With all the advice floating around out there about online marketing, sometimes it can be hard to remember it all – or separate the good advice from the bad advice (from the weird advice). It’s easy to get caught up and forget the basics. If you’re feeling a little frazzled by it all, take a step back. Breathe deep. Then review our list of seven things you should know, but may have forgotten along the way, about online marketing.
1. It takes time.
You can’t set up a Facebook or Twitter account and expect it to be successful overnight. Sure, this happens every so often – but mostly for huge, established companies like Nike who have a staggering offline presence. You might not even see results within the first week, so you can’t get easily discouraged. However, we’re also referring to the fact that you and your team need to put some working hours toward your online marketing. If you just throw together a landing page in five minutes, that level of effort is going to show.
2. It takes consistency.
If you’re only creating new content once every month or so – or “when I remember” or “whenever I feel like it” – you’re destined for failure. Twitter users send 140 million tweets per day. If you tweet every once and awhile, you’re barely a drop in that vast bucket. As of 2008, there were 1 trillion pages on the Internet (according to Google) – but with the constant content creation that’s happened in the past four years, imagine how that’s grown! If you don’t keep up, you’ll be left in the dust.
3. All factors must be integrated.
The key components of your online marketing strategy (SEO, pay per click, digital PR, and social media) are not separate elements, working independently of one another. All the components of your online marketing strategy complement one another, and should work together to help you achieve your end result. The most basic example? Using SEO keywords in your social media profiles.
4. Testing is key.
How do you know which copy and keywords work best for your intended audience? You test. And then you keep testing. And then you test some more. For PPC campaigns, try split testing your ads to see what works the best. Experiment with your landing pages – what’s the most effective headline? Call to action? If you stick with one, you’ll never know.
5. It’s a lot like baking a cake.
Don’t go running into the kitchen just yet. A cake recipe and an online marketing strategy are similar in some very fundamental aspects. Say you want to bake a cake, but you realize you’re out of eggs. Conventional wisdom says you should just run out to the store and buy some eggs, but your cake is already half done! It’ll probably be fine without eggs, right? Actually, your cake will probably not look or taste very appetizing.
It’s the same with online marketing. If you do digital PR and social media marketing, but don’t bother with SEO and your website is a disaster…that’s one nasty, inedible
cake marketing strategy.
What if you’re running late? The cake calls for a 20 minute baking time, but you decide to increase the temperature and bake it for 10 minutes. You’re not going to get a cake – you’re just going to get a hot, possibly burned mess. But not a cake. Your online marketing can’t be rushed either. If you want to do it right, you’ve got to stick to the recipe.
6. Your website is still really important.
Your website should be the hub of your efforts. Everything you do should help eventually direct traffic to your site. Your website is your house. If visitors to your site show up only to find broken links, outdated content, and no graphics, it’s as if you invited them to your house – but it’s a house with no living room furniture and a dirty bathroom. What does this say about you? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
7. It’s not free.
This is where a lot of people get confused. It’s free to sign up for a social media site or a blog. There are many free TOOLS. But strategy, expertise, and implementation come at a price! Once you have people who know what they’re doing, you still need a budget. To see any type of effective return on your investment, you have to (come on, say it with me now) actually invest.