Online Marketing Best Practices

How to get the most out of your online marketing efforts

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Our team decided to start a series of articles discussing online marketing how to’s and sales no no’s to share with other companies in the Internet industry some of our best practices and lessons learned. Whether you are interested in generating leads, cultivating brand awareness or improving your account management approach, it’s always wise to start off with a playbook and learn from other companies’ mistakes. In this post, I will be discussing some key elements  we’ve included in our online marketing approach so far. Hopefully you will find them useful when brainstorming marketing activities to make sure you are heading in the right direction.

  1. Content Marketing

This has been a buzzword for quite a while as resourceful companies understood the importance of delivering high quality content for their audience. It somehow seems that everyone has jumped into this, but not everyone knows how to implement it to be efficient and not hurt the brand. This is a tactic we have found extremely useful. What we’ve learned is that you should forget about old practices and predictable approaches, and bring some real value through your marketing strategy. Understand the story of your company and then sell the experience based on the “why” factor. Why should your readers care about your brand? Why are you writing this article? Why is this interesting for your audience? After you answer these questions, you can start writing. If you feel you are not getting any results, then it’s time to take another look at the content and deliver more meaningful articles for your community to share.

  1. Community Management

“Get out there!” is probably the best advice anyone can give you. The first step for us was to start monitoring main forums relevant to our industry and from that moment on we tried to create a community around our brand. The hardest thing is to do this without spamming. However, if you share that high quality content mentioned earlier, everything should be line with rules on any forum. Are there any interesting conversations taking place around your field? Then try having some valuable input and, by occasionally sharing articles, maybe go as far as getting followers to share that information further on with their networks. Is anyone praising your brand or services? Even better! We’ve noticed that people greatly appreciate nice gifts to show them you value their review. So send them a branded t-shirt, give them a discount, send them a cake, whatever you think works best, as long as you show them some appreciation.

  1. Social Media Marketing

Now this is tricky, especially if you are a small tech company. We’ve experimented quite a lot with social media. You have to choose wisely and go with the best channel(s) for your business. In our case, we went with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you’re a web host, there’s no point being on Pinterest, is there? Overall, social media is seen as the best approach for B2C companies, obviously, but it doesn’t hurt for B2B companies to show some of that human side. If most of your leads are coming from events, web forms or cold calling, don’t invest too many resources in social media, but also don’t ignore your fans if they are active. For a tech company, it’s not always best to turn social media into a customer support channel. We are just focusing on humanizing our brand. We want to create conversations, listen to your customers and direct traffic to the website or blog. We noticed it’s not a good idea to spam the followers with self-praising articles or posts, as you will instantly lose them. Social media marketing goes hand in hand with community management, so getting value from online feedback always helps.

  1. Email Marketing

This is such a wide topic that we decided to write an entire article about emailing and how to efficiently send newsletters to your database without spamming them. First and foremost, never send an email without approval from your targeted prospect. Second, the most important conclusions we drew from this are that you should do your research in advance, be as clear as possible, and always find a way to bring some heart into your emails by personalizing them. If you are contacting 1,000 people, no worries, you can always use an automation tool which will match the first name to the email and make your message appear as if it was specifically sent to the received.

  1. Search Marketing and Analytics

How is your online strategy going? From day one, we started working on our business’s online visibility and made sure to find the best tactics to drive traffic to our website. This is usually trial and error, so be prepared to test different ideas and tools until you find what is most efficient for you. The most important thing to start with is to build a list of keywords to target and then create your content around them for organic traffic. It would be good to optimize your website for the problems you solve, the solution you are offering, and not the actual product you are selling. Once you have the keywords in place, also start experimenting with paid ads and remarketing. After you implement a campaign, it’s wise to also monitor its progress. For us Google Analytics has been a great resource to gain information about traffic and behavior.

  1. Mobile Optimization

As you probably know, society has become more tech-savvy with time. Mobile technology has divided the consumer journey into what is called by Google “micro-moments” in this great video. Micro-moments are the experiences customers expect when they turn to a mobile device to find, research or buy something. They can happen anytime, anywhere. So wouldn’t it be a shame for your awesome website to be a complete wreck when viewed on a tablet or on a phone? This tip applies to anything: your website, your newsletters, web forms, everything. Before you release them, make sure they have been optimized and tested on different resolutions and mobile technologies.

What are some key elements in your online marketing strategy? Feel free to share some of your best practices in the comment section and don’t forget to follow our blog for more best practices.

Photo credit: TopRank Online Marketing/Flickr

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