Suffice to say, most small businesses aren’t privileged with the type of large marketing budget…
The trend for online marketing searches has been on the rise, especially during and after the Covid pandemic. More people are setting up online businesses and have been searching for online marketing solutions in greater numbers.
Even bricks and mortar businesses can no longer afford to ignore the digital piece. People are using their mobile phones in record numbers to find local businesses and to find out what is in stock. And no serious business can afford to ignore this. According to Google, “20% of searches across all Google properties are local and that number doubles to an amazing 40% for mobile searches. ”
For any businesses looking to get started with online marketing I present here 20 online marketing tips to get you started. This is only a taster and you’ll need to carry out more research to find your space in the online marketing world.
1. Set the right online marketing budget
What to spend on online advertising, is a question that every advertiser struggles to answer. Your online marketing budget is one of the most important decisions you will make. It’s what many advertisers struggle with especially on platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.
One way to tackle this is to think about what it is you want to achieve in a given time period. For example, how many sales do you want to achieve each month or year? and how are you going to monitor and track that? Read my article on how to set an online marketing budget for your Google Ads campaigns.
2. Have an online marketing strategy
An online marketing strategy helps you to map out how you will achieve your marketing goals. It sets out how you will reach your target market and provide the solution to their needs or wants. It is not about promoting your business or products, but more about how to satisfy the needs of your future customers.
So the strategy should include all the tactics you will do to reach your customers and keep them engaged and buying. It’s important that you make the online marketing strategy as relevant as possible to make sure that the budget is used effectively.
3. Hire an online marketing specialist
If you have the time and resources to launch your own marketing channels, then you should by all means do this yourself. However, the reality is most business owners and entrepreneurs will require the help of an online marketing specialist at some point. Even if you’re able to run some channels yourself, it’s very unlikely that you will have experience with all the main platforms out there. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by hiring an expert with specialist knowledge in a particular platform.
And you can do the same for all the other channels if you have the budget. You can have an internet marketing specialist handling your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, another handling your social media campaigns and another optimising your search engine rankings. And you can coordinate all their efforts and set goals for each platform. Check out my article on how to find an internet marketing specialist.
4. Do some keyword research
Keyword research is at the heart of running effective campaigns on Google Ads. There are many tools that will help you do this and the free tool in Google Ads is one of the best in the market. It has gone through many iterations and now has powerful forecasting tools that other platforms don’t provide.
So, you can look at historic keyword data and also forecast data to assess how much you are likely to pay per click. You can add any keyword opportunities you find into your existing campaigns or creating new campaigns and ad groups. A basic version is also built into the campaigns and you can carry out some basic research as you create your ad groups. Read my article on how to conduct effective keyword research with a free Google Ads Keyword Planner tool.
5. Launch a PPC online marketing campaign
Pay Per Click Advertising has become one of the leading online marketing channels in the past 10 years. More and more advertisers are seeing the benefits of PPC advertising and they are signing up to Google Ads in record numbers.
A few years ago many businesses that considered advertising online only listed their businesses on Yell and Yahoo directories, now are spending hundreds and thousands each month driving traffic and sales each month. There are over 4 million businesses advertising on Google and counting and for most this is their primary channel. Sign up for a Google Ads account.
6. Setup analytics tracking
Google offers a free website tracking program, Google Analytics. This is a powerful platform and it tracks all traffic on your website and you can view standard reports and create customised reports. Google Analytics should also be linked to your Google Ads account if you are running campaigns there and you will have more metrics to track and optimise.
You get additional metrics like bounce rate, time on site, user sessions and multi-funnel channels which give you detailed information about your campaigns. You can also setup goals to track sales or leads and import these into your Google Ads account for conversion tracking. Sign up for a Google Analytics account.
