The business world is changing. The traditional way of conducting business has been augmented with online platforms that leverage on the tremendous marketing and advertising prowess of the World Wide Web. In this changing face of the business landscape, it pays to have the right tools and processes at your disposal to take advantage of this immense marketing potential that will take your business to the next level.
Internet Secrets Made Easy identifies itself with small and medium businesses trying to establish themselves in this very dynamic and highly competitive online marketplace. In this regard, DMP presents this ultimate step-by-step guide that you can learn from and use to promote your business online.
Setting Up Your Base of Online Operations – The Website
Before you even start with the nitty-gritty of promoting your business online, you need to setup your base of operations – your website – from where the hub of your marketing operations will emanate from. This is not just some ordinary website mind you, but you need to establish a professionally-made website that will build your own branding and online reputation. Of course, this would need some investment on your part.
There are “free” website resources out there, you might argue, but is this really the image that you want to project in the online marketplace? It would be to your best advantage to stay away from these types of website resources and focus on establishing for yourself a real, professional designed and built website – and start attracting targeted customers to your business.
- Domain Name
The Internet is a network of interconnected devices and computers, each of which is identified with a numerically assigned label called the Internet Protocol (IP) address. People of course will not be able to remember the IP addresses of websites, so at a higher level these IP addresses are assigned with a human-readable Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or what people know as the web address of that particular site.
The URL is composed of a Domain Name and a suffix called the TLD or the top level domain. Common TLD’s are the following:
- com – commercial business
- net – Network organizations
- org – Organizations (nonprofit)
- mil – Military
- gov – Government agencies
- edu – Educational institutions
- ca – Canada (country specific)
Choose domain names that can easily identify your brand, your business and what your business do. It would take a whole new article just to teach you the rudiments of properly choosing a domain name for your business so watch out for that in the next installments from Internet Secrets Made Easy.
Your domain name acts like the address of your website online. The files of your website however, which consist of your content and website architecture, need to reside in an actual server managed and maintained by a hosting company. This serves as the “physical address” where your website resides.
The amount you pay for hosting depends on the type and features your hosting package includes such as memory size, bandwidth allocation, number of domains you can host, and other features and options. You can buy hosting for a monthly or yearly basis.
- Website Platform
Your website architecture will depend on the platform you will use to build your site with. The type of website platform will depend on the type of content and purpose you intend your website to be. More popular platforms for content-heavy websites include Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
You can also go for sites specifically designed for e-Commerce like Prestashop and Shopify. There are also platforms for microblogging, forums, photo-centric, video-centric, training modules, and other platforms intended for specific industries and niches.
Once you’ve selected and installed your website platform, you can choose a specific template that will work well with the type of website you would like to promote. Each platform has a default template or even free templates that you can use. For professional-looking websites, it would be best to avail of premium templates or custom-designed theme. These templates are highly customizable and includes additional features that are not available with free templates.
Plugins are add-ons that are added to your basic website architecture to activate certain features that enhance the capabilities and functionalities of your website. Write down all the features that you would like to see on your site like sliders, contact form, seo and social media plug-ins and search for appropriate plug-ins. Most of them are free but there are also some premium plug-ins that offer much more flexibility and features.
Once your website architecture, themes, and additional features are established, it’s now time for you to fill up your site with high-quality and relevant content intended for your targeted audiences and potential customers. You should also not just focus on standard articles and other text-based content, but you can also make use of other content like graphics, images, slideshows, infographics, and video that are all effective tools to get your message across to targeted audiences.
Digital Marketing Techniques You Can Use to Promote Your Business Online
Once you have your website architecture established and your online content kicking in, it would be high time to start making use of the following digital marketing tools that can help you promote your business online.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) / Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEO and SEM are effective digital marketing tools that you can use to attract organic search traffic to your website using specific keywords and keyword phrases found in your content. You start by performing an SEO audit to assess your site and then start optimizing to improve your content, your website architecture, page descriptions, link systems and other elements in your website. You can also refer to the DMP article “How to Set-up a Profitable SEO Campaign” and “How to Do SEO in the Age of the Semantic Web” for additional guidelines.
- Social Media Marketing
The widespread popularity of social media networks make it a very powerful tool for marketing to targeted audiences through a very interactive and personal way. The key here is to establish rapport and connection with targeted audiences from these networks. This will generate social signals that will increase your chances for conversion. You can learn more about this from the DMP article “Understanding the Basics of Social Media Marketing” and “Top 8 Social Media Marketing Strategies for Business (Infographic)“.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Paid advertising like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads can deliver highly targeted traffic to your landing page or sales page. These types of traffic click on PPC ads because they are interested or are already looking for the kind of brand, product or service you are marketing and have the most likelihood for conversion as leads or even sales. You can learn more about this by referring to another DMP article entitled “Understanding How PPC Can Generate Targeted Traffic to Your Business” and “The Pros and Cons of PPC Marketing”.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective but highly effective tool for promoting your brand, product or service to an email list that have subscribed or opted in to your website or digital marketing campaign. It is a very effective digital marketing method that can reach out to targeted audiences that will generate favorable results.
- Content Marketing
Content marketing is an effective digital marketing tool that can help you reach out, engage and build relationships with targeted audiences using high-quality and relevant content in various forms. These content should contain information relevant to your brand or business but is presented in a way that is interesting to targeted audiences – and not outright hard selling. See the latest trends in Content Marketing from the “Content Marketing Trends to Watch Out This 2014” article from DMP.
Graphics and other visuals can be much more effective that ordinary text articles and posts as explained extensively in the “Understanding How Visual Content Marketing Works” article from DMP. When it comes to visuals, infographics can really present a better story that is more interesting to targeted audiences, making it a more effective tool for marketing your business online.
- Press Releases
You can also make use of online press releases to promote your business through available channels and distribution channels. This is more cost-effective that coursing your promotion campaign through traditional media channels but you’ll be able to reach out to wider and highly targeted audiences much more effectively.
Monitoring the Performance of Your Online Business
Establishing your website and using digital marketing tools to promote your online business will not be complete or be more effective without proper monitoring of performance. You can start by conducting an audit of your campaigns and then setting up self-check, monitoring and analytics applications. You can also set up other performance monitoring programs like rank checkers, conversion trackers and Adwords review applications to help you measure the performance of your business online.
Promoting your business online using digital marketing tools and following the steps outlined in this ultimate guide can provide you with a highly effective and results-generating marketing channel that will deliver targeted audiences that converts, bring you more revenues – and take your business to the next level.
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