by R.A. Rowell; Experienced Online Marketer
Billions of people use the internet everyday. Every day, more people look to research, compare, and eventually buy products and services they need. You're likely already using the internet for marketing your brand. But, are you making the most of Online Marketing?
How Are You Marketing Your Brand Online Already?
Whether you've developed an online marketing strategy or not, it's likely your brand is listed or mentioned somewhere online. If it's not, it should be. Simply being listed online somewhere like Google Places or having a basic website are a great start. But, to make the most of your online presence, your brand needs an online marketing strategy.
Do You Have a Brand Website?
If you have a brand website or business website, you're off to a great start. Just by being live, internet users may stumble across it with a search. Even if you don't promote it much at all, a website can still be found. But, by knowing exactly how people are searching for what you offer, you can optimize your site and its content for search. This process is called SEO - or Search Engine Optimization.
The closer attention you pay to how potential customers search for what you have to offer, the more effective you can make your website. The easier your website is to find and how well it serves both current and potential customers, the more effective an online marketing tool it can be.
Do You Comment on Blogs or Participate in Industry Forums and Message Boards Related to Your Brand?
An older internet marketing strategy that still works today is participating in online forums and message boards. But, because of increasing spam - where people just go and shamelessly advertise themselves - this strategy is a bit trickier to employ these days. However, it's still useful.
Find one or two forums or message boards related to your business. Participate regularly in discussions and be helpful to members. Many online forums require that you make a certain number of posts or be registered for a certain amount of time before you can even create a signature.
Once you can create a signature, it's okay to put a website link in it - if that forum even allows it. Sometimes, the only place that forums allow a backlink is on your member profile. This is less than idea. But, if you're an active and helpful member of the community, people will find you by checking out your profile.
A similar strategy is commenting on blogs or online journals related to, but not direct competitors of, your brand. Make sure that you actually have a useful comment to further the discussion of the article or blog post on which you’re commenting. Otherwise, it’s likely to be moderated (deleted) by the site owner. Also, more useful comments make you more visible to visitors of that page. Even if the backlink it provides is no-follow - meaning the search engines won’t give your site any extra search engine credit for that backlink - people may still stumble upon the link and follow it.
Do You Ask Your Customers for Feedback Online?
There's definitely value in creating online surveys. Sometimes, running a poll on social media platforms like Twitter are useful, too. But, while surveys and polls can be a great marketing tool, there's an even simpler way to get important feedback. Sometimes, simply asking your current customers and website visitors for their questions, comments, and concerns.
Chances are, just by simply asking for feedback, you'll get someone to tell you something you may never have thought about before. A business that keeps their customers and fans thoughts and concerns first is bound to do well. The internet is a great place to capture this sort of feedback. After all, without your customers, why would you be in business? Care about what your customers think, and they're a lot likely to care more about you.
Always Keep Your Target Customer First in Mind in Online Marketing
One of the main things you need to keep in mind when marketing online is that your target customer must always come first. While that may sound obvious, many companies don’t seem to show this in their marketing. With a brand website well-optimized for search, active participation in online communities, and an open mind, you can set yourself up for big success.
If you're not sure where to start, consult a highly rated internet marketing specialist. He or she will help you jumpstart your internet marketing strategy. Once you're off and running, you can keep your online marketing efforts in-house, or you can outsource it to a reputable marketing company. Then, watch the highly targeted traffic roll in and watch your brand grow.
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