At this point it should be obvious to most business owners that they need to be visible online in order to grow and be discovered by new customers. However, the competitive world of internet marketing can be a brutal and unforgiving place. So how can you cut through the clutter?
It all starts with your website. The internet is a much different place than it was even 10 years ago. Having a quality website that is interesting to the eye and easy to navigate is a necessity, remember, it is a reflection of your business. When people visit your site, they are going to decide whether to do business with you or not based on their experience.
When I come across a website that looks like it was made in the stone age, with chunky awkward designs or misspelled words, it strikes me as unprofessional and my cursor quickly heads for the back button. I doubt that I am alone in this. If your site looks like my myspace page from 2008, it’s time for an update. Spend time on your site to make it as good as you can. Once you have a quality site, it’s time to make it visible.
Ok, so you’ve spent some time and money making a beautiful website, the question now is, how do you get it in front of the right eyeballs?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most used tactics for gaining visibility. It’s a process that aims to improve a website’s positioning on the organic section of search engine results page. SEO is complicated and I won’t get too much into the technical side of it here, but there is loads of information out there if you are interested.
Some of the cool things about SEO:
- Not a paid position, it’s unaffected by ad block/ ad blindness
- High organic positioning tends to have much higher click through rates and conversion rates than paid positioning
- Targeted to relevant users
Some of the weaknesses of SEO:
- It can take a serious amount of time to see results (months or even more than a year), even if run effectively
- There is no guarantee for positioning and good positioning can quickly be lost due to changes in algorithms or updates on search engine policy
- There is a possibility that search engines can penalize a website for violations of policy. This can really damage a business’s ability to build an online presence
- It is complicated and most business owners don’t have time to run effective SEO and run their business. Outsourcing can get very expensive (especially if you are just starting out) and there are a lot of unqualified agencies out there. It is important to vet any agency you are thinking about working with
Despite the downsides of SEO, the strengths often make the struggle worth it. High organic positioning can bring incredible value by leading people to your site. Just do your homework and be prepared to not see any ROI for an extended period of time.
If you don’t have the time to wait for SEO results, or want more options while you are waiting, then Pay Per Click (PPC) might be what you’re looking for. PPC is paid positioning on search engines like Google or Bing.
- Quick visibility. Once your ads are created and approved, they will appear on the paid positioning portion of the search engine
- Tight control over ad spend (to a point, the cost of running effective campaigns is intimately tied to your industry)
- The keywords you choose will determine which users will see your ads, meaning you only show ads to relevant users.
- You can track your results. The search engines keep track of lots of different kinds of data so you can make informed decisions to develop a strong strategy.
Things to be aware of with PPC
- Can quickly get expensive. You can spend as much as you want on your ads, so it’s important to regularly evaluate your campaigns to find a sweet spot to maximize your ROI and minimize expenses.
- Once you stop paying your positioning is gone.
- Ad block and ad blindness mean a significant number of users will not see your ads (on the bright side, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad)
PPC is a popular choice among advertisers for a reason. It can get your business out in front of people quickly and can be evaluated and dialed to get results quickly.
If you’re not a fan of paying for clicks, or the unpredictable bill that comes with PPC, then Direct Placement® is a great alternative. Direct Placement, LLC’s trademark service is front page placement on Google or Bing at a flat monthly rate. Some of the strengths include:
- Front page placement without paying extra for clicks
- Highly targeted to relevant users
- You can track your results
- Quick visibility
- Risk free. If there is any downtime, a credit will be applied to the following cycle.
A potential downside (debatable) is that keywords are highly specific with this service. This means it is targeted, but also means the keyword selection is very important for results. The good news is that Direct Placement is a Google Premier Partner with access to data from Google in order to promote proper keyword selection.
This is a unique and effective way to get traffic to your website with the added benefit of easy budgeting.
Chances are your business is already on one social media platform or another. Creating content to promote your business on social media using both organic and paid promotion is popular way to build an online presence because it’s so easy to get started. Doing it effectively however, is a different story.
Why do people like using social media to promote their business?
- Lower cost to reach a wide audience
- Easy to get started
- Creative expression to build your brand
Why is it hard to do this effectively?
- Requires posting quality content frequently to stand out. This can become time consuming
- ROI can be difficult to measure
- Immense competition
- If done wrong it can hurt your company’s image
If done well, social media can be a great way to get your name out there. It’s worked for many people and businesses, though the usual case that we see is not the success story. What happens most of the time is business owners don’t put the time and energy into building a following on social media (probably because they are busy running their business) and the accounts sit collecting dust with the occasional post here and there. Frequent posting of interesting and quality material is a daunting task, but if you’re up to the challenge it can do wonders for your visibility.
Email advertising has been around for some time and is still a popular way for advertisers to reach people. Some of the strengths include:
- Directly reach people quickly
- Cost effective
- Easily track ROI
Some of the weaknesses include:
- Could be marked as spam
- Can be challenging to create good mailing lists with the right people
- Maintenance can be time consuming
There’s a reason this one has stood the test of time. Email marketing is easy and inexpensive. If you can find a way to create quality lists and keep your marketing campaigns maintained, this method will serve you well.
There are definitely other advertising methods to check out, such as display, shopping or video that may work great for your business. There is lots of information on these methods out there
There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to building your online presence. It’s important to tailor your approach to your business and use a strategy that complements what you do. Someone who sells clothes is going to have a much different approach than someone who owns a restaurant. Diversification is a solid approach. Use different methods that work together and cover each other’s weaknesses. It’s important not to over extend though, focus on a couple and get them running well. It’s better to have fewer campaigns that are run well than to run lots of ineffective campaigns.
Direct Placement, LLC is a digital marketing agency dedicated to shaping our advertising efforts to best fit your company’s needs. We are a Google Premier Partner and Bing Ads Accredited Company that specializes in a number of digital advertising formats. From our trademarked flat-rate SEM marketing service to social media marketing and even directory profile creation, we have a number of services that we can use to help your company thrive. Contact Direct Placement, LLC to learn more about how we can start transforming your business one click at a time! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Blogger for more regular marketing content.