online marketing for beginners, online marketing definition and principles
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online marketing for beginners, online marketing definition and principles

your website is an important piece of
your digital marketing strategy it may serve as a gateway to gather information
or the actual destination where a sale takes place it’s an opportunity for a
visitor to discover what makes your brand unique to find the information
they’re looking for and to guide them in their decision to buy you may have all
sorts of marketing campaigns running ads on Google post on Facebook blog articles
all of it is bringing in new customers that eventually end up on your website
all of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces
of digital real estate you own the better your marketing the more
visibility your website has online consumers of today are fickle and that’s
because digital interactions are so commonplace so users are spoiled by
companies that are doing it well they’re used to things just working and they
expect that the information they want will be available and accurate when it’s
not they’re disappointed and credibility is lost for whatever brand they’re
interacting with the truth is if your website isn’t good you’re going to fall
further and further behind as the landscape evolves and if your website
doesn’t work on mobile you’re already behind chances are there’s a competitor
with a better online experience and your customers will seek them out if they’re
fumbling with yours so let’s talk about how to make sure that your experience is
good enough it doesn’t need to be perfect it just has to be successful an
effective website is simple well-thought-out and highly functional
it should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can
accomplish their goals effortlessly in our marketing strategy we’re aiming for
shared value it’s the same with your website your business goals and the
needs of your target market should overlap and while we’re drawing
similarities to our marketing strategy I’ll also point out that your website
only needs to appeal to your target market so spend your effort designing it
to work for that audience as you evaluate your current website take some
time to ask yourself the following questions 1 is it mobile-friendly the
amount of people using their mobile devices to browse the web is staggering
so design with mobile in mind now later in this chapter we’re going to talk
about something called responsive design and that will help give you some more
ideas around the topic of being mobile-friendly now the next question is
does it load properly in all modern web browsers if your site looks one way on
Safari for Mac and another way on Chrome for
see you’re not really controlling the experience test it out on all of the
modern browsers I recommend browser staff calm as a way
to quickly test your site across platforms does it answer all the
questions my users have or may have now a good practice is to write down things
your customers ask for via phone email or even in your place of business you
can check to see if those answers are easily found on your website and if
they’re not then you should put that information online
next is the site reflective of my brand within the first couple of seconds a
user is going to decide how the site feels to them you need to make sure your
brand is carried through luxury brands need to feel elegant whereas discount
sites can focus more on the current sales make sure your logo tagline and
the color scheme all reflect your brand you definitely want things to be
consistent is it up-to-date nothing is worse than information that’s out of
date it creates concern with users so be sure to keep information current if you
have a blog you should be using it weekly are all of your services and
products easy to find because online marketing is so niche you’re targeting
audience is likely looking for something specific can they find it on your
website if they can’t find it and they call and you say it’s a service or
product you do offer then it needs to be on your site or all of your policies
easy to find that is to say if you ship or handle returns can a user understand
the process clearly will they know how long shipping takes when they can expect
a callback or a product to arrive you want to provide ample feedback so a user
knows where they stand in the process and finally a lot of the best criteria
for your site is how does it compare to your competitor are you proud or jealous
if you’re jealous it’s probably time to seriously consider whether or not you
need to patch up your website leverage your relationships with existing
customers and colleagues as a way to get feedback on your site ask them what they
like what they don’t like and for any ideas as you go about creating an
effective website I also recommend hearing from someone
outside your circle check out peak for no
charge they’ll have a real person spend five minutes on your site and give you
honest and unbiased feedback as I said earlier your website is possibly the
most valuable piece of your digital marketing strategy take your time and
conduct an honest of you Asian having the right domain name is
essential your domain name is how your visitors find your website it appears on
your print materials and it’s also shared both online and offline as your
brand recognition increases a poorly chosen domain name will have a
widespread negative impact on your online and offline efforts a good domain
name is relevant memorable and usable so let’s talk about relevant your domain
name should be relevant to your business typically it’ll be your business name
but in some situations it can be a bit more broad if your business name is too
long you may need to creatively shorten it while still remaining on brand the
more relevant your domain name the better even for SEO so stick with what
makes sense to your target market next make it memorable and you’ll do
that by keeping it short using simple terms and by selecting the
most common suffix now what I’m talking about suffixes I’m referring to com net
org and is still King and most people instinctually type com
even if you listed dotnet or org it’s ideal to always have com now some
countries have specific suffixes such as MX or Co UK use the one that is most
