freshen things up, and you’ll save time and effort, but be smart about it. Make sure it’s still relevant, and be sure to tweak it if it needs updating.
- Make it searchable – you probably know you can optimize your website, but did you know you can do the same for your social media content?
- Remember why you’re doing this – don’t lose sight of why you’re using social media; have a set of realistic, attainable goals, and stick to your plan.
- Use your measuring stick – every business owner knows the importance of ROI. Make sure you can measure the ROI for your online marketing strategy.
- Get sociable – come up with creative ways of getting your audience to respond to you. It’s your call to action, which always leads to more business.
There are some online marketing don’ts that you need to keep in mind too:
- Don’t shut your clients out – if you ask clients to interact with you online, then interact with them. If you ignore them, you might as well post a sign that says “I don’t need your business”.
- Don’t just dip your toes in – if you’re going to sign up for a new social networking platform, then jump right in. Nothing says “cobwebs” more than a broken link or an unattended account.
- Social media sites are not created equal – every platform has its relative strengths. You can’t leverage them if you execute the exact same strategy on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
- Don’t make friends if you’re not friendly – add the personal touch by telling them a little about yourself or your team, or why you’re passionate about your business. Open up a little!
- Take it to the next level – having followers is great, but keep the lines of communication open. Use the data you have on your clients by asking them to take the next step in the relationship.
These are tried-and-true tips. With patience and persistence, you can make them work for you. Yet at the end of the day, if you feel your business needs a more sophisticated online presence, then it’s probably worth spending a few extra dollars to hire someone to show you how to do it right.
Either way, we can help. Our business advisors have the business experience to help you figure out an online marketing strategy that works for you. We’re only a phone call away!
Neil Macdonald is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has worked in the not-for-profit field for several years, and provides marketing and communications support to small businesses. Neil has been a volunteer with ACCESS since 2015.