The goal of online marketing seems simple enough: attract more visitors to your website, i.e. draw leads into your sales funnel, then sell more services and products. If you’re struggling with this, you’re probably thinking there’s got to be some sort of magic key that makes it happen. After all, so many online marketers are boasting their amazing rates of retention, conversion, and success. Meanwhile, you’re stuck reading ultimate guides to SEO, attending landing page improvement webinars, and trying hard to reverse-engineer the secret. And still, none of it ever works. Why?
Here’s your problem: you lack a simple, yet consistently applied set of best practices. Check out the ones we’ve listed below—they’re collected from the same marketing gurus and wildly successful entrepreneurs you wish to emulate.
1. Create a website that sells
What do most successful entrepreneurs have in common? A great website. Easier said than done, right? Well, in fact, all it takes to get one yourself is these three things:
#1 Martin Zwilling writes for Forbes to remind us that customers buy with their eyes. Steve Jobs got this better than anyone. The products he created are still selling like hotcakes, but, don’t worry—you don’t have to create gorgeous smartphones: just websites that sell. The science behind this says customer behaviour is hugely influenced by small details, such as colour palette, fonts, space between text (and more).
#2 Think about the type of content you will be publishing. A constant stream of useful content will help you establish yourself as an authority in the industry and gain the trust of potential clients.
#3 Remember SEO. All websites that sell have impeccable on-site and inbound SEO and target very specific & relevant long-tail keywords.
2. Perfect your Internal Triad
Without solid support from analytics, finance and marketing tools (commonly known as the ‘internal triad’), it’s impossible to monitor the growth of your business. These tools are the ones that will effectively help focus your sales, R&D, and marketing efforts in the digital age. For example, key insights regarding the demographics of your websites’ audiences can help you take educated financial decisions for the future.
3. Act on your dream
Year after year the same story: bright-eyed, bushy-tailed entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars on ‘how to make it online’ or ‘how to start a business’ courses. Then, they develop analysis paralysis: you learn so much, but then get stuck before you can implement the knowledge. Newsflash: investing in a course won’t make you a millionaire overnight. If you want a six-figure income you will have to act on the dream, just like any other successful entrepreneur ever.
“The greatest sin of entrepreneurs is the belief that nothing good can come of something small. Thus, unlimited potential is wasted. Sit down right now and work on your plan. When you wake up in the morning, work on it again. Even if it’s just for an hour. Even if it’s something small. Even if it’s just for twenty minutes, in between driving the kids to school and fixing their lunch before you go to your 9-to-5, which you plan on quitting. To make a difference, to leave a mark on the crowded business world, at some point you will have to stop talking—and start doing. Do this every day and you will be well on your way to achieving your dream.”
Matei Gavril CEO, PRMediaOnline.com
4. Put together a logical plan
Start with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities threats). Focus on your best qualities and create a plan that will complement them. Don’t waste your energy making multiple plans. Decide on one and stick to it. Don’t set goals you won’t be able to achieve. A simple project that gets done will make you feel a hundred times better than a complex one, which stalls.
5. Understand your customers & their emotions
Believe it or not, over 80% of buys are emotionally-motivated. Failing to understand the reasoning behind your customers’ behaviour will make you miss out on great opportunities. For every potential purchase, you need to identify the underlying customer need and to respond to it.
Nurture new leads, but focus on repeat business—recent studies have shown that most online companies cannot survive without it. It’s your existing customers who will support, refer, and help you improve with their feedback.
6. There’s still a lot of room for you on the market
Recent data featured on WSJ.com says the overall number of small firms in the U.S. will take a 3% hit in 2015. Does that mean entrepreneurship is over and done with? On the contrary: as most experts predict, we’ll soon be seeing at least one more growth spurt in the SMB arena. Make sure you’re confidently riding that wave.
7. The secret ingredient is YOU
If you’re simply going to regurgitate all the information and strategies you find online, you’re in for a rude awakening. From written content to marketing strategies, it all starts with a uniquely personal approach. Call it personal branding. Think laterally. Capitalize on case-studies. Ultimately, craft your unique voice.