widespread in your region if you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business
name you’ll end up with a less than memorable domain name instead you’ll
want to try an alternative domain name that still maintains the feel of your
brand and finally the domain should be usable if you’re adding in hyphens or
leveraging prefixes other than www you might be hampering a visitor’s ability
to arrive at your website the best domain names are short and free of
special characters so after you select your domain name I recommend buying
multiple variations and suffixes to prevent others from registering them
also if you’re using a number in your domain it’s not a bad idea to buy the
version with the numbers spelled out to avoid any complications when sharing a
domain name through word-of-mouth if your domain name is unavailable
it might be worth contacting a current owner to inquire about the cost of
purchasing it if you can’t find their contact information on their website you
can try denta fiying them by running what’s called a who is this will query
the registered owner you’ll find the tools to do this at Whois net or who dot
is it’s hard to change a domain name once you’ve got
your marketing underway so evaluate your options and make the best choice for
your business every website has a goal it could be to
distribute information capture an email address or sell a product
there’s a reason you’re putting an effort into online marketing your goal
is for your visitor to take some sort of action after they land on your website
now depending on your audience you’ll have between 2 and 6 seconds to convince
them to stay once they’ve arrived what happens is these visitors will click
take a glance and then bounce from your site if they’re not interested so
ideally you’re driving this traffic to a specific landing page having specific
destinations allows you to reinforce the decision to click provide an
attention-grabbing visual or headline and frame the information in a way that
helps you achieve your goal now some new visitors will inevitably arrive on your
homepage and that’s ok but it’s important to avoid campaigns that drive
visitors directly to your homepage it’s the least conversion friendly page on
your website since it tends to be fairly broad the key to making your website
convert is to build goal specific landing pages these landing pages come
in a few varieties but I’m going to focus on the four most common types
teaser pages squeeze pages infomercials and viral pages these are all ones
you’ve likely encountered as you’ve browsed the web the first is a teaser
page the objective of a teaser page is to give your visitor just enough
information to get them to click through to the next step of your process teaser
pages are useful for products that are nearing launch by creating anticipation
and excitement you can convince the visitor to take an action such as
providing an email address or even pre-ordering you can also use these
pages to tease out any unqualified leads if you have a special product for a
select audience you can leverage teaser pages to ask them questions one step at
a time slowly revealing more about your product or offering depending on the
answers next we have the squeeze page the goal of the squeeze page is to
capture content and qualifying lead information typically a visitor
exchanges their contact information for something of moderate value say a
webinar ebook or an exclusive discount the lead information can be as simple as
an email or as complex as four or five pre qualifying questions a good squeeze
page keeps the message above the fold stays on target and has a strong enough
value to be effective let’s move on to the viral landing page
the goal of this page is to invite your customers to enlist their friends you
might have a reward that has earned through a number of shares for example
for each friend who signs up you’ll get a $5 credit your viral landing page
might include a funny video or an infographic now finally we have the
infomercial page these are typically designed in the same style as an
infomercial you’d see on TV the idea is one page typically a long page and
you’ll share all the information about the product what it is how it works its
benefits testimonials and a special offer if you buy it today infomercial
pages are effective at driving sales for certain products and are typically used
by affiliate marketers when running large campaigns to build your landing
page select the right type and then focus on these five things you want to
define the goal what needs to happen what information from the user do you
need to accomplish that goal their email phone number credit card outline what
the user needs to do do they need to fill out a form invite a friend and so
on what information does the user need to be convinced what is of shared value
to them and finally how will you track the results it’s important to make sure
your landing page has your logo an explanation of the offer a very
compelling headline related testimonials and links to reviews along with a strong
call-to-action after you build your landing page or if you already have
pages on your site executing these goals it’s important to continuously improve
them when someone starts by clicking on your link maybe fills out the first page
but then never enters their credit card they’ve abandoned you want to fix
abandonment by finding the pain point and we’ll talk more on this later when
we get into conversion funnels but here’s why this is important if you fix
conversions you can increase your revenue without having to increase your
traffic so 10,000 visitors at a 1 percent conversion rate would equal 100
sales and 10,000 visitors at a 3 percent conversion rate well that’s 300 sales so
focus on keeping your landing pages concise just the right amount of
information necessary to get the job done make sure you add confidence to
your visitors by linking to your email policy having a valid SSL certificate
and including your contact information directly on the page there are many
other ways to improve the conversion on your website obviously not
every page can be a landing page but landing pages allow you to build
isolated tests and you can then apply those learnings to the rest of your
website here’s the reality people just don’t
read on the internet they scan they’ll jump from a headline to an image and
