Everyone knows by now that, in today’s world, you need to win online if you are going to win in business. But the flood of online marketing options and strategies can get complex fast, so it helps to take a few steps back to ensure that you focus on what matters most.
While every business is different and has different needs, we’ve found that there are eight fundamentals to invest in to win online today. Focus on these, and trounce your competition.
A Mobile-Friendly Website
Your website is most likely the foundation of your internet marketing strategy, but if it’s not mobile-optimized, your foundation is built on shaky ground!
According to the research site Statista, Mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 48.71 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.
In addition, Google now evaluates and ranks your website base on mobile optimization. Here’s what Google has to say about the topic:
“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.”
A Fast Website
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of engineering your website content to increase your website’s chances of appearing near the top of search results.
According to a recent study, the number one search ranking position earns around twice as many clicks as the number two. Once you reach position six, you start receiving clicks from less than 3% of the people who see your search result listing.
Put even more bluntly: People will have a really hard time finding your business if you aren’t ranked near the top of search results, and that will cost you business!
There are a number of factors that determine rank, but site speed is known to have become a critical factor in recent years.
Here’s what Moz.com has to say on the topic:
“Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to the first byte as when it considers page speed. In addition, a slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget, and this could negatively affect your indexation.”
“Page speed is also important to user experience. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to negatively affect conversions.
Simply put, a faster-loading site will rank higher and create a user experience that is more likely to result in a sale.
There are a variety of best practices to improve the speed of your site – it’s time to make them a priority if you haven’t been!
In other words, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re in trouble.
A Social Media Presence
According to Verto Analytics, as of July 2017, we spent more than 41% of our online time on social media apps, which equates to an average of more than 25 hours per month per user. This number has stayed pretty consistent so far through 2019 as well.
Just as important, many people may look on social media platforms to research your business. They may want to read reviews, look at other people’s comments, or see something like your hours without having to leave their favorite social spaces.
And 79% of customers prefer live chat over email or social media for customer support due to its immediacy.
In other words, you must have an active social media presence to meet the needs of today’s customers.
As the saying goes, “content is currency”, meaning that content is now the tool that smart marketers use to buy the attention of today’s modern consumer.
Whether it’s blogs, videos, podcasts, or all of the above, your content should primarily serve as a helpful resource for your prospects and customers.
But content is also the way prospects find and evaluate what to buy. Content that teaches, inspires, entertains, and is generally helpful can then be followed by an offer that will be well-received due to the goodwill created by your content.
Content is a vital component of your SEO strategy. Search engines like to index fresh content, meaning that more frequent content producers have a better shot at ranking well in the search engines than those that don’t.
As a marketing guru, Gary Vaynerchuck famously said, “ We are all media companies now.”
Commit to producing more – and better quality – content than your competition.
A System for Keeping in Touch
Once you’ve done all of the hard work of earning the attention of your prospects, you need to have a way to keep in touch with them.
Email marketing has long been a reliable channel to stay in touch with customers and leads and is still the #1 communications tool of many companies.
But depending on your industry, it may be wise to look at some of the other options available to you. Younger generations are rarely in their email inbox, preferring the speed of text messages and the social connection of messaging apps instead.
Regardless of the choice of technology, build your list and keep in touch to maximize the value of your marketing activities and the relationships you develop.
A key item you need to focus on is ensuring your online reputation is in good shape. When a potential customer is looking for a product or service they are going to search for and read your reviews. The key to staying on top of this is to put in place a system to solicit your customers for reviews on a regular basis and be sure to respond to these reviews. The difference between a 3.5 and a 5-star rating can be huge to your bottom line and is something you need to focus on.
Local Search Marketing
Ensuring that your local market can find you is very important. There are several ways to tap into this, but one key starting point is to claim and update your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Make sure your GMB profile has your correct contact information, hours, information on your products and services, and also updated photos.
Many people find local businesses from their Google My Business profile so be sure yours is up to date and optimized.
Want Overachiever Status? Make Use of Video!
Video has officially taken over the Internet! According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, online video will account for 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019, up from 67 percent in 2014.
Why is video winning? A few reasons:
- It’s more enjoyable for most users to consume vs written word
- It’s become incredibly cheap to produce (pull out your phone and your set!)
- Faster network connections have made it affordable to distribute
And from a business perspective, video just plain works! 81% of people say that they were convinced to purchase something after watching a brand’s video. Also, 95% of people say they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a business, product, or service.
You don’t need to be a Hollywood Director or Actor to put video to work at your business. You can start small with live Q&A sessions, short recaps of your most popular blog posts, or a quick explainer video of your most important products/services.
You don’t need a huge budget or exceptional skills to make an impact! You just need to focus on meeting your audience’s needs in a format that most people prefer.
Focus on the Fundamentals!
Don’t get overwhelmed by the myriad of online marketing tools and strategies available to you. Instead, focus on strengthening each of the fundamentals covered above and you’ll stand out in almost any industry.
And let us know if we can help!