Which should you choose and where do you start?
If your not confident that you understand what each of the online marketing options means or involves see my 5 minute explainer first. Otherwise if you are sure of the difference between your PPI and your Affiliates the multi-million dollar question is which should you use?
OK! So your options when it comes to Online Marketing are huge. Dig deeper into any one of them and you can soon see how that channel could be a full time job or even work for an entire team. Some TV companies, for example, have one manager looking after one Facebook profile per popular show!
Only large cooperations with significant resources can harness everything Online Marketing has to offer in an effective way because half the success is in activity but the other half is in analysing the results of those activities so that future actions can be refined for greater impact.
Depressed about that? Don't be! You just need to identify which Online Marketing work will deliver results for you and focus on that. I have clients who run highly successful businesses through Amazon alone and extremely popular bloggers who have nothing more than a Facebook page alongside their website.
So how to know what you should focus on? There is no 'one size fits all here' even if some online courses try to push it that way. It varies by field, industry, audience, etc.
That means the easiest place to start your decision making is by looking at what your competitors are up to and:
- Get a consensus of what your competitors use - if every single one of them is on Instagram that's a fair sign you should be making plans to use that Social Media. If only one is using it consider if they are ahead of the curve (with bundles of followers and lots of engagement) or flogging a dead horse.
- See what is actually working for your competitors - they may all have Facebook pages but do they have large fan bases, do their posts get good engagement.
I see people often take soundings in forums or groups (such as LinkedIn) which are related to their field. Do this with caution. Asking a group if they have had success with Adwords, for example, can yield wildly varying responses which can't really be used to make rational decisions.
When you know which Online Marketing options are most likely to work for you then its time to learn how you can use them effectively because they all have the potential to drain your bank account and suck up hours of your day with little or no result.
Online marketing options explained
Here's a quick overview of what Online Marketing options are out there (in no particular order of importance:
- PPC/PPI (Pay Per Click / Pay Per Impression - you create ads (text or graphics) to be displayed around the web or within apps and you pay every time someone click on it (PPC) or every time the advert is shown to someone (PPI). The most famous is obviously Google Adwords but there are buckets of alternatives to explore.
- Social Media - building a following on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc. (the list goes on and on!) that you can then use as a pool to promote to. Note many social media platforms now also offer PPC/PPI advertising so you can already see how Online Marketing channels can overlap.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - working to get your website (or wherever it is that you are trying to get your audience to go) to the top of the search results in services like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, etc.
- Directories - being listed in respecatble online directories be that as a local business on something like Four Square or a Graphic Designer on Behance. There are hundreds of legitimate directories out there who can drive your audience to you.
- Market Places - if your end goal is selling products or services going to the market (Amazon, ebay, fiverr, Upwork, Etsy, etc.) might be the most effective strategy.
- Affiliates - you've had the idea, affiliate programmes allow you to offer others financial benefits if they bring the right people to your door.
- Knowledge Sharing - this goes far beyond just having a website. It's all about getting out there and making a contribution in forums and on Question and Answer sites to enhance your reputation. Become the expert and your audience will grow as others recommend you free of charge.
- Reputation Management - keep an eye on what others are saying about you and your brand (good or bad). Nip rumours in the bud and thank those with positive things to say.
- Partners - I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine ... and why not. If you have something you are prepared to recommend and they will recommend you back then win-win situations often result.
- Content - use what you know to create content around the web that others will recommend. It could be a knowledge base, an excellent blog, Inforgraphics, films, etc.
- Email - leverage the power of turning up in people's inbox's without spamming and getting your audience to return over and over again.
All these activities are about getting an audiance of people to a place you want them to be (your website, your Facebook page, your Amazon store, etc.). But they are all wasted if your audience does not do the action you're hoping they will do (buy something, become a fan, subscribe, etc). Converting an audience from just being there to being their and achieving your goal is the realm of Conversion Optimization.
So often over looked and so often ignored, oh so many people proclaim an Online Marketing activity "didn't work" when it was actually the Conversion Optimization that was missed.