Beyond the Fundamentals: Social Media, Local Search, e-mail and Videos
An established website that has a good flow of traffic and converts visitors to leads and sales can be the foundation of so much more. The internet is vast, and there are many other aspects of the on-line world that can improve your business even more. With the fundamentals in place, finding more ways to promote your business on-line will be more effective.
The internet is always changing with new sources of traffic and new marketing opportunities. Some have been gradually gaining attention, while others seem to come on the scene over night. Here is a sampling of other internet marketing techniques and channels that could help propel your business even further.
Local Search, Maps and Geo Targeting
Often people search and qualify their search by a city or state. For examples, take "hotels Denver, CO" or "lawyers, Boulder, CO". If your business depends on a market within a specific region or location, there are various Internet Marketing techniques that can be used to your advantage.
Dentists, specialty stores, lawyers and accountants are examples of businesses that depend on acquiring customers or clients from a specific proximity to their physical location. Some businesses cater to both a local clientele as well as to customers who may be anywhere else in the world. For example, hotels, resorts and b&bs do attract guests locally in addition to potential guests from anywhere in the world. Likewise, real estate brokers attract clients locally as well as clients from other regions who are moving into the area.
Properly including your business on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MSN Maps, can be a good source of free traffic. Any business owner can set up and maintain their presence on these local directories. And it is getting more and more important that this is done properly, and is maintained for good quality.
There is also more that can be done in conjunction with PPC and SEO. PPC marketing can target specific regions and locations. For example, Google Adwords can interface with Google Maps, making ads stand out against competing "non-local" ads. And, depending on the nature of your business, a local geographic presence can be used along with national or world wide exposure.
In fact, you could target ads to a specific region or city and word the ads and associated landing pages to "talk" directly to those people. This kind of geographic targeting can provide a competitive edge for certain cases.
E-mail Lists and Newsletters
Building an e-mail list on-line is another excellent way to build a relationship with both your potential and existing customers. Keeping them informed of changes in your services, new promotions, and generally relevant information, keeps your business in their minds. It also allows you to make them special offers.
The important aspect of e-mail marketing is to assure people that they will not get spammed, and that their e-mail address is kept confidential to only your business. Making use of an "opt-in" e-mail responder helps provide you with the credibility and trust needed for people to sign up for your e-mail newsletters.
E-mail newsletters, if used consistently, along with good list building techniques, can be a very valuable marketing tool for many businesses.
Facebook, Twitter, Social Media
Social media refers to any of the websites where people establish a personal presence and interact with each other. A person may correspond with a group that has a common interest, a set of friends, or exchange ideas with colleagues.
Some of the common social media websites include:
Having a presence on a social media website is a good way to help build a relationship with potential customers, or existing customers. It does take work, and it does need to happen on a constant basis. It's also another form of "free" traffic to your website, if done effectively.
Some social websites also offer paid advertising. For example, Facebook ads can target a specific demographic based on its members' profiles along with specific geographic regions. Depending on what you are selling and the nature of your business, this form of advertising can be very cost effective.
Maintaining a blog is another form of communication to your clients and potential customers. A blog is basically a reverse chronological series of short articles and announcements. It is somewhat like an ongoing newsletter, where new information is added on a periodic basis.
Blogs are a great way to keep a website current with timely and relevant information. The additional information added to your website on a regular basis also helps attract organic searches. Search engines tend to like websites that are updated often and blogs do that in a very natural way.
Many blogs also encourage user comments and feedback, giving you more of a pulse of what your web visitors are looking for.
Video on the internet has obviously become quite popular. Making use of video on your website is a great way to to communicate more effectively with your customers, in conjunction with the text and overall design of your website.
New traffic to your website can also be achieved. Short video clips placed on YouTube for example, can attract attention to your website very economically.