In the same way that Del Boy isn’t likely to settle for a Vodka Martini and you won’t see James Bond diving into a Pina Colada, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all online marketing campaign.
There are lots of different ingredients that can make up your online marketing cocktail and you need to judge the quantities of each to get something that’s just right for you.
For some, pay-per-click and good ol’ search engine optimisation(SEO) might be the dominant flavours. For others, the right blend of social media could be the most palatable (and successful) combination.
In this post, we look at some of the more popular online marketing channels and examine which businesses and campaigns they might suit best.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Contrary to what some might say, organic search results aren’t going anywhere any time soon. A long-term strategy of creating good quality content that ticks Google’s boxes will provide solid results over a long period of time. That’s not to say that you can’t start seeing results quickly (and don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise) – you should start seeing improvements within weeks, not months.
The real key to making an SEO campaign effective is researching what search terms you want to target. Pick the wrong ones and your hard work will be wasted. Pick the right ones and you’ll get much better quality traffic that’s more likely to turn into business – and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.
- Well suited for specialist and niche markets
- Offers solid return on investment, even for smaller budgets
An alternative spin on SEO, local search takes the classic search engine optimisation and adds a dash of local directory listings, location-specific content, Google+ and others to really home in on your local market.
Often we find a one-off campaign can be very effective for a small business that wants to raise its profile locally, and provides a solid foundation for further SEO for other search terms.
- Ideal for small businesses working in a local marketplace
- Suits small budgets
- Can be a good starting point for further SEO
PPC (pay-per-click), Adwords
For those not in the know, Adwords (also known as pay-per-click) provides the sponsored links that appear on the right hand side and above the normal organic search results on Google. Advertisers bid for position and pay when the user clicks on the ad; the person prepared to pay the most appears at the top.
You can get an Adwords campaign up and running within hours, so it’s a great way to instantly get lots of traffic to your site. If you’re new and want to make a splash, this is well worth a look. However, be warned – if you don’t keep a close eye on it, you can start spending (and wasting) a lot of money. The Adwords control panel is fantastically detailed, and you can set how much to pay for clicks, when and where they appear, what keywords to appear for and a whole bundle of other stuff. The secret is in the fine-tuning and attention to detail, making sure you get the best value out of your budget.
- Good for ecommerce sites and for more competitive search terms
- Get started immediately for an instant boost of traffic
- If you’ve got the budget, this is well worth a look
You know when you do some searches, you see pictures of products above or to the side of the normal results? These are Google Shopping ads and they’re available to anyone selling products online. They work on a similar principle to Adwords and, like pay-per-click, it’s quick to get started and very controllable.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to set up without a bit of knowledge, but with the help of a professional, Google Shopping ads could give you a jump on your competitors.
- Great for ecommerce sites, especially “visually appealing” products
- Get started immediately for instant traffic
- Not that widely used amongst smaller businesses, so you could get ahead of your competitors
- Social Media
We all know about the hype surrounding social media, but how can it help your business? Well, if you’ve got a new product and you want to spread the word quickly and cheaply, it could be a vital part of your marketing strategy. Most businesses use it to engage with their followers; by sharing useful information to demonstrate knowledge and experience, showing off the work they’ve been doing, or putting themselves forward as experts in their field.
How to compare the different social media sites
There are many flavours of social media. In 2012 there was an image that went viral that explained social media with donuts. Retaining our cocktail theme, here’s our quick summary of what makes each social media site different:
Twitter – I’m drinking a #pinacolada
Facebook – I like pina coladas
FourSquare – This is where I drink pina coladas
Instagram – Here’s a vintage photo of my pina colada
YouTube – Here’s a video of me drinking a pina colada
LinkedIn – My skills include making pina coladas
Pinterest – Here’s a pina colada recipe
Google+ – I hang out with people who drink pina coladas
Still confused? Here’s a more detailed comparison table showing a summary of the biggest social media sites.
- Can be a quick and cheap way of spreading the word about a new product, service or business
- Requires regular attention – make sure you have the resources to keep on top of it
- Have a clear policy about what you will and won’t post/tweet/update about
Email marketing probably isn’t seen as being particularly cool any more, and it’s certainly not the silver bullet that will make all your marketing dreams come true, but it could still prove to be an ingredient to consider in your mix. The secret is to make your marketing campaigns very targeted. Much better to contact 100 quality recipients you know are interested in your product/service/business rather than 10,000 random strangers who are going to bin your email without a second look.
If you’re going to do it, do it well; think about your content carefully and make it valuable and relevant to your targets. Think about your subject line – there’s some very interesting research about the most successful ones – and the best time to send it out.
- If you’re after repeat business, email marketing could work well
- Make it targeted and useful – lazy email marketing will just get binned
- When a subscriber signs up, be clear about what they’ll be getting. Is it offers, news, information?
Ready to get started on your online marketing mix? Speak to the team today for advice and next steps.