Search engine algorithms are changing constantly, upsetting long held notions of marketers every now and then – and keeping them on tenterhooks. What worked last year may not work now. You need to constantly tweak your strategy to make sure you are visible online and influencing consumer decisions without indulging in what search engines term ‘black hat’ tactics.
So how will you do that? Let’s break it down:
These are the very first things you need to do to ensure a robust online presence:
Have a killer website:
Your website is the face of your business online, so it has to be professional and attractive. It should be visually appealing, with great copy. The messaging should be consistent with your brand and values. Optimize your website for mobile devices so that your users get the same great experience with your site regardless of what device they view it on.
You also want to give them awesome UX, or user experience:
- your site loads quickly,
- navigation is a breeze,
- checkout is just a couple of clicks away,
- it’s easy for them to contact you, a
- nd most importantly, easy for them to find exactly what they are looking for.
Optimize your website:
Apart from SEO for content, there is some behind the scenes work you need to do. This includes appropriate URLs, meta descriptions and meta tags, descriptions of images – anything and everything that makes it easy for the search engine bots to crawl your site, pick it up and put it on the first page of the search results.
Clear and visible CTAs:
The call to action has to be prominently displayed on every page; this keeps reminding your visitors of the action you want them to take, and makes it easy for them to do so regardless of where they are on your site.
To keep abreast of changing trends and search engine algorithms, you have to be on your toes, making changes to your tactics as and when needed. Here are a few tips on how to achieve that:
Enhanced Inter-departmental cooperation:
When you’ve been in business for some time, you are likely to have excellent professionals in each department. Encourage greater cooperation and interaction between departments, especially those that interact with customers directly. This will help you have a better idea of customer preferences, customer feedback, new trends, need for improvements and so on; when your offline performance and sales increases, so will your online presence.
Research tells us that everybody is looking for shortcuts:
Consumers don’t want to be burdened and stressed with too many choices. So what you do is showcase your best products – based, of course, on the past choices and buying pattern of the buyer. The customer will be happy to choose from a limited number of products on offer.
SEO is king:
Make sure the right people find you; use specific and appropriate keywords. Use a mix of short and long-tail keywords, and cover variations, plurals and so on so that you can target the maximum number of visitors who may be searching for products similar to yours. Engage SEO professionals if required, and make sure you get it right.
Some are free, the best are paid; Facebook ads, Google AdWords and other pay per click ads will help drive more relevant traffic to your site. Be sure to carefully research your keywords for your PPC ads; use a keyword research tool if needed, and use specific, relevant, long tail keywords – that is what will bring in the ‘qualified’ traffic.
Provide enhanced security:
With cyber crimes becoming more common and deadlier, many users are apprehensive of providing their sensitive financial information online. Provide exemplary data security to your customers; this will help build trust, and boost your online reputation.
Leverage the might of social media, but wisely:
Yes, you need to be active on social media, and interact with influencers and customers alike. However, it’s not necessary that you have a presence on every social networking platform that there is – God knows there are way too many! So choose a couple of them, and be very strong on those. Choose your platform according to your brand identity. If your company’s image is that of a serious corporate house, then you MUST have a robust LinkedIn profile. A Facebook page always helps, since it seems like the whole world is on it – the number of users just crossed 2 billion a few days ago. Once you’ve finalized your networks, post regularly – relevant, curated and interesting content that your followers will love to consume.
Add value to your customers:
Don’t always be only about selling your products or services. Offer helpful tips, suggestions, recommendations and more to your customers. Yes, we’re talking about content; but don’t limit yourself to blogs. You can also create infographics, videos, publish an eBook, host a podcast, host webinars or online workshops, conduct a case study and publish your findings, and so on.
You can also contact and establish relationships with prominent bloggers, and get them to do a couple of guest blogs for you. Contrary to what many people think, email marketing is still very much alive. Get potential and current customers to sign up for your newsletter, and send them links to blogs, videos, infographics and stuff, or send these directly in the email, so that your customers receive valuable stuff from you regularly. Your name will be on the top of their minds the next time they go shopping online!
Build your authority in forums:
Join relevant groups and discussion forums, and answer queries users may have regarding your (or similar) products, how to use them and so on. You can also post blogs (though you need to keep them short) or short videos, as long as it is something that will solve some problem the users are facing; when users know you care enough to solve their pain points, it will help build trust to a great extent.
Track and track again:
Monitor the performance of your website; there are several tools that will help you to track the effectiveness of your social media campaigns, blogs, PPC campaigns, email campaigns, and even your website. Analyze the effectiveness of your strategies, and keep tweaking them to achieve better results – and this has to be done regularly and continuously for the best results.
Vipin Nayar is the Digital Marketing Head at Acodez IT Solutions. A social media, SEO, SEM and conversion expert with over 8 years’ experience in online marketing, helps clients enhance their online presence and open up new business avenues. Keeping in step with social media trends, he uses his keen insight into customer behaviour to formulate innovative strategies that help companies to increase traffic to the website and improve conversion utilizing a wide range of techniques. In addition, he shares his knowledge and passion through frequent writing on latest trends and developments in digital marketing.