The internet today is like an active volcano: highly volatile and constantly changing the landscape. It’s impossible to know when something new will erupt and become the new giant to out-shadow all others.
Because of this, now every time there’s a new eruption, marketers flood in to stake their claim at the top. But where does your site fit in? Do you struggle to keep up with every new outlet? Or are you focused on what you know to be tried and true?
Your Biggest Love Is Your Weakest Link
In the recent Google hearings, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman testified: “about 75% of Yelp’s traffic, overall, is sourced through Google one way or another.” He continued to explain how Google could have a very big negative impact on the traffic and success of Yelp, describing the potential absence of Google from their marketing strategy as “devastating.”
This is obviously a big problem for Yelp. While Google may be a strong source of traffic and revenue for them, it’s actually a weak link. With 75% of their traffic coming from Google, Yelp is dependent on Google. And in this case, dependency is weakness.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Google Basket
As we have recently seen through the Panda debacle, Google can change in an instant. If like in Yelp’s case, your site receives the majority of its traffic from Google, the next update has the potential to wipe your site off the map.
That’s why every solid online marketing plan should spread its eggs around, don’t put them all in the Google basket!
Diversify Your Marketing
We need to start thinking about diversity. Just like any investment plan, success is best achieved through diversity.
So, how do we diversify? First, let’s take a look at some statistics:
% of internet Users Who Do Each Activity
Source: The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
How Internet Users Spend Their Time
Reports show that email and search are the most popular activities online, but social media dominates when it comes to where users actually spend their time.
To me this means that at the very core, every online marketing plan NEEDS to include: email, search, and social media.
Email marketing is one of the oldest and most widely used forms of online marketing. And there’s a reason: it works.
The reason this form of marketing is so popular is because it’s the best way to directly communicate with your audience. With email, you gain the ability to send your audience updates, product offers and news whenever you want.
The best email marketing goes un-noticed. Not that it doesn’t get read, but the best email marketing doesn’t feel like marketing to the recipient. That’s because when your audience signs up for your email list, they want you to email them!
A well built opt-in email campaign is the perfect platform for your business to market content, products, and deals to people who asked to hear about them.
Tips for getting started:
Sign-up for a service
Add the forms to your site
Most services will have an easy step-by-step tutorial on how to create and add a form to your website. There are plenty of plugins and add-on’s that can assist you with any popular platform such as WordPress. For more tips on where to put your forms, see this article.
While some may consider pop-ups annoying, they work! Just make sure to control where your pop-ups occur manually, as long as they don’t show up all the time, you shouldn’t scare people away. Suggested services: Popup Domination or Pippity.
Once you’ve mastered the above, you’re should be set to go. Now it’s time to pump up the content and start collecting addresses!
As we can see from the report above, search has been a close second to email for a decade, and continues to be on the rise. This makes search a vital part of any healthy online marketing campaign.
While for many, like Yelp, search is a major piece of the traffic pie, many still have failed to capitalize on search opportunities.
While it’s great to be found in search when someone is looking for you (some don’t even show up for their own name!), the potential to show up for what you’re selling is even better.
The trick is to figure out how people are searching for your products, and then show up in those results.
Tips for getting started:
Figuring out what you should rank for is a crucial step to successful SEO. There are a number of tools available that can help you with your keyword research. If you’re just starting out, check out Google’s free Adwords Keyword Tool. Start out with the keywords that come to mind, and then refine your list with suggestions from the tool. For more information on how I do keyword research, check out this article I wrote.
Next it’s time to start getting your site in order. Simple things like title tags, url structures and adding an XML Sitemap have the potential to make big differences in your search performance. For a good basic overview, check out the Google Guide.
Lastly, to perform well in any competitive environment, you’ll need to get some links. Link building is an often debated topic among SEOs. Tactics and techniques for link building are somewhat of a debate. But the gist of it is: the more that other websites link to you using the phrase that you are trying to rank for, the more likely it is that you will rank highly for that phrase. So the goal is to try to influence other websites to link to you. There will be more on this in a later post, for now simply stray away from any paid linking programs or networks.
While still an underdog in number of users, social media is a major force when it comes to online activity. Internet users spend far more time on social media websites than any other form of website.
Social media is also still in a growth phase, meaning more and more users will be on social media websites every year.
This make social media a mandatory piece of your marketing strategy.
Tips for getting started:
Focus Your Efforts
Refine your focus in social media, don’t worry about having the most friends on every site. Be active and engage your audience on a personal level. Nobody cares for accounts that friend everyone and post links all day.
Did you know there is a social network just for whiskey drinkers? Today, no matter what industry you’re in, there is a place online where people are talking about what you do. Whether it be a forum, a sub-reddit, or a full blown social network, people are talking and they want to listen to you. Find the communities online that are specific to what you do and get involved.
Sharing Is Caring
Social media is and should be exactly that: social. Get over yourself and share stuff. Share your own stuff too, but make yourself valuable to others by sharing and spreading useful information and ideas. In turn others will share your useful content, when you have it
Spread Your Eggs Around
The key to a successful marketing strategy that will last is diversity. Not putting all of your eggs in one basket will help you to withstand the tides of the internet.
Not only will you be protecting yourself from becoming dependent, you will in-turn have a better and more well rounded marketing campaign that will last.
For more information and tips on how run a successful marketing campaign sign up below!