So you and your business have already got the basics covered when it comes to your internet marketing plan – you’ve got yourself a fully functioning, beautiful website, a Facebook page and a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Google Adwords strategy.
Unfortunately for you, so do all your competitors.
Digital marketing is getting more and more nuanced. As strategies are taken on board by the masses, they lose their inherent power. The only way to stand out in this crazy, mixed-up online world is to stay ahead of the pack.
But how the heck do you do that?
If you’re willing to diversify your tactics, there are always going to be online marketing avenues that aren’t attacked by your competitors. Here are some of the ways you can set yourself apart from all of the Johnny-come-latelies.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing your website in a way that pushes it higher up the search engine rankings for the relevant keyword searches. This results in an “organic” result, which, as we all know, is far more likely to be clicked on than the paid ads.
An SEO agency will need to be called in for you to achieve this, as there is an enormous amount of technical knowledge required to execute good SEO, but the benefits are hard to ignore. Over 90% of all Google searches never leave that magical first page.
That’s where your website needs to be.
Unique Promo Idea
A fun thing to brainstorm is a unique online promotion for your business. Online promotions can do wonders for brand awareness, and any prizes offered can be quickly covered by the explosive exposure.
Explosive exposure isn’t a great combination of words. I apologize.
My local butcher had an awesome example of unique promotion at work. They put up a photo on their Facebook page of one of the butchers standing in front of 50-odd steaks. They then captioned the picture asking the audience to guess the exact weight of the meat on display.
One million views and 50,000 guesses later, they had achieved the sort of publicity that you’d expect from a prime-time TV ad, all for the price of a few cuts of meat.
This may seem like the sort of thing that you should leave to Fortune 500 companies, but that is certainly not the case.
No online media quite competes with video when it comes to conveying information or entertainment. A well-made video not only gives your business the impression of professionalism and taking your marketing seriously, but, because Google owns YouTube, it’s also a great SEO avenue. You may even see your video come up right there on a Google search results page!
No social media channel has quite the impact of Instagram when it comes to the youth. If you’re looking to market to those web-savvy young’uns, Instagram is where they’re all hiding.
Starting an Instagram account is as easy as it is free, as it will link directly to your current business Facebook account. From there, it’s just a matter of taking and posting photos that reflect how you want your business to be perceived.
Do you want to show your audience a more personal, humanizing side of your business? Do you want to give your audience useful information in your field of expertise?
Paid Facebook Advertisements
For as little as $7, you can boost an already popular post into the stratosphere, gaining a huge audience with the smallest of investments.
Unfortunately, the algorithms used by Facebook tend to push business-y posts further down the news feed. Paid Facebook advertisements are your way around this. Instead of getting that over-priced extra-large coffee this morning, hit the “Boost Post” button and see what it does for you!
Lookalike Facebook Audiences
With the amount of data that Facebook has on us, it’s unsurprising that they are able to so acutely select the ideal audience for your business. Now it’s just up to you to capitalize on this data.
So what is a Lookalike Audience? It’s a feature on Facebook that allows you to reach out to the exact same sort of demographic that currently subscribes to your updates. It takes a look at your current audience, taking into account age, location, likes, dislikes and all manner of other identifiers, then gives you the ability to reach out to others just like them.
While it may be seen as a bit of a Dinosaur among the online marketing community, according to some studies, nothing still quite competes with email marketing when it comes to return on investment.
Do you have an email list that you use for marketing purposes?
If not, make one.
If you do, how often to you send out emails? If it’s as seldom as once a month, it’s time to juice the email orange a bit harder. Many companies use their email lists daily, and while that may be seen as overbearing, if you’re providing quality information to your subscribers, you’ll find that you’ll win more fans than make enemies.
While other social media channels are leaning more and more heavily toward paid advertising, Twitter is one where you can still happily and organically grow your audience without spending a cent.
By getting involved in the Twitter community – reaching out to those in the same industry, tweeting and retweeting relevant information – you could soon have a healthy bunch of ears to preach your wisdom to.
As far as content goes, nothing quite competes with the humble blog. You are, I’m sure, an expert in your field. Share your wisdom with the masses!
Blog content can serve as great fodder for you to link to through your social media channels, and it also helps a great deal with your website’s SEO. A unique, eminently shareable and keyword heavy blog post will have Google smiling from ear to ear.
The Pluses of Google+
Despite Google’s very best efforts, it seems their stab at social networking will never quite compete with Facebook. Despite the relative lack of audience, Google+ has one massive thing going for it – it is run by Google.
That means by putting a Google+ share button on the pages of your website, you’ll once again find yourself jetting up the search engine’s rankings. Google, like many of us, is a slave to self promotion. By giving people the option to engage with Google+ – no matter how little that option is taken up – you’re giving yourself the best shot at a healthy search engine ranking.
Aim to Aesthetically Please
When putting up a non-text post on social media, do your very best to make it aesthetically pleasing.
Whether you like it or not, these days your Facebook page is as much of a shopfront for your business as the actual shopfront. There are a wealth of one-click touch up applications available, and ensuring any photos or videos posted look crisp and in-focus will reflect well on people’s perception of your business as a whole.
Be Socially Active
So you’ve taken the time to create Twitter, Instagram and YouTube profiles for your business. Well done! But now is not the time to get lazy – to make the most of your online presence, you need to be seen as active within the respective communities.
Engage with the community. Comment on related material by other users. Like relevant posts. Reaching out to others is the quickest way to expand your online network. And while this may sound like a headache to you, it needn’t be. By using programs like Hootsuite, you can control all your social media activity through one program.
The extra channels that are able to be added onto your current internet marketing plan may seem endless, and that’s because they almost are.
But by selecting just a few of these examples to focus on, you could find yourself streaming ahead of your competitors in the contest for online eyes, and be futureproofing your business while you do it.
Soon enough, it will all become second nature – and, dare I say it – fun!