Two things I really like about online marketing are that 1) you can do quick and easy things that can make a real impact, and 2) there's a lot of leverage; meaning that once you find something that works, it's pretty easy to scale.
Contrast that for a minute with traditional advertising like a television commercial. Any changes to your strategy here, such as modifying your commercial or testing it on a new television station, are costly from a time and money perspective, and take a long time to see whether it worked or not.
Below are 5 quick online marketing tactics and strategies that you can implement in your business fairly quickly. And each has the ability to double your leads, revenues and profits.
1. Find out where your competitors are getting their leads and replicate them
This one is pretty straightforward. Simply find out where your competitors are getting their leads, and then do the same.
Let's start with finding and replicating the keywords on which your competitors are advertising on Google and other search engines.
Simply use a tool like Ispionage (http://www.ispionage.com/) or KeywordSpy (http://www.keywordspy.com/) and enter in the domain name of your competitor. The results will show the top keywords on which your competitors are advertising.
Importantly, you should track these keywords. For example, see what keywords your competitors are advertising on today, and take a screenshot of how their ads appear. Then, look again at each of the keywords in 30 or 60 days. If your competitors are still advertising on those keywords, they are probably profitable keywords. Likewise, see if they've modified their ad copy.
Another way to replicate where your competitors are getting their leads is to find the top websites that link to them. While there are some expensive tools that identify the "top referring websites" to your competitors, one no-cost tool is Open Site Explorer (http://www.opensiteexplorer.org). Simply enter the domain name of your competitor, and you'll see the top sites which link to them and thus give them traffic. Then, contact those sites to see if they'll link to you as well.
2. Understand what customers are doing on your site
It's one thing to drive a lot of traffic to your website. It's an entirely different thing to convert on that traffic.
Importantly, you need to know what customers do once they're on your website. And in many cases, it's not what you'd expect them to do. For example, one entrepreneur I know told me that tons of visitors were clicking on an image on his website, even though nothing happened when you clicked on it. So, he made a slight change; he made it so that when visitors clicked on the image, they were taken to a sales page. The result: his profits soared.
One great tool to see what visitors are doing on your website is ClickTale (http://www.clicktale.com/). ClickTale offers heat maps, usability and web analytics so you know exactly what visitors are doing. And then, you can improve your site based on your findings.
3. Improve your marketing funnel
To improve your results, you need to understand your funnel. For example, your online marketing funnel may look as follows: visitors click on an ad to get to your "landing page" (the first page of your website they visit); then they read the page and ideally click whether they want product A or B; then they go to a page that has more information on either product A or B; then they click a button to get to the order form; then they see the order form and hopefully buy; then they see an upsell offer to purchase an additional item.
As you can see, your online marketing funnel generally has many pieces to it. In order to improve your performance, you must:
1. Map out (on a piece of paper) your marketing funnel
2. Document all of your metrics, that is, currently what percent of people pass through each part of your funnel (e.g., out of 100% of people who get to your landing page, what % click on "product A"; and what percentage of those folks click the "buy button," etc.)
Then, you should start improving each piece of your funnel. With split testing technology, you can test new pages and see which ones improve your funnel's conversion rates.
Two no-cost tools you can use to aid in these efforts are: Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/) which will give you your conversion metrics, and Google Website Optimizer (https://www.google.com/analytics/siteopt/) which allows you to quickly and easily conduct split tests.
Note: if you want to optimize your website based on phone calls to your company, use a tool like ifbyphone (http://public.ifbyphone.com/). [ifbyphone is a Growthink client who has raised tens of millions of dollars, so I am biased. But I've used their tool myself and it's great.]
4. Determine your winning keywords, and then leverage them
A mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make is to try to rank organically on "root" keywords too early.
What I mean by this is that a desk manufacturer or retailer will often make an effort to rank (i.e., appear at the top of the search results) on the keyword "desk." Such a "root" keyword is often extremely hard to rank on, and typically much harder than "long tail" keywords such as "corner computer desk."
Not only are "root" keywords harder to rank on, but they may not be as profitable.
Rather, what you should do is conduct pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and optimize your marketing funnel as explained above. Then, you will determine the keywords that are most valuable to you.
Then, do search engine optimization (SEO) to try to rank on those keywords organically.
To reiterate: don't blindly do SEO; rather figure out the most valuable keywords first, particularly the long-tail ones, and then optimize on them.
5. Scale geographically
Once you have optimized your PPC advertising campaigns as described above, scale geographically as appropriate.
Google AdWords and Facebook ads both allow for extremely customized geographic expansion and targeting. You can target new customers by zip code, county, state and even country. With regards to countries, consider, as appropriate, expanding to other English speaking countries and territories like England, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, etc. (or expand based on your native language).
Each of these five tactics will enable you to grow your business fairly quickly and easily. So start employing them today.
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