Much has been said about how to successfully build and grow a business. Fact remains however that a business, any business, success is directly related to its marketing success. Unless you inform others that your business, with its products and services, exist your business will ultimately fail. And in today’s business world this is done most successfully online!
What is important to understand is that online marketing success depends on the foundation components, the rock, and how well that has been designed, developed and implemented. All other online marketing activities are going to perform and produce results based on the core foundation components. So if you are not enjoying the desired online marketing results, with the evidence of creating daily leads and customers, the problem lies solely on the foundation components – fix that and online marketing success will be yours!
So what are these foundation components of online marketing?
It works like a three legged barstool; if one component fails the entire online marketing foundation will collapse, jeopardizing the success of your entire online marketing strategy and related activities.
The first component is the website itself. Just like a brick and mortar business you must have an ‘online shop’ where you will meet your prospects and customers. This does not mean that you need to sell online and the ‘shop’ can be called a ‘presence’ also. Don’t waste too much effort on the ‘interior decorating’ of your website or the size, the number of pages. It is most important that the message of what you offer is clear, visible and can be considered as a solution within 30 seconds.
Interesting to consider though is that search engines do not display websites but rather webpages. The page itself, with its related content and message, is therefore more important than the entire website. It is for this reason that I have often recommended a basic CMS (Content Management System) website, like WordPress or Joomla. These type of websites are quick to develop, easy to change and even easier to add content to. I have also seen cases where we add one landing pages to a very expensive website and suddenly the landing page produces all the online marketing results and renders the entire website without purpose. A website consisting of just one page can be just as successful as a 1000 page website, if the objective was clearly defined and the page well designed, developed and implemented.
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The second foundation component is to create online visibility to ensure that your potential customers (and customers) know where and how to find your business online. Most businesses, through impatience and urgencies, now make the mistake of jumping into paid advertising prematurely. You need to consider the cost and effectiveness of the entire online marketing strategy. This is now the time to implement a sound optimization strategy focusing on the effectiveness of your website. Optimization of your website is not an activity that is performed once but should be done daily similar to that of car maintenance.
In my article SEO vs SEM: Which is the better choice I defined SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as the process of gaining website traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. For building a solid foundation I suggest to add to this definition “…..for purposes of engagement and relationship building with potential customers and customers”. Once again search engines do not display websites but webpages so ensure that your optimization do include a dedicated focus on the most important pages.
The third and last foundation component is the customer profile or also known as the buyers persona. Unless you build your online marketing strategy for a specific known targeted audience your online marketing activities will always be likened to a shotgun approach. All other online marketing activities will only produce the results your business needs if you spend time in developing and maintaining your customer profile. The customer profile must be as comprehensive and detailed as possible and I always advise to revisit the current customer profile at least once a year, every six months will be best.
Build your Business
Now that you have a well-developed and search engine optimized website attracting a known audience for a predefined purpose or objective, your business can be built on a rock that cannot and will not fail.
As a next step (there are other next step options) you can now consider paid advertising to speed up the process of attracting your target audience. I do not recommend SEM (Search Engine Marketing) but rather …….. which I will explain in another article, soon.