Ignore Online Marketing – At Your Own Risk!

In Technology on July 25, 2011 at 10:25 am


By Ben Molfetta

Virtually every business has online marketing on their radar because they know prospects are searching online to find businesses just like theirs. They also know their competitors are working on driving more business through online means.

So what is online marketing and why is it so critical to your long-term success?

Simply put, online marketing is the use of appropriate and available electronic tools to be found, build credibility, develop qualified prospects, and generate sales. Tools include search optimized web sites, Blogs, social media sites (YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc), e-mail distribution systems, landing pages, forums and analytics.

It’s critical to your long-term success because from a marketing standpoint; your online presence makes you more visible. It allows you to build relationships with prospects before they buy, provides access to new markets, and it’s at work 24/7. Going forward, all effective marketing initiatives will have an online component. It’s the “new normal”.

There are some basic tenets to consider before developing your online strategy:

The starting point is your overall marketing plan and your “end to end” business development process; generating and nurturing leads, calls to action, optimizing close rates, post-sale.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about content. Prospects will not read your e-mails or Blogs, view your videos, or spend time on your web site if you don’t offer relevant, up-to-date content.

You have two audiences; your target prospects and search engines. You must balance the content needs of both without the pendulum swinging too far one way or the other.

Decide who you are trying to attract. It’s tempting to target everyone, but you can realistically optimize for only a handful of keywords and develop relevant content for a limited number of audiences.

The real leverage comes from doing multiple things that work together. Your online activities must complement each other to have maximum impact. It’s about one plus one equalling three.

To become and remain relevant online, you must constantly be analyzing, evaluating, fine-tuning and delivering new content or information. The market doesn’t stand still and neither do your competitors.

Once you decide it’s time to significantly enhance your online presence, you must proceed in a planned and pragmatic way. You can’t do everything at once – it’s too overwhelming.

The first step is to assess how well your online marketing supports your end-to-end business development process. Is your site optimized for the right searches and does it do a good job of educating and telling your story? Are you using the right mediums (articles, videos or webinars, etc.) to move prospects through the decision making process? Are you capturing and nurturing leads through an opt-in email list or a social media following? Are you selling online and, if not, should you be? Are you maintaining regular contact after the sale?


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