7. Setup conversion tracking
Conversion tracking is important to setup and as mentioned in the point above, you can do that in Google Analytics. The other option is to setup conversion tracking in your Google Ads account, but the problem is you will only be tracking your PPC traffic and not other traffic sources like Organic, Referrals, Direct, Social Media etc. To track all these other sources as mentioned earlier, you should setup goal tracking in Google Analytics and you can import the goals into your Google Ads account for conversion tracking. Check out my article on setting up conversion tracking for Google Ads.
For social media advertising, the Facebook platform provides one of the best systems with a huge audience to reach. It also provides good targeting options and you can customise this to the specific audiences that you want to reach. You also get the Facebook pixel to track conversions for your ads and you can then see which are performing and which are not. Another advantage is that you get Remarketing tools similar to Google Ads to retarget people that have shown interest in what you have to offer before.
The one disadvantage is that unlike search engines you are targeting people that are not necessarily searching for what you have to offer and will usually lead to lower conversions. But overall, a wide range of businesses are seeing the power of social media advertising and this is proving to be a major competitor to search engines like Google and Bing.
9. Test your landing pages
In your PPC campaigns in Google Ads or Microsoft Ads, you can test your landing pages to see which ones perform the best. There are many elements to test like headlines, body text, images, calls to action, buttons, colours and much more. The results of the tests will tell you which are the best performing features and landing pages. Landing page experience is one of the factors that contribute to your keyword Quality Scores in Google Ads. The higher this factor is the better your scores will be and you will have better performing ads.
One metric to look out for when testing your landing pages is bounce rate. This is a measure of the percentage of people that reach your landing page and leave without taking some action like viewing another page. A good bounce is generally under 50% but that varies from industry to industry. Read my article on how to improve your landing pages for your PPC campaigns.
10. Setup Google My Business
If you want your business to be found on Google Maps and more prominently in search results, then you should setup a Google My Business (GMB) account. This is particularly important for local businesses that offer services and products to local customers, whether it’s an accountant, plumber, small gift shop etc.
However, a wide range of national and global businesses use GMB and it works powerfully to inform prospects and customers about the businesses operations. This includes things like opening times, product or service range, contact details, business location, business description and more. Customers can also leave reviews for your business and this will boost your online marketing efforts. Sign up for a Google My Business now.
11. Keep your blog fresh
Keeping your blog fresh means regularly blogging to keep visitors engaged. So you should follow a regular schedule for posting to your blog and that could be daily, weekly or monthly. For most bloggers a monthly post would be a good place to start without committing too much time and failing to follow through. However, for heavy bloggers, a weekly blog would be good and that would make a big difference to the performance of the website in the search engines.
Visitors like to see regular posts especially if they have signed up to your blog or visit regularly, so make sure that your don’t disappoint. There’s nothing as frustrating as people returning regularly and not finding new content especially if this was the expected norm. They will soon stop returning. Search engine bots love new content too and if you provide this your website will be indexed faster and rank higher.
12. Setup retargeting Ads
It’s cost effective too and you will often pay much less for a returning visitor that clicks your ad on a display website, unlike from a search query on Google. And people that click Remarketing Ads are more likely to convert because they now know your business and if they return they are more likely interested. Check out my post on how to setup Remarketing for your online marketing campaigns.
13. Give away free valuable stuff
Keep your visitors engaged by giving away free stuff. This can include things like a free white paper, a free sample, a free valuation and many such things. And you should promote this in your advertising, especially if you run Google Ads or Facebook Ads or other platform. This is an effective way to collect emails and can keep in touch with your prospects. Just bear in mind that what you are giving away should be of the highest quality and relevant to your visitors. And it should help to turn visitors into customers, some time in the future.
14. Optimise your website
Follow Google’s guidelines to optimise your website to rank higher in organic search. Update the title and meta description tags on each page and include the main keywords for each page and make them unique. This will help to push your website higher in the rankings for the keywords you have optimised your website for and other long tail searches. Also update the content on each page and include alt tags for your images and include the main keywords in the headlines.
