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Internet Marketing Strategies – Where Do I Start?

Finding Your Path Through the Internet Marketing Jungle

Trying to decide how to strategically market your product or service (or yourself) on the internet can be overwhelming. There are a myriad of marketing possibilities to choose from, and more great strategies are being offered almost daily. How can an internet marketer decide on the best strategic marketing plan that works for their business?

There seems to be as many answers for which strategies to use in what situation than there are internet marketing strategies themselves! There are definitely too many strategies for any one marketer to utilize them all. If you have a very large team with access to multiple internet marketing specialists, your marketing strategies can incorporate most available methods. However, most of us do not have access to that kind of resource.

How Do You Choose Your Internet Marketing Strategies?

There are too many internet marketing options to discuss them all in a short article, but there are three general principles that can make a huge difference to your marketing efforts. Following these principles will not just improve the success of your current internet marketing plan, but can help you figure out where to start focusing your efforts in the first place.

Three Principles for Making Appropriate Strategic Marketing Choices

1) Be Capable in your Strategic Marketing

Not all marketers are created equal. We all have a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately we tend to focus more on how to fix our weaknesses rather than how to harness our strengths. It is true we should all strive to improve ourselves, but sometimes the time and effort placed on learning the internet marketing strategies we are struggling with would be better placed finding and perfecting strategies that we already have an aptitude for.

When a strategy works well for the majority of marketers it does not necessarily mean it will work well for you. If a particular strategy does not come easily to you, it will take more time and will likely not generate the top quality you need to stand out against your competitors. If you are not adept at something, use a different strategy that you can implement effectively with the unique capabilities you do have, or make the investment to outsource if you have the means to do so.

This does not mean we should not learn new strategies! If you are not constantly learning, you will also not succeed. Make sure you are not perpetually spending more time learning something that is difficult for you than you are taking to actually market your product or service. Some great internet marketing strategies are better left for others who have a better aptitude for them. Their expertise will allow them to do it better than you anyway.

2) Care About your Strategic Marketing

Let’s face it; everything we do in marketing is not fun. It is work, and most definitions of work do not include the word ‘fun’. However…take a second and think about sitting in front of your computer to work on your latest marketing project. If you would rather be sitting in the dentist’s chair getting a couple of teeth pulled, you are spending your time with the wrong strategies. Work can actually be enjoyable. At the very least, you should be able to find a few good strategies that beat getting teeth pulled. There are many strategic marketing choices on the internet. Pick the ones you enjoy and care about.

“But my current marketing strategies are supposed to be the best for my product!” “My upline says this strategy has been working for everyone on the team!” If you hate what you are doing, it will show in your work, just as your passion will shine through when you are doing something you love. It will be difficult to put in extra hours when necessary, you will be more apt to give up prematurely, and you will be unable to do exceptional stand-out work if you hate every minute of it.

Start by learning the marketing strategies you are most interested in, see which ones you like, and master those first. Eventually learn them all so you can find which methodologies you most enjoy and are best at. These will be the marketing strategies that perform the best for you and are more sustainable in the long run.

3) Be Consistent with your Strategic Marketing

For many marketers, the strategy seems to be: ‘Chase the latest and greatest marketing options as soon as they appear.’ They work on something, get mediocre results, then three weeks later when a great new idea comes along, abandon their current efforts and ‘try’ something else. This is not a recipe for sustainable success.

Sometimes the latest hot new marketing trend can work wonders and inject a lot of cash into your business. New ideas should be taken advantage of when appropriate. However, if it’s new it is unproven and may fail. Has it been tested in your niche market? Will it still be working a week from now? If you change your marketing plan more often than you change your socks, you will never get really good at anything. You will be spending as much time learning new things as you do actually marketing your product or service.

Consistency is the key. If your strategic marketing plan is based on solid and proven strategies and you do not give up and start something new every couple weeks, you will become an expert in those strategies. They will get easier, less time consuming, and start running like clockwork to bring you a consistent stream of clients. It is easier and less risky to learn and test new methods when you have a proven and profitable system already in place to fall back on.

Points for Choosing the Right Internet Marketing Strategy

– Develop a good strategic base of internet marketing methods that you enjoy and are capable of implementing effectively.

