[Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a three-part series by Joshua Lyons about online marketing. Read his previous article, “Online Marketing Orientation for Entrepreneurs: Part 1.”]
Social media is one of the most frequently implemented tactics for entrepreneurs. Social media can be done with a marketing budget of $0. Although, nothing is free, right? A deliberate social media marketing strategy can be very effective, but it does take time and dedication. Whether the entrepreneur wishes to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or a different social media platform, it will be important to first answer a few questions:
“Which social media platforms are being used by my target audience?”
It’s not a strategic marketing practice to invest hours in LinkedIn marketing if your audience doesn’t use LinkedIn. First, figure out where your audience is, then use those platforms. It’s not necessary to be on every social media platform.
“What content will my target audience engage with?”
A common mistake new marketers make is to create a social media account and publish whatever they can find in order to appear active on the social media platform. It’s good to be active on social media, but it’s equally important to post content your audience will engage with. If you can’t post something interesting, then don’t post anything at all. Doing so will cause your followers to stop following you. Check and see what other businesses in your industry are posting. See what their audience engages with. Then, craft your own social media marketing strategy accordingly.
“Will I have the time to manage my social media on a regular basis?”
Many new businesses set up some social media accounts, manage them for a few weeks, then get frustrated and stop. After some time passes, a potential customer or client goes to the social media account and sees the company is not good about maintaining their social media. If you have time to use social media for online marketing, that’s great! Do it. If there isn’t enough time, don’t stop completely. Maintain it, at least somewhat, so you don’t appear to be closed or unconnected with your social audience.
Email marketing has an incredible average ROI of 3,700 percent! There is no other marketing tactic that comes anywhere near that type of ROI. It’s a no-brainer that most online marketing professionals and entrepreneurs should leverage the power of email marketing.
There will be many aspects to consider when creating email campaigns. For example, how often should you send emails? Will you set up auto emails? Can you use A/B testing? These various aspects will impact the effectiveness of the emails that are sent.
Although email is a fantastic way to connect with your audience, it can be difficult to get started. In order to be effective at email marketing, it’s necessary to have people who are subscribed to receive your emails. Without subscribers, your emails won’t be very valuable.
How does an entrepreneur convince people to subscribe to their email list? There are several ways to do this. One way is to create amazing blog content on your website. Then, encourage people to subscribe to your email for updates about new blog posts.
Blogging is another type of online marketing that can be done with a marketing budget of $0. All that’s needed is subject matter expertise, time to write the content and a platform on which to publish the blog posts. There are free platforms for bloggers who do not have their own website. Some platforms include WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr.
Blogging can accomplish several things for marketing. Here are some examples:
SEO can make your website rank at the top of Google, but it typically takes about three to six months to see results, depending on your industry and level of competition. Pay per click (PPC) or cost per click (CPC) advertising, on the other hand, can get your website to instantly appear on the first page of Google.
PPC ads are paid ads. If you do a Google search on “How to do my taxes,” you will likely see an ad for H&R Block or some other tax preparation company. They show up at the very top, because they are paying Google for this placement. However, they don’t pay to be placed in that location. They only pay when someone actually clicks that ad.
Pay per click advertising is usually much more expensive than SEO, but it can give you instant exposure on Google. For entrepreneurs with a large marketing budget, it might make sense to spend some money on this type of marketing. It’s great for when you are waiting for your SEO efforts to organically put your website on Google’s first page.
The marketing tactics we have presented are all effective, key elements to many marketing plans. Now, it’s time for you, the entrepreneur, to decide what you think will work best with you, your audience and your budget. Take a look at these tactics and decide what you will use. You can even do a little more research to see if there are other tactics we didn’t mention.
Also think about traditional marketing. Do you need a billboard, radio spot or postcard mailers? Take some time to go through everything you know about your situation, then come up with a marketing plan. It’s best to put this down on paper, so you can visualize what you wish to do and create a marketing timeline with deadlines for each tactic.
[Editor’s Note: This concludes Online Marketing Orientation for Entrepreneurs: Part 2. The next post in this series will provide information on executing, monitoring and adjusting your online marketing.]
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Joshua Lyons, is the owner of Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC and the co-founder of CRE Marketing Group. He began his marketing career upon graduation from the University of West Florida in 2009, with an education in public relations and marketing. After many years of marketing, in commercial real estate, hospitality and other industries, Joshua began…
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