then scan a few bullet points this means when it comes to the copy on your
website less is more and with less words to work with it’s important that you
make each one count will call all the text on your website copy now I’m not
going to be discussing blog articles that’s a whole different beast for now
we’re going to focus on your web copy writing engaging web copy starts with
knowing your audience your writing specifically for them and no one else
you need to deliver your information in a way that meets their needs and you
have to be mindful of the fact that for whatever reason they’re likely in a
hurry to find that information the goal is to write great copy not just content
it’s different so as you approach your project start by getting rid of any long
introductions and word heavy descriptions stick to clear concise and
punctual copy use clever headings to your advantage and break up your text
with bullet points building on topic and relevant content will not only help your
users but it’ll help you out as you work to rank in the search engines as well
one thing I see often is pages that put their headline as about us or contact us
for the page you’re on now those are helpful in the title or the breadcrumb
but save that heading space for something captivating and
attention-grabbing especially on your landing pages as you
move into the content deliver the most important points of your story first and
then add the supporting details as you go this way if the user stops reading
early they’ve got a gist of what you’re trying to say now before you get started
look at each page of your website and answer these questions who will read
this copy why are they reading this what should they feel when they read this
page what am I trying to accomplish with this copy and what benefit and feature
do I need them to really understand use these answers to build your first draft
save it and then write it again with half as many words compare the two and
only add back in what you need to reinforce the points that are lacking
now at some point you might decide it’s a good idea to hire a professional
copywriter I can’t stress the importance of good copy enough this is a worthwhile
investment if you aren’t able to spend the time to refine your own copywriting
skills when you look for a copywriter read through their work copywriters
often write in specific niches and while they’re happy to adjust their tone and
style for your needs it’s often better to find someone who understands your
audience a copywriter should be invited into the project at the beginning this
way they can gather all the facts understand the challenges ahead and
build you exactly what you need you can utilize a copywriter to write slogans
add ideas entire websites or a focused landing page copy most work on a daily
or half daily rate and expect to pay anywhere from 600 to 800 dollars per day
right with the approach of connecting your audience to your business
convincing them to take the next step and affirming their conversion over the past few years we’ve seen
impressive growth of tablets and smartphones all coming with different
screen sizes it would be an incredible amount of effort to build the design for
each screen size and then try to keep up with new devices on top of it that’s
where responsive web design comes in this approach allows your site to be
adaptive the page responds automatically based on the screen size and even the
orientation a user is viewing it in it works because a responsive website is
designed around building blocks these blocks can break and collapse under one
another stretch and shrink and even adjust the font sizes and image sizes
based on the available screen real estate what’s great is that the same
code is served to all the devices you won’t need to build multiple code bases
you’ll instead rely on your style sheets to handle the scaling advanced
responsive design can even adjust elements on the page adding an
additional content or removing it based on the view you’ll have to decide if
responsive design makes sense for your business personally I’d lean heavily
towards making the investment in this style of web development it’s almost a
necessity if you want to compete in today’s digital marketplace it’ll help
future-proof your brand and it’ll give you amazing flexibility as you expand
your marketing and improve your customers experience as they interact
with your site from various devices now responsive design sounds relatively
simple but it’s a fairly complex endeavor if you’ve built your website on
a framework or a paid template you might be able to find an update that includes
responsive elements if you have a more complex project including say ecommerce
websites it’s probably best to enlist the help of a professional use
responsive design as a tool not a cure-all fix you’ll still need to take
usability into consideration and that might mean changing certain interactions
on your website to accommodate a responsive experience search engine optimization is all about
impacting how visible your website is in a search engines organic results you’ll
be making changes to your site’s technical setup as well as the content
on the page in an effort to improve rank to better understand optimization let’s
start by looking at how search engines work a company like Google will have a
bot basically a software program that crawls the web it does this by following
links and links from your site to other pages on your site and even links from
one site to another the crawler arrives at a page reads the code and stores the
information that stored information is called the index and your initial goal
is to get indexed by Google if your indexed you’ll rank and you might not
rank well but you have the potential for ranking and when I talk about rank I’m
referring to which position you appear in for a particular search query so when
you enter a search term Google will do its best to provide the most important
and relevant answers and then rank them from best to worst the better Google is
at their job the more likely you are to use them and the more money they make so
it’s in Google’s best interest to deliver the best content and because
Google drives a mind-boggling amount of traffic each day it’s in your best
interest to rank well for relevant terms and rank is determined by importance and
