Best Practices For Internet Marketing Strategy And Inbound Marketing
Internet marketing strategy is the new way to evolve your web presence to being even more powerful than it is. I have never discovered a website that is devoid of opportunity for improvement. Even the best website typically has flaws or missed opportunities which can result in more traffic, more effective lead generation and more inbound leads or conversions.
I've been thinking about inbound marketing quite a bit, since it seems that there are so many "internet marketers" today who used to be teachers, or sign shops or journalists. The caution is that they may know the right words and yet, they don't get the results you thought you were going to get.
There is one best practice for Internet marketing that these self-professed Guru's may not share with you, and it's one of those things that is so obvious that you may overlook it in your efforts to be posting in many places.
I'll share with you the secret to getting results, but first bear with me for a short story that I feel illustrates the point.
I really love Chinese food, and one of the things that I indulged in when my kids were visiting their father was to get Chinese food at the same little corner shop every Wednesday. There was a lovely young lady behind the counter who was working for her family and she would take orders and make food and deal with customers. We became acquainted because as I walked in each Wednesday, she'd give me a huge smile and ask if I was going to have the same order of House Special fried rice and Hot and Sour soup? Yep. As each week passed, we'd talk a bit more and it got to the point where I'd come in and she'd have my order ready. It became a highlight of my week - that instead of moping over fried rice, it was a social activity that I looked forward to and she did as well. I probably would still be going there on Wednesdays, but something changed. Nina (I learned her name eventually) went off to college and I continued to visit but over the next few visits there was someone different each time, and somehow, the food didn't taste quite the same. So, I found other places and that was the end of that.
I was a loyal customer and that's exactly what most of us wish we had. Loyal customers. The type who suggest to others that they come to our place of business, or that they should seek you out to do business with.
Is there a moral or reason for this story? Yes, because I believe it personifies "Best Practices for Internet Strategy" as well as any Internet based reference. This type of transaction can be interpreted into the social media and Internet marketing strategy world for the following lessons:
1. Be Consistent. If you do something, like a podcast or a blog, be consistent. Believe it or not, consistency builds over time. If you do something once or twice, that's great, but if you do something 100 times, you start to get a reputation for doing it. So, whatever you chose, be it Twitter, or Facebook or Linkedin or Google+ or podcasting or Pinterest or blogging, be consistent about a timetable and doing it often enough to establish some authority.
2. Be friendly. If you are greated and recognized by others, it adds to the experience. Other people feel the same way as you do - it's great to be recognized and warmly welcomed. Just as Nina welcomed me after a while, so do your online 'friends' like to be welcomed. By engaging and establishing dialogue, you develop a rapport that transcends the typical relationships. I've been fortunate to make some terrific new friends through the world of online, and they have been wonderful influencers with recommending business to me.
3. Do unto others. No one likes it when they feel that someone used them or tried to take advantage. Conversely, if you do a good turn, someone wants to reciprocate. That's the nature of "retweeting" for each other and promoting other's events.
4. Be Genuine. If you attempt to do something and position yourself as an expert, it's a great idea to really understand your subject matter. If you are reaching out to the Internet, chances are the people you connect with have experience and knowledge. Use the power of connecting to continue to grow and learn, and give credit when someone shares something new with you.
5. Remember the power of a Name. The sweetest word you'll ever hear is your own name. If you connect, then tag the other person in your post. That gives them the opportunity to read your post and to respond. But be judicious in tagging. If you are continuously tagging people who are not your friends or who do not wish to connect with you, you may wind up being blocked. Using the power of the name is exactly what it sounds like - just use that power wisely.
6. Give it away. If you offer information that people are looking for, you are likely to attract people to your site. Especially in this day of too much spam, it's the polite thing to do to allow people to opt into your email list. I've been to events where people have requested a business card, but then I am spammed with salesy emails that are irrelevent to my needs. This is not a great way to encourage business, and in fact, it winds up discouraging business. Too often, I will wind up unsubscribing. The way to get people to want to follow you or connect with you is to offer them information that they are seeking and give it away. if you keep coming up as a source of great information, eventually the conversation will deepend when the prospect is ready to commit.
7. Understand the funnel. At the top of the funnel, people are looking with broader and more general terms. They are interested in gathering information and are not ready to commit to buy. As your prospects move deeper into the funnel they get closer to making a purchase and the words they use to search are more defined. We call that a long tail keyword. Matching the information you request to the stage of the funnel is the best way to assure that your prospects are becoming leads by converting. Not all visitors are created equal, and some are more motivated than others. Are your offers and contact forms matched well?
8. Understand the Psychology of your customers. Not only should you think through the entire website so that your customers are able to find what they need within a couple of clicks, you also should appeal to the motivation of your customers. There are several distinct pychological triggers that motivate action by your customers. For example, many people are motivated by the fear of loss - that if they don't act now, they won't be able to take advantage of the offer. Using this fear and sharing that this is a limited time offer has the benefit of creating a motivation for pulling the trigger and moving forward.
9. Design with an eye to clicks. When it comes to website design, the best website designs are not necessarily the fanciest ones. Having a site that is indexible and readable by the search engines and that has an easy to navigate user interface and architecture are much better than having a flash intensive, video intensive site. Utilize the tools to analyze page load speed and if need be, remove some of those old flash files and lighten up the load. Having a page that loads quickly is also valuable to mobile browsers. Long load times only promote bounce rate escalation.
10. Use analytics to measure metrics. I'm amazed at how many people have no idea how well or how poorly their website performs. The old days of having a static brochure online are over. With the ability to measure and monitor the site, as well as the opportunity to continuously and dynamically improve, there is no excuse for static websites. At the very least, A/B test your web landing pages and makes mall changes to continue to improve.
Internet marketing strategy incorporates using social media and your website for inbound marketing. The best practices for internet marketing start with having an indexible and searchable website, but beyond that, there are so many ways to improve that it would be difficult to enumerate them all.
WebMarCom is an Internet strategy and Web Marketing Communications Agency based in South Jersey and Philadelphia.