– Be consistent with these marketing strategies so you become an expert and are profiting from them with minimal effort.

– Try almost everything, including the ‘hot’ new methods that look like they have potential, but don’t abandon the tried and true methods that have already been proven to work.

– If you find new marketing methods that you enjoy and can utilize effectively, add them to your long tern internet marketing strategy and use them consistently until you master them.

Follow these steps, be patient and consistent, and you will succeed in finding your own strategic path through the internet marketing jungle. Happy Marketing!

Get More Reach With Social Media Marketing Strategies That Work for You

Your business is probably already on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and all of the other platforms you need to be in order to reach out to your customers. But even so, it doesn’t feel like you’re gaining the proper traction or posting the proper media to inspire the engagement that you know you need to get. In short, your social media marketing strategies aren’t fine tuned and some might even say, non-existent.

Finding the Strategies for Your Niche

One of the main problems with many company’s marketing strategies is that they are applying the same methods as a universal solutions program for their social media team. This means that essentially, they are taking social media marketing strategies that they’ve heard about and using them “as is” instead of tailoring them to their specific niche or industry.

For example, social media marketing strategies for restaurants are going to be very different than social media marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Of course, when we put it like that, it seems very obvious-unfortunately, the constant failings of social media lets us know that it’s not. The problem arises because not only are the outcomes and goals of each industry very different, the means to the end have to be as well.

Why Using This Strategy for Your Industry is Vital

For instance, in our example above, a restaurant’s marketing strategies should be to entice viewers to come in and eat. This means that taking pictures of different dishes and posting them up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a good ploy. That creates salivation for the food and people are likely to Like, Share, Re-Tweet, etc. the picture. That keeps the restaurant fresh in the customer’s mind and next time they are looking for a place to eat, they’ll remember how good the food looked and make reservations.

On the other hand, a Fortune 500 company isn’t going to get much interaction off of photo media. Sure, Bob in accounting might be interesting to talk to, but a picture of him analyzing graphs on his laptop in the break room isn’t likely to inspire the right kind of interaction. That’s because the goals of a Fortune 500 company on social media are likely to bring in more clients, keep current clients engaged and recruit top talent for the firm. The best way to do this would be to employ social media marketing strategies that establish the company as an industry leader. For example, sharing blog posts and articles that contain relevant and useful information is a great way to market yourself as on the forefront of the industry.

How to Tailor Your Social Media Marketing Strategies

Of course, with so many industries and niches out there, it would nearly impossible to go through each one, showing you how to tailor your marketing strategies for your exact niche. Instead, it would be more time-efficient to go through how different goals affect your marketing strategies. Simply think about what you’re trying to achieve and then match it up with some of the following suggestions. Keep in mind that interaction is the ultimate short term goal for social media, so whatever gets you to that point-no matter how strange or unconventional it may be-will be best for your company.

  • Expand your Customer Base. If you’re looking to expand your customer base through this marketing strategy, you’re going to want to post content that is highly sharable and branded. This means that the more viral potential your posts have and the easier it is for those posts to be traced back to you, the better it is for business. A great way to do this is to post links to your blog on your website, provided of course the blogs are high-value in terms of information and content. This allows people to share the link to your website, meaning the more viral it gets, the more leads will be coming into your site. Be sure there is a strong CTA (call to action) at the end of the blog leading to your contact or sales pages. If your social media marketing strategies in the past have shown to be effective when media images and video are shared, make sure the pictures are watermarked with your brand.
  • Strengthening Your Current Client List. Another great benefit of this medium is that you can strengthen your current clients’ loyalty. We all know that it cost more to bring in a new client than to retain a current one, so this is a big chunk of social media marketing strategies right here. The key is that you want to constantly provide value to your clients. This means that if you’re in an industry where new information is constantly coming out, you should be the ones providing your fans with that info first. Ask yourself this: what am I giving my followers in terms of value? If you can’t list at least five things, you need to start doing a better job right away. Alert your fans to events that pertain to their interests, share articles, posts, recipes, etc. Give opinions and loose advice but stay away from risk-the bottom line here is that you want your customers to remember why they need you in their lives every single day.