relevance a complex algorithm turns through hundreds of variables to decide
where your page lands many of those variables are what you’re aiming to
optimize these variables might include the topics you’re writing about who is
linking to your page how your website is programmed and even if your
mobile-friendly Google even evaluates the quality of the pages that are
linking to you if they’re on brand relevant and popular it’s going to
assume you’re more credible than if off-topic unpopular pages are linking to
your content variables that you can’t control
might include where a user is searching from trending topics and any current
events that could skew results SEO done well can provide an impressive ROI done
poorly and it will negatively impact your organic search efforts in this
chapter we’ll dig into the fundamentals of good SEO and how you can improve the
chances that your page ranks well truthfully SEO is an ongoing effort
there isn’t one specific tactic you can implement at the start to succeed at the
race it’ll require many factors to be evaluated tweaked and then refined with
that said there’s still a handful of variables that are absolutely essential
to your success I’m going to focus on these key areas
for now to give you a solid foundation for your continued effort so first off
search engines are built around their ability to index pages so it’s very
important that your site is accessible to crawlers and that crawlers can get to
every page on your site search engines love text it’s the easiest for them to
parse if your site is built in flash you’re going to have trouble with SEO if
you’re using images in place of text you too will have a problem search engines
also love clicking links if you’ve got your links tucked into a custom
JavaScript navigation your crawl ability might be impaired so as you look at your
site make sure you have at least one regular text-based hyperlink to every
page on your site it’s usually best to build a flat site hierarchy versus a
deep site hierarchy and to help understand this let’s look at a flat
hierarchy there are exceptions to every rule
in some situations there are simply too many categories to show them all at one
level in other cases showing specific topics too soon will just confuse your
audience and users will understand your offerings much better if you include
some intermediary category pages to establish context focus on building a
site that is easy to navigate for your users with your most important content
linked clearly and prominently next be sure to look at how your URLs are named
it’s a great idea to have natural language URLs free of any extensions if
you have an e-commerce site a URL of clothing site comm slash men’s slash
pants slash denim – jeans is going to be much better than clothing site com slash
Product ID equals one to three along that same concept be sure your title
tags are unique to each individual page and include a clear topic don’t start
your title tags with your domain name simply append that to the end be sure
each page has a unique Meta Description Google often uses the Meta Description
as the short text visible in search results don’t just list keywords here
create a meaningful sentence or two that will entice the visitor to click Next
make sure you’re taking advantage of heading tags these are the h1 h2 and h3
tags you always want your heading tags to appear in order on your page and you
should only have one heading 1 tag avoid using your heading 1 tag to say things
like about us or contact us instead focus on the core topic for that page
check that every image on your website has a well-defined name and an alt tag
description no need to keyword stuff in your tags just make them natural and
relevant to the user and Google will reward you finally be sure to use a
sitemap both in HTML and XML format along with a well-defined
robots.txt file I also recommend signing up for Google Webmaster Tools it’s a
great dashboard that will help you inspect the overall SEO health of your
site you’ll find the free sign up at use the dashboard
to review how many pages have been crawled and indexed see a list of crawl
errors and identify any HTML improvements google recommends for you
if you have a moderately sized site check out the tool screaming frog SEO
spider at screaming frog co uk you can crawl your site just as a search engine
would see a list of any broken links along with an output of all your heading
1 tags meta descriptions and title tags work through each page on your site to
make sure it’s technically sound without great content you’re lost to
Google in order to understand what is going on with your website Google has to
have some information to read and it reads that information with a slight
bias on keywords so earlier we looked at building a list of our important
keywords and now we need to make sure we have content written around those terms
and by writing content for our keywords I’m not talking about blanketing the
page with these keywords back in the late 90s marketers were focused on these
ideas around keyword density title tags stuffing and a whole slew of other
tricks to try to win over a particular search term search engines are now smart
enough to understand the relationship between words and phrases so trying to
reinforce a keyword unnaturally isn’t going to help you if anything it might
negatively impact your effort so when you build your content keep in mind
there is no magic number of words or times to repeat your term instead build
out the information that brings the most value to your user if you’re going after
a particular search term it’s because that term is popular to your user base
and using it naturally will be in your benefit if you really need a formula I’d
stick with this have your keyword or related concept in your heading tag
include your keyword once and maybe twice if it’s not awkward above the fold
in your content and then write supporting copy that includes your
related concepts and terms to give Google an indication of what the theme
of this page is about remember Google is smart if you’re trying to game the
system chances are you’re just putting yourself behind take time to build
content that is natural easy to read and a value add for users and you’ll see
Google reward that effort over time you

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