How to Develop a Strong Online Marketing Plan for New Entrepreneurs
Are you a new entrepreneur trying to understand what it means to build a brand online?
Or perhaps you have an established business and want to learn how to effectively promote your brand using digital marketing strategies.
With so many pieces to the online marketing puzzle, attempting to understand it all can prove to be an overwhelming feat. Yet, in a digital age where your audience is using the Internet to shop, search for information and make connections, having a solid presence online is a must for any businesses to prosper in 2017.
You see, your goal in digital marketing is to get in front of your ideal customer and encourage them to take action with your content. That could mean opting into your leads list, becoming a new social follower, signing up for your next event, commenting on your status, or buying your product.
The key is bringing more exposure to your business (creating brand awareness) and getting your audience to take your desired action.
So the question is, where do you begin in your online marketing to increase brand awareness? As a new entrepreneur or business owner seeking to market their brand, which strategies do you focus on to experience growth and lay a sound foundation for your business to thrive?
Here is a 6-step blueprint to developing a strong online marketing plan for your business.
#1 Be Clear on Your Target Audience
There’s a saying that goes: if you try to market to everyone, you’ll reach no one.
The first step in developing your online marketing plan is being crystal clear on your target audience and the customers you serve. It’s an important step because your entire content strategy revolves around speaking to this exact audience.
As you become clearer in identifying who your target audience is, your digital marketing strategy will become increasingly effective as you’ll begin to attract the very people you seek to reach.
How do you gain clarity on your target audience?
The best way is by developing buyer personas; or painting a picture of your ideal customer and their pains, challenges, interests, and desires.
When you’ve finished this process, you would have outlined the following about your customer:
- Job description and responsibilities
- Their role in the buying process
- Problems and concerns they’re experiencing
- Pain Points
- Their Typical Day
- Most impressing questions
- Keywords and phrases this persona is likely to use when searching online
- Their content preferences (i.e. the social media channels they prefer, what content types engages them the most, etc.)
- Goals and objectives
Therefore, take the time to know and understand who you’re marketing to, then use the remaining steps to create content that appeals to this audience.
Doing this step will save you tons of frustration and wasted time because you have a specific target you’re reaching for.
#2 Begin Building Your List
Did you know that leads are the lifeline of your business?
I see so many entrepreneurs and small business owners’ focus most of their efforts on social media but do not give any attention to growing their email list.
Yet studies reveal that email works 40 times better at getting new customers than Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. Growing your leads list should be a top priority if you want to build a steady stream of income online.
The good news is, it’s never too late (or early) to start building a list of subscribers who are interested in your brand message and what you have to offer to your industry.
There are several ways to begin expanding your lead count. Keep in mind that you’ll need an enticing lead offer that compels people to opt-in your list.
Your offer must resonate with their interest and/or give incredible value for it to be worthwhile.
Here are a few suggestions to consider when creating your lead offer:
- Coupon or special discount
- Free product or service giveaway
- Video series
- Downloadable PDF
- Free live-event workshop
You can also build a prelaunch list where subscribers will be the first to know about your new product prior to its release.
Tools You Need to Capture Leads
So how do you capture leads? These are the tools needed in order to build a list of leads for your business:
#1 Landing Page
These are boxes embedded on your website and are provided by your email marketing software system (more on this next). However, there are tools you can leverage that will amplify your website to capturing leads around every corner. They include SumoMe and OptinMonster.
#3 Email Marketing Software
You’ve probably heard of apps like MailChimp, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, and GetResponse. Choosing an email marketing software is a must in order to foster relationships with your leads. This tool will house your leads and allow you to broadcast messages to keep them connected to your brand.
Honing your lead generation and email strategy will help generate buzz around your name, build brand loyalty, and create raving fans of your brand.
#3 Grow Your Presence through Blogging
Blogging is a chief way to position your brand as an expert and authority in your respective industry.
By regularly publishing amazing blog articles, you’ll…
- Attract potential customers to your pages,
- Rank in the search engines for greater exposure,
- And have content to nurture your leads and social media followers with to continue delivering value to your audience.
Hubspot shares that companies who blog achieve more traffic and leads than businesses who don’t blog. In fact, a whopping 71% of business bloggers say their blog increased visibility in their industries.
Therefore, developing a blogging schedule will make a huge impact on expanding your reach and influence.
Where do you begin with your blogging strategy?