But don’t over optimise your website by doing things like keyword stuffing. And always focus on the user’s needs before the search engines by making the text readable and engaging. The Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) landscape has changed over the years and the algorithms have brought out many updates. Following these is always a challenge but following a few rules as you optimise your website will make a big difference to your rankings.
15. Do some guest posting
In line with optimising your website, you also should consider doing some guest posting to gain high quality links to your website. Any links that point to your website are like a vote for it, and the more you have of them, especially quality ones, the more chances you have of winning the top positions in the search engines. Just bear in mind that the best links are those that are from sites in your industry and are from high quality websites.
Even links from top quality sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post could do wonders for your website and rankings. You will drive more visitors to your website and it will rank higher for the keywords that you are targeting in your content. Start by approaching a few websites in your niche that accept guest posts and pitch a really good blog post idea. Make sure it is one that allows you to add at least one do-follow link to your website. After a few months of guest posting on such sites under your belt, you can now approach harder websites like Forbes with some great ideas for posts. Keep doing this and in no time you will see your website outranking all the competition for your keywords.
16. Monitor your website with Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free platform that helps website owners analyse and improves their websites. There are many things you can do in the Console. First you need to submit your website and then verify that you actually own it, for security reasons. Next, there are a list of things to do like submitting a sitemap of your website, so all your pages can be indexed. This will help you to monitor and manage how your website appears in Google search results.
And you can make changes to it based on the recommendations in the Console. You will see which queries your website is appearing for and how many impressions and clicks you’re getting. A lot of the optimisation work you do on your own website will be reflected here. Sign up for a Google Search Console account now.
17. Setup HubSpot CRM
There are many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to choose from but HubSpot has some of the best features. For starters it’s a free CRM and provides you with a good interface to manage your contacts and access reports. It helps you build engaging, enduring relationships with your customers and promote productive conversations with them. Sign up to Hubspot to get started.
18. Collect Reviews
There are many review websites nowadays and some are free and available for businesses of all sizes. Others like Feefo are paid for review platforms and offer an effective way to collect reviews. They also allow you to display reviews in your Google Ads when you have collected the minimum number of reviews over a 12 month period – which is about 120.
Businesses that systematically collect reviews often perform well online and give customers confidence to purchase. As mentioned earlier, many businesses collect Google reviews on the Google My Business platform and you should too. These reviews will appear in Google Maps and will give your prospects confidence to do business with you.
19. Submit a feed to Google Merchant Centre
If you sell products online, one of the most effective ways to promote them is through Google Shopping. This is a campaign type available in your Google Ads account and you implement it first by supplying a feed to Google. The best way to do this is through a Google Merchant Centre Account, which is a free platform provided by Google. When you create the account, you will first need to submit and claim your website to prove your ownership. Then you will need to create a feed of all the products you want to promote. There are many ways to create a feed and one of the ways is to create it in Excel or Google Spreadsheets. Google provides guidelines for creating the feed which you will find here.
Next you should link your Merchant Centre account to your Google Ads account and then create a shopping campaign. One of the main benefits of Google Shopping is that in the search results an image and title will show for each product that appears. And people who click through to your website are more likely to purchase because they get to see the main product details before they get to the website. So, these are more qualified visitors, unlike visitors that click through from a standard text ad. To kickstart your online marketing efforts, sign up for a Google Merchant Centre account and upload a feed.
20. Leverage machine learning and AI
Lastly we come to one of the biggest updates to online marketing – machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Online marketing has gone through many evolutions over the years and AI represents one of the most exciting opportunities. Google has taken it to another level and fully incorporated machine learning into its Google Ads advertising platform. It uses machine learning to automate the setup and management of your campaigns and saves you tons of time.
Most decisions like bidding, keyword selection, ad text and so on are determined by the system, based on your goals and campaign performance. This is an efficient way to manage your campaigns as it’s nearly impossible to decide on what bids to set and which ad to show at auction time. So the system does the heavy lifting and this saves you a lot of time. The possibilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning are endless and we are only at the beginning of this revolution in marketing.