Online marketing is the practice of leveraging web-based channels to spread a message about a company's brand, products, or services targeted at potential customers.
Why is that so important these days?
A lot of online businesses are essentially trying to build a self-serving system through digital marketing tactics to generate traffic and passive revenue over the long haul. But competition these days has made the market more saturated than a Black Friday frenzy. After working 3 years in the SaaS industry with digital marketing agencies, business bloggers and tech companies, I’ve come to witness some simple, yet effective marketing strategies that have led to exponential growth for certain websites. In this article, we will take a closer look at what marketing strategies have worked best for online businesses and how you can utilize them.
The Best Ways to Grow with Online Marketing Practices
You don’t need an IPO to get investors flocking at your doorstep to grow your business online. You need to follow the right metrics. Think of names like Ahref, Hubspot or MailChimp. All these companies scaled-up their performance using the right online marketing metrics to a logical progression to seamlessly lead people from one step to another in their sales funnel. Online marketers at these companies usually create unique sets of activities, tactics, and strategies implemented with the end-goal to sell something, find new customers or lead. Here are five points that one should focus on in order to deliver results to the right buyer.
1. Targeted marketing is better than broad-based campaigns
It can be tempting to display all the awesome features of your new product or service. However, one of the important nuances of online marketing is to focus on the business benefits of a single product and make it stand out. Dive deeply into this narrow business benefits you provide, and start building new contents and campaigns around them. Make sure to keep it simple. Your intended decision-makers need a reason to green-light the purchase of your product by understanding its uniqueness and value. By doing this, you can get a foothold in a certain industry and grow through positive reviews, case studies and even word-of-mouth. Once you’ve established yourself in one of these small markets, you can use the trust you’ve earned and cash flow to drive marketing efforts to bigger markets with a variety of other products or services.
2. Scaling-up Organic Search Traffic
If you’re a digital marketer, WordPress fan or a content creator like me, you’re probably familiar with the basics of creating content that is tailored at organic search intent. But mastering SEO to get traffic is becoming more and more challenging in 2021 as new blog posts flood the internet every day.
So why is SEO so relevant?
Simple. Most online experiences start with a random Google search. Whenever someone wants something, they simply Google it and usually click on whatever shows up on their first page. And this is what we should try and achieve with SEO. To reach that ultimate first page on search engines!
These are the basics to get started with SEO:
1. Before you write anything, use SEO tools to identify keywords that your customers are likely to search for. Select and target low competition keywords. You can do basic keyword research with free tools like Google Ads keyword planner tool. The competitive metrics in the keyword planner shows how many companies are bidding for each keyword. For further SEO-related insights, you need to use more advanced third party tools for keyword research like Ahref or SEMrush.
2. Create informative blog posts that are targeting these relevant keywords to your audience. You want to target keywords with decent volume and high perceived commercial value. But you have no way of knowing which of these keywords are feasible to rank for in Google.
3. Boost your SEO rankings through link building from high authority websites. It’s in Google’s best interest to provide its users with the high quality content. High-quality links are indicators for Google that helps ensure browsers are getting what they are searching for. This might seem like a tedious and time-consuming task. But with the right SEO tools, this can help you to see what is working for your website’s growth and update what isn’t. It is also important to consider the fact that SEO is more effective for B2B companies, especially if you are on a budget. B2C marketers can reach out to more people, if they leverage social media and PPC campaigns. But SEO will always remain B2B companies' most reliable practice. Google also has a tool to help you out: Google Search Console. GSC can be your best friend when it comes to monitoring, maintaining, and troubleshooting your site's presence in Google’s search results. My best suggestion is to go and check your Coverage and Sitemaps regularly so you can see alerts, indexes, spams or other issues your site may encounter.
In general, Google’s purpose is to ensure high-quality content, well-organized pages, and fast-loading websites for maximum user experience. That is the essence of SEO.
3. The Importance of Free Products and Services
Marketing to your customers means you search for ways to provide value with content that enriches their experience. In many cases, SEO or PPC campaigns are great for getting your first page visitors. But it does not guarantee a higher return rate or bounce rate on your website.