Using Your Social Media Marketing Strategies Wisely

When it’s all said and done, when it comes to social media marketing strategies, whatever works for you is the best rules to follow. Social media is still a fairly young marketing game (compared to television, radio, print, etc.), so nothing is written in stone. Even the so-called “experts” in the field are still fine-tuning their marketing strategies, so you can expect things to change on an almost consistent basis over the next decade or so.

Until that time comes and it become a science, the best you can do is keep your ear to the ground and stay afloat with all of the latest information, techniques and trends.

Crafting a Successful B2B Marketing Strategy

For many B2B marketers, the traditional marketing funnel that motivates prospects to self-identify and then move to a sales funnel, is ingrained in our minds. However, in the Age of the Customer, Forrester Research’s phrase for a customer-driven marketing landscape, the funnel has evolved to reflect a new customer expectation requiring sales and marketing to work in tandem.

With this in mind, B2B marketers must evaluate how their current B2B marketing strategy is aligned with the psychology of their buyer journey. In other words, B2B marketers must know how to craft a marketing strategy based on the predominance of the customer.

So, we have outlined a series of steps to follow when crafting a customer-centric B2B marketing strategy. Ask yourself and your team, “have we checked the following boxes when crafting our B2B marketing strategy?”

IDENTIFY TARGET PERSONAS IN YOUR B2B MARKETING STRATEGY

Going through the exercise to develop personas based on market and customer research is fundamental to understanding not only who is your audience but how to engage them in the buyer journey. Incorporating marketing personas makes websites two to five times more effective and easier to use by targeted users. However, only 44% of B2B marketers use buyer personas. So, ensure your B2B marketing strategy includes persona-based experiences that moves buyers forward in their journey with your brand.

MAP A PERSONA-BASED CUSTOMER JOURNEY TO DRIVE YOUR B2B MARKETING STRATEGY

Building out your influencer and decision personas to understand your target audience is only part of the process of laying a customer-centric foundation for your strategy. Next is to map the touch points of your buyer journey through all buyer stages. In order to close the loop from awareness to revenue it’s critical to know the touch points along the journey that are motivators and detractors in order to influence all parts of the customer experience. When developing your B2B marketing strategy answer the following, “How do I craft a strategy with the framework that aligns with your customer’s journey to gain clarity and define priority?”

DEFINE AND MEASURE B2B MARKETING STRATEGY GOALS & METRICS

Perhaps a no-brainer for a data-driven B2B marketer is clearly-defined metrics for success. With a heightened emphasis on personalization and customer experience (CX), B2B marketing goals and metrics must be established to measure the success of the marketing efforts supporting a customer’s progression through the buyer journey. Your B2B marketing strategy must outline how it will create direct contribution to revenue with a return and fuel high growth.

A recent case study example from one of our technology platform and services clients is Viewpointe, a leading private cloud managed services provider. Viewpointe was challenged with continuing to engage customers over the course of a 6+ month sales cycle. After clearly defining their B2B marketing goals, they aligned their content marketing plan with their persona-based customer journey. As a result, Viewpointe stayed engaged with their customers throughout the buyer journey and closed more deals. One way Viewpointe measured customer engagement lift was a 52% increase in persona aligned website content and 164% increase in blog content engagement from organic search referrals.

YOUR B2B MARKETING STRATEGY INCORPORATES ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS WITH SALES

Referring back to our earlier customer funnel illustration, the traditional hand-off from marketing to sales, with no feedback loop when a lead is “flipped over the fence to sales”, causing misalignment between B2B marketing and sales teams. In fact, 25% of B2B marketers have no idea what is their customer conversion rate. In the Age of the Customer, your marketing strategy should outline how to rip out the proverbial fence and instead encourage inter-team collaboration. Ensuring this marketing and sales alignment is crucial to creating a consistent customer experience along a buyer’s journey. Being intentional about sharing insights between teams is one way to encourage broad acceptance of a successful B2B marketing strategy execution.

YOUR NEXT STEP

With only 45% of B2B marketers confident that they have decent, if not high, levels of customer centricity, the time to is now to author your new B2B marketing strategy that elevates you above your competition.