Once you have got a website, you will quickly realise that customers don’t magically appear because your website is just one of the crucial steps in a Digital Marketing Funnel. In this post, we are going to explain the main options you have to start driving customers to your website, so you can start to decide what will be the best way for you to start driving sales online.
Why implement digital Marketing?
Before we break down your options, for those of you who are totally new to online marketing, it’s worth explaining why digital marketing has seen such huge growth over the last 5 or more years. The answer is simple; implementing a well planned and structured marketing funnel is incredibly powerful for 2 reasons;
1) You can clearly see which activities lead to sales
As a small business owner or someone thinking about getting started, you probably have limited resources so allocation time and money to marketing can be a daunting task if you aren’t confident of your returns. This is one of the reasons why digital marketing is so powerful, once you have the correct setup in place, you can see which tweet, blog post or ad leads to the most sales, so you can reinvest in activities that work and drop those that don’t, often while seeing the results instantly.
2) The ROI
The Return On Investment (or ROI), is one of the key things you need to keep an eye on with your marketing to ensure that you aren’t wasting money and are able to maximise profits. Digital marketing has lots of ways for you to get in front of your customer at a fraction of the cost of more traditional marketing methods. For example, running a TV ad could cost you well over £5,000 but you can’t be sure it will get in front of people who are looking for, or will ever be interested in paying for your product or service. With digital marketing, you can drive customers to your website with a free social media account (and a solid strategy).
That’s not to say all digital marketing is free, it’s not. Pay Per Click advertising which is arguably the most powerful method of online marketing, requires you to pay each time someone clicks on your advert, but can still be far cheaper than an ad in a Magazine. (More on Pay Per Click later…)
There are many options to choose from and spaces to take advantage of when trying to get in front of potential customers, and the number of platforms you can use seems to be growing on a daily basis. To make this a digestible list, we are going to list the top 7 ways that are the most common and the most effective, in no particular order…
Blogging is a great way to draw traffic to your website, by creating and publishing useful posts that are highly targeted towards people who will be interested in your products or services. You can choose either to blog on your own site or publish posts on other people’s sites with a link back to yours. Ideally, you want to do a mixture of the two.
Blogging can be particularly powerful because it gives you a chance to show potential clients how knowledgeable you are, it can also be used to show off the products and services you offer by talking about them in entertaining ways in a great amount of depth (with a link to direct readers to page where the reader can buy your product). However, knowing what to write about can be confusing and creating posts if you are not a writer can be a significant time drain what won’t lead to sales.
Using websites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat… to engage with people and draw them back to your site has become a major channel for driving traffic as more and more people spend significant amounts of time online on these platforms. For example, Facebook has more than 1.4 billion (with a ‘B’) users, there are bound to be people amongst that 1.4 billion that need your products or service, right?
Being consistent and engaging on these platforms can be a great way to build up brand awareness, it’s just a matter of setting up the appropriate profile for your business then interacting with the relevant groups or #tags to build up your following. Again, this can be a time-consuming process and most people have not necessarily logged into Facebook to look for a lawyer, they are there for pictures of “LOL Cats” which means this might not lead to instant sales but it can be a great lead generator when done correctly. Highly cost effective too, once you have built up a community.
Imagine being able to send out an email to hundreds, if not thousands of people who have express an interest in what you sell or have bought from you in the past. Anytime you need to boost sales, you can send out an offer that will reach a potential customer’s inbox on their phone or laptop. Adding this to the fact, that sending out that email is probably the cheapest communication channel is why this method is so popular and profitable.
To get rolling with email marketing, you need to have a system in place that makes it easy for people to sign up to your newsletter (often with a bribe) and then you need to send out valuable content and offers tailored to your customer profiles. The key really is understanding your customer here or your emails will end up in the spam folder or potential customers will unsubscribe.
Pay-per-click advertising online is probably the most common form of advertising online and is often regarded as the most powerful because it’s a practically instant way of driving targeted traffic to your website or product.
PPC works by allowing you to bid on how much you are willing to pay for a visitor to your website, based on keywords. It’s by far the most reliable and consistent way to the top of Google searches. It is also possible to target people using their interests on platforms such as Facebook.
At first, the idea of paying for a click can seem daunting, especially as you learn that many clicks on the ad won’t immediately lead to a sale. But once you have found the optimal mix of product, keywords and ads the expense can become less of an issue. This is because you are working towards a situation where you make £10 profit for every £1 you spend (as an example). Optimising your campaigns to the point where you find this profitable mix is a mixture of art and science which needs a lot of skill to get right, or it can prove to be very costly. If you do manage to get it right, you can rapidly grow your business by investing more money confident that you will be making a great ROI.
Ever been to a website to check out a product then seen adverts for that product follow you around the web? We call this Retargeting (or in Google’s case, Remarking).
Retargeting is a powerful tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal because the vast majority of people that will come to your site, will be pulled in by your promotional efforts when they are still in the process of reviewing multiple suppliers. This means that they normally won’t get in contact with you the first time they land on your site, but if you can get them back and have stood out amongst the competition, when the potential customer is ready to have a chat with you or make an order, your banner (or retargeting ad) will probably be the first they’ll see and they’ll click on it and be ready to do business.
This is another form of PPC, so you will be paying each time someone clicks on the ad but it’s normally a fraction of the cost of a normally PPC ad and you are also able to use this channel to drive people back with special offers. The only drawback is you obviously need to be driving traffic to your site already, so we don’t normally advise starting with Retargeting.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation is probably the most commonly referred to form of digital marketing. The aim here is to optimise your website so it comes up first on search engine results when a potential customer is searching for your products or service.
Optimising a website for search engines is a requires a significant investment of resources because it requires you to have a mixture of making sure your site has lots of the right keywords, all in the right places. You also need to have the right mixture and types of links leading back to your site. This can’t normally be done once, it normally requires constantly developing new content and links to stay ahead of the competition. It can also take more than 6 months to see any results on an SEO campaign.
In some industries getting to the top of Google can be a huge battle, particularly in spaces where there are hugely popular brands to compete with like Amazon or Nike. But if your business supports a local community, it can often be possible to achieve great results. Plumbers, Builders, Accountants, Locksmiths etc. have been known to build businesses off the back of skilled SEO work.
Now, you’ve got a high-level overview the most powerful ways to start driving traffic to your site but this is probably the beginning of your journey. While marketing online is cost effective and simple, it’s still needs to be well planned and executed – we’ve all unsubscribed from spammy newsletters, ignored banner ads, skimmed past social media post… but, with the right strategy, you can build an engaged community who are drawn to your website and build up a relationship with your brand until they are ready to whip out their credit cards. So, if you are serious about getting your business to the next level and you want to make the most of your time and cash, digital marketing has got to be one of your top priorities.
Hopefully, this has got you one step closer to making sales online. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or if you’d like to discuss your project specifically you can send and email to…
In future posts, we’ll be explaining these options in more detail and how you can get started so sign up to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on sales.