When it comes to online marketing, retention of customer trust is the ultimate key to success. That’s why SEO or PPC are only the first steps in the sales journey. You can take the second step through nurturing relationships by giving out free offers or value.
As an example, the most interesting online companies that I keep visiting, as a digital marketing enthusiast, are HubSpot, Ahref, or Mozbar since they have entire programs dedicated to engaging and educating their audience for free. If you are part of an SaaS company, there are several ways to offer a free trial of your service, such as a 30-day free account, or a free membership, or a freemium model before transferring a client to a paid service.
Providing a freemium experience to prospects is providing a portion of the product to them completely free on a level that’s fully functional but not all-inclusive of available features and functions. One good example is Cloudflare a few years back. Cloudflare's momentum is its go-to-market strategy for new products. It releases a new feature, free of charge for individuals and small businesses. Then, once that offering's early kinks get ironed out, the company will try to sell it to larger organizations, often with additional premium features for a higher price. As a result, Cloudflare has amassed hundreds of thousands of users, most of them getting to know Cloudflare through its free-to-use products. However, even if you are not part of a massive SaaS service like Cloudflare, but rather a part-time WordPress blogger like me, there are several ways to increase your website’s return rate.
I personally focus on providing some value through free ebooks, free email courses and educational content in hopes of growing my portfolio. Talking from experience, the result of valuable free offers usually lead to better brand affinity and higher engagement.
Email marketing campaigns
The great thing about email is that it’s perhaps the most effective strategy for lead generation for companies and bloggers alike. Building and maintaining a relationship with customers online is an invaluable piece of marketing strategy. You can use a simple approach like a weekly newsletter or an automated email drip campaign to convert leads to customers. Email marketing is my favourite way of outreach. It helps you stay in touch with people who visit your site from Google or social media, who aren’t ready to buy. The purpose of email marketing is to send emails that help build trust and position you as an expert in the eyes of your subscribers. You can also drive traffic to your landing pages, give updates on new products or services or build a more personal relationship with all your subscribers. There are three forms of email marketing that really stand out.
- Newsletters: By providing genuine value up-front over time, you can get people to sign up to your newsletter.
- Autoresponders: Picture a scenario where every time someone signed up, you had to send a welcome email. That’s where autoresponders come in. Once you’ve built an audience, you have to get right into marketing automation tools like Mailchimp or ConverKit to segment your list and send automated personalized emails.
- Email List Segmentation: If you use email list segmentation, your automated emails will be more personalized and relevant to your subscribers. This way, your potential customers see messages that matter to them, which results in higher open rates than mass emailing. You can easily create separate lists for subscribers that have visited your blog in the last week. I personally also categorize my subscribers separately. There are those who signed up for my newsletter and those who have signed up for my email course.
On average, a large majority of customers prefer getting to know a company through genuine articles over paid ads. (Because let's admit it, almost nobody likes ads.) This is why content marketing is my fifth recommendation. Basically, with content marketing, you focus on creating and distributing high-quality content through a variety of channels. In every company I’ve ever worked with, content has been primarily responsible for their growth in hopes of starting a relationship with prospects and potential customers. Once you’ve done your keyword research and explored what your competitors are doing with the aforementioned SEO tools, you can think of building or managing your own content. However, it is not as simple as writing a couple of well-research articles that will get people to your website. You will requires multiple formats like:
- Case Studies
Which medium you should choose for your business or blog really depends on your target audience, and your budget. Even if videos are the preference for your ideal customers, it just might not be within your budget. It’s vital that you only publish the very best content possible and remain consistent, as well as evaluate the performance of your content using analytics and other data-driven approaches.
This guide is far from being exhaustive as the world of online marketing is pretty complex and there are many tips out there. But the main idea of online marketing for companies or website owners is to have the right product or service. Having the right channels and messages of your market positioning helps you move your first steps towards building up your online presence, finding the right acquisition channels and reaching out to your customers.
About the author
My name is Robert and I'm a digital marketing consultant, focusing on online business development, content marketing, PPC, and SEO. My main passion is to work with WordPress website and blog about tech and personal finance.