Internet technology, tools and applications advance rapidly and are changing the way business is conducted online. Online media platforms evolve, ushering changes in online consumer behaviour and marketing practices. Keeping up with the changes and trends can be difficult for owners of small and medium-sized businesses and the challenge for them is knowing where to focus their attention and resources for best results.
Australia online marketing statistics
Internet penetration in Australia is high with 90% of its population going online everyday. Among the social media sites, Facebook is currently the favourite with approximately 10.8 million Australian Facebook users. While social media is increasingly integrated in Internet marketing, the starting point of online business is still the website which provides much more control than other Internet platforms. Business owners realise the importance of websites for business but only 50% of Australian businesses currently have a website.
Not knowing where to start,not having enough time, not knowing how to create an online presence and the absence of an online marketing strategy are common issues plaguing business owners.
Anyone can learn internet marketing through online courses, workshops, and authority websites but translating concepts into action and implementing them successfully may require guidance through coaching and professional Online Marketing Consulting.
Any course of action, whether online or offline, begins with a business plan which outlines and identifies business goals, strengths, challenges, the market, competition, systems, tools, resources and budget requirements. Creating a business plan is an important exercise as it will become a tool for measuring performance, obtaining consistent results and implementing changes when necessary.
Trends in Internet Marketing
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and YouTube help drive traffic and create social proof which search engines use to rank websites in search results. Social platforms are inexpensive ways for promoting awareness to a wide market because of their viral capabilities. Integrating social media buttons in websites also promote interaction with existing and potential customers.
While a presence in multiple networking sites can help business growth, time-poor managers and owners may have to focus only one or two powerful platforms such as Facebook and Google Plus. Facebook has the world’s largest social media population with over 700 million users while Google Plus has marketing tools for advertising, building reputation as an authority and enjoys the support of search engine giant Google.
Rise of the social consumer:
Online consumers are now more involved in marketing campaigns, providing user-generated content such as reviews, suggestions and comments, and making buying decisions based on positive reviews and social media popularity. Search engines such as Google are now using these consumer reviews and social sharing to serve up search results based on social networks. Managing your reputation and brand online has never been more critical.
The convergence of mobile and internet technology has made it possible for more consumers to access websites, purchase and pay for items on their mobiles. Manufacturers are now adding QR codes to product packaging hoping to boost mobile sales. Websites need to be optimized for mobile viewing if they want to capture the growing mobile consumer market.
Online marketing strategy
Determine the current status of a business, what it has achieved so far and what its goals should be. A website must be consistent with business goals such as increasing leads, conversions or income.
- Increase leads by growing a community or mailing list using list building techniques such as adding a squeeze page, offering free items in exchange for email addresses, publishing useful content and adding an email capture form.
- Increase conversions by improving landing pages and sales copy to induce more people to buy a website’s products or services.
- Earn more income by increasing prices, adding more value and targeting better customers.
Passion alone is not enough to drive online business success; there must be a market that needs a website’s products or services. Identify and target a segment of a market, learn all there is to know about the target consumer or client, their needs and language. A clear understanding of the market and the target audience lays the foundation for intelligent keyword research and content creation.
Incorporating the right keywords in a website’s technical elements and text content promote search engine visibility and top search rankings that help drive internet traffic (visitors) to a website. Distinguish buying from browsing keywords and use them according to a website’s goals.
Website development or site audit
Businesses building a website need web development services which blend design and technical elements to create web pages that attract both site visitors and search engine crawlers. Existing websites need to undergo site review for identifying elements which hamper site visibility and user experience.
Content strategy and development
Useful content with the right keyword density and keyword placement promotes site stickiness and return visits. Moreover, quality content promotes sharing and linking, stimulates comments, follows, +1s and Likes which constitute social proof, an important factor in search engine rankings. An effective content strategy that is implemented consistently can increase a website’s immunity against sudden changes in search engine algorithms which are aimed at providing the most relevant and useful content to Internet users.
Social media strategy
Generating quality inbound links or links to a website boost site traffic and search rankings. Social media is not only useful for discovering market needs and problems but also for engaging influencers who can share website content and create links to it. Social media also provide a much needed push for website content, making it more visible to users and search engine crawlers. Press releases help push website content because users spend most of their time reading, commenting and sharing new articles they come across on the Internet.
Keeping up with rapid advances in online marketing can be a challenge. Learning what needs to be done must lead to decisive action and using the services of an Online Marketing Consultant for creating an online business growth plan can save time and money. A digital marketing plan must be simple and easy to understand, provide clear directions in a step by step format for the busy owner or manager to implement.
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