Keep it simple. What are the top 10 common issues that your target audience experiences? Think about questions you’re asked all the time that you find yourself answering time and time again…
These are excellent blogging ideas to start with your strategy. Right off the bat, you have 10 blog topics that interest your audience and will be easy for you to write.
Next, use an editorial calendar to help you plan, organize and schedule your blog content. Decide on how often you will blog weekly and stick to that plan.
With consistency, you’ll experience a steady increase in traffic flow and brand awareness.
#4 Drive Traffic to Your Web Pages
A website is ineffective if there are no visitors checking out its pages.
Finding creative ways to drive quality traffic to your website will play a big role in your digital marketing success. To capture leads, create sales, and boost your following, it’s vital to get fresh and repeated eyeballs onto your content.
In addition to blogging, here are several ways to drive traffic to your web pages.
- Email list — Email subscribers are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources. Share your “hot off the press” blog article with your list and encourage them to pass it on
- Social media promotion — Social networks are sending tons of new visitors to blog content! Use your social platforms to share your blog articles to educate and inform your audience while driving ongoing traffic to your site. It’s okay to promote your blog more than once
- SEO — Search engines is the #1 source for content traffic generation! Optimize your blog and website content for SEO to improve its ranking on Google and Bing
- Quora — Post a question on quora, answer it, then share your blog or website link at the end for users to get more in-depth information on the topic
- Medium — Syndicate your blog post (copy and paste) here for more exposure
- Optimize your social media profiles — Be sure that your social profiles are completely filled with your website information
- Live-streaming video — Apps like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Instagram Stories are capturing crazy engagement on social media. Use them to promote your blog post and connect with your followers in real-time
- YouTube — As the 2nd largest search engine, building up your YouTube channel is a smart move in your digital marketing. Share content with your audience on video and give the call-to-action directing people to your link located in the description box
#5 Connect with Potential Customers on Social
We can agree that improving your social media presence is a must in 2017!
With one-third of millenials preferring to communicate with brands on social media than other sources, maintaining an active business page on the major networks will provide genuine channels for you to connect and engage with potential customers. It also increases brand awareness making this a powerful source to get your name known.
Focus on the networks where your audience is most prevalent. If your brand caters to women, for example, you want to be on Pinterest. Not only are the majority of users women, they also spend twice as much than users on Facebook.
If you market to other businesses, LinkedIn is definitely your go-to source for connecting with other professionals.
The following shares some best practices when building your brand on social media:
- Ramp up on images. Videos, infographics, memes, GIFs, and high-quality photos capture more engagement than posts without.
- Use a social media management tool to schedule your posts in advance. You’ll increase productivity while maintaining an active presence on your social pages
- Uploading organic videos (directly) to Facebook increases its reach to your followers
- Utilize Messenger in reaching out to customers and prospects. Personalize your message to boost responsiveness
- Use this guide as a reference for the best practices for posting on each network
- Promote your landing pages to generate leads on social media.
The ultimate goal is to give value to further position your brand as a leader. Offer tips, advice, your blog posts and authoritative sources in your niche.
#6 Tap into Paid Advertising
Putting $$ behind your marketing will accelerate your goals in traffic and lead generation faster than organic strategies. You want to have a good mixture of paid and free tactics to get the best of both worlds and achieve your marketing objectives.
If you’re new to paid advertising, I would recommend starting with Facebook Ads since they’re easy to customize your audiences and cost-efficient.
Here are a few successful ways to optimize your Facebook Ads:
- Consider expanding the age range; test a wider range by choosing an age range of either 10 years or 30–40 years. This can help cut cost and Facebook still tends to show your ad mainly to your target audience
- Leverage the “Must also Match” feature to boost engagement and reduce costs by up to 25% The feature allows you to go beyond choosing just a group of interests in your ad settings
- Facebook Retargeting is a must! Having your ad content follow visitors everywhere they go significantly boosts conversions and keeps your brand “top of mind” after people leave your ad
- Serve ads to people who have visited your website but haven’t purchased yet
- Create a lookalike audience of people who have already converted on your ads
This blueprint is your clear guide to developing a strong online marketing plan for your business. As a result, you will give you a killer jumpstart in moving your business forward in the digital sphere.
Plan to include each tactic into your strategy to generate exposure and begin building your following. In due time, you’ll establish a solid foundation that will position you for long-term growth.
What strategies from the ones listed do you plan to hone in your online marketing? Share your thoughts below…I would love to hear from you!
Originally published on Busy Mom Coach blog