Often times, when I am browsing the internet or shopping for something online, I realize that a lot of these online businesses, especially the small, possibly mom & pop web stores, don.t have web analytics set up for their website. It doesn.t matter how big or small your website or web store is, web analytics are important! If you are developing and executing marketing campaigns, it is even more important!! Web analytics provides you with very valuable information. It gives you a plethora of information on your customers, your prospects, and more importantly, the results of a particular marketing effort. If you do not have analytics, it.s difficult to know what is working and what isn.t.
One of my colleagues passed over a very interesting article on Search this morning. It basically said that businesses are beginning to become more and more aware of the importance and power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) these days. Because of that, they have been thinking of creative ways to step up their marketing and brand presence in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It gave two examples of how marketers were willing to reinvent their brand to take an advantage in having high visibility in the engines. The first example was the Sci-Fi channel. They had started to announce that they were eventually going to be evolving into the name Syfy. They realized the opportunity available to them in dominating search results with such a name. The second example is about a small Normandy town called Eu. The town feels like many tourists are missing out on visiting this great town which has reportedly had visits from historical figures like William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, and Joan of Arc. They feel that they are getting a lack of toursists because prospective visitors cannot locate them in the SERPs due to the overpowering presence of EU (the European Union). The town plans to make changes to it.s town name to be more unique so that they can once again be found and bring back the visitors they so desire.
I am certain that many online businesses right now are thirsty for MORE.more visitors and more purchases, which translates into more money. Obviously, having more purchases will result in additional revenue, but how can anyone purchase your products if they have no idea what you sell, or worse, have never even heard of you before? The key is to draw in visitors, create Brand awareness, and show prospects what your business is all about.
How do you get more visitors?
The answer is simple, content. Not just any content, but relevant, useful content. No matter what industry you are in, content is still king. Having targeted, focused content is important for two reasons. The first reason is SEO, search engine spiders need to find your site. If your website is search engine friendly, then what your website needs is content. If your website is not search engine friendly, stay tuned for a future post on simple tips to help improve your site architecture. Content helps the spiders understand what your site is about and how it may be relevant to specific terms or phrases for its end users. The second reason is to offer a good experience for the prospect, to show your expertise in your industry, and to offer useful information for your prospects. If a prospect lands on your website and sees a whole library full of useful information, they will certainly believe that you know what you are talking about. After all, it is YOUR business and YOUR products, so share your expertise. By offering useful information, your prospects are more likely to remember who you are and if what you offer is relevant, they will probably take a deeper look into who you are and what you sell.
Throughout the year, there are many different conferences, workshops, and seminars across the US focused on online marketing. These events are an excellent opportunity for marketers and anyone running a web business to network and learn more about the latest trends and strategies in the web space. Attending one of these events can be extremely beneficial for your business. Often times, the cost to attend a conference is quite pricey, especially for small businesses. However, the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) Conference put on by ClickZ should be quite affordable.
OMS will focus on Social Media, SEO, PPC, Website Usability, Web Analytics, Email Marketing, Content Management, Site Search, Budgeting/Planning, eCommerce, Integrated Marketing, and Behavioral Targeting. It is for anyone looking to hone their web marketing skills.
A few of my friends are wedding photographers and if there is anything I learned from them, it.s that they love having their website developed in flash because it gives it a nice look and feel for their clients and prospective clients. Their sites are simple, clean, and attractive. The problem is that they want to show up in the search engine and rank highly. The very first thing I tell them is that they need to get rid of the flash site! But they never want to do that because it loses its aesthetics when switching to an HTML site. The point here is not that you cannot have any flash on your website, it is that the entire website should not be flash. Having a slideshow with photographs in flash on the HTML website should be fine. However, I do believe that a clean, beautiful website can be created through HTML which would be beneficial for both the photographer, for the clients, and for the search engines.
Web marketing is a constantly changing forum. Businesses and business owners alike should be up-to-date, focused, and involved in the latest marketing strategies. They should be evaluating the different arenas of web marketing available and develop a plan of attack on how that particular form of marketing can be beneficial to them. It doesn.t matter if it.s email marketing, website marketing, SEO, SEM, media buying, affiliates, or social media. Whatever is out there should be studied and evaluated. Ask the question of how does this work with my business? How about my audience? What does this form of marketing entail? Has it been successful for my competitors? If so, how? I read an article from Forbes today about social networking through Facebook and Twitter for upper management. Today.s post is going to be about how Facebook and Twitter can work for your business if executed correctly.
I went to IHOP the other week with a few friends for their free pancakes in celebration of National Pancake Day to see what all the hype was about. Similar to Denny.s free grand slam breakfast, IHOP.s promotion should be deemed successful, if not even more successful than Denny.s promotion. Free offers like this cause people who don.t normally go to those stores or purchase those products to do so. The difference between IHOP and Denny.s is that Denny.s gave away a lot more food and it cost them more. IHOP offered only 3 small pancakes. If people went to get the pancakes for a meal, then I.m sure 3 small pancakes would fill few people up. This, in turn, causes people to order additional food to fill themselves up and of course, drinks to quench their thirst. The cost of making a pancake is extremely cheap compared to the other food. So while they may lose some money from those pancakes, they are now making a lot more money from the influx of people coming to eat and buy other things (the people who otherwise would not have been out getting a meal).
People are spending less and less these days, but that doesn.t mean they aren.t spending. Small businesses and big businesses both need to be aware of this and figure out 1) how do we make people spend money and 2) how do we make people spend their money on our products and our services?
Think about what makes your business unique and better than the competition. Why should people buy from you? What are people looking for? How can you present your products and services in a way that is desirable to people?
While people are still buying, they are shopping around a lot more to see which business offers the lowest price and best products or services. They also want their shopping experience to be smooth and quick. Efficiency is important.
Customer behavior is very important analytical data that can be used to help boost business. Whether your business is on the web or you have a store, it is very important to pay attention to your customers. I have a feeling that many people have web analytics installed on their website but never really dig in deep to study information. While it can be time consuming, you may just find something to help your business. Today.s specific topic in analytics is reviewing the times (hours) which your customers visit your site or store and also what time they usually purchase items.
Knowing when your customers visit your store or site and when they purchase allows you to do a few things. If you know when your customers primarily visit your store or site, you can offer specials or sales during certain hours. Also, if you have certain hours or days where sales are slow, you can offer something special during those hours or days to boost sales. For example, if you notice, many restaurants have specials early in the week, like Taco Tuesdays. This is because people tend to eat out later in the week around Thursday through Saturday. Another example is stores or websites offering a great deal until noon.
Email marketing is such a simple and easy way for all businesses to promote their products or services. After seeing Mary Bowling.s article on .Why Local Businesses Need Email Marketing,. I would like to summarize her points for our audience here.
You would send your email promotions out to people who are interested or more inclined to purchase your products or services. This is a targeted group, not everyone so the return is going to be much higher.
Emailing your customers cost virtually nothing! All you need is an email account and there are many free email providers out there if you don.t have one with your company already. If you would like to get fancy and use pre-made templates or customize your emails, you can opt for a simple email provider.