Most online businesses struggle with a lot when it comes to online marketing, mainly because of the sheer volume of people, both in form of competition and customers present on the internet. For instance, more than 1.17 billion unique people search google every month. And that is just 50% of the total searches that happen online. It is tedious and challenging task to stand out in this scenario, specially for smaller businesses.
Unfortunately, most small businesses fail to make it big online due to the various marketing challenges that come with creating an online presence and generating revenue through internet generated leads and sales. With the onset of new year, all of us are going to start something new. For those who plan to start a new business, here are 7 challenges that you might face in 2017 while promoting your business online:
1. Getting quantifiable results-
Measuring ROI for any marketing campaign is difficult. As John Wanamaker said back in the 1800s, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
For instance, if a customer comes across your product on the social feed, say facebook on day one, they visit your website but don’t make any purchase. On day ten, the same person does a Google search for the same product and visits a number of websites, including yours, but still doesn’t make a purchase. Than finally on day 15, the customer has made the decision to purchase, visits your website directly and makes the purchase. In this case, a sale is made, but it cannot be attributed directly to your social media strategy or your SEO strategy. This is the trouble with measuring ROI for your online marketing campaign.
A feasible way to tackle this problem is to identify and monitor relevant Key Performance Indicators(KPIs), such as click through rates, website traffic, conversions, lead generations and many others, depending upon your product and marketing strategy. Follow the below mentioned points to measure your ROI-
- Set relevant goals, in terms of traffic or likes or click through rates, and monitor them.
- Gather data, from your sales and marketing managers about where the various outbound and inbound leads are originating
- Report your performance on the basis of KPIs and tweak or modify your campaign accordingly.
2. Building A Social Presence
Most new businesses are confused about their social media strategy and its effectiveness. There are number of social media platforms out there like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest etc. but that doesn’t mean you need to market your business on all of them. It is best to identify where your target audience visits and which platforms are best suited for your brand. Make sure you are not making these common mistakes in your social media strategy.
Things to keep in mind while devising a social media strategy:
- Create content that resonates with your audience.
- Refrain from plastering your audience’s newsfeeds with direct advertising.
- Generate relevant content that is consistent and useful.
- Interact with your audiences on a regular basis.
- Direct people to your website from the social media platforms, create a CTA(call to action).
- Use recent events in your campaigns.
Here is a case study of Emerson Hairdressers, a small hair salon based in Washington. They employed a simple strategy which revolved around their blog and website, which housed amazing content. Their social accounts on facebook and twitter drove traffic to the blog and the website.
They replied to customers with urgency and customised messages instead of templates, offered discounts on social media and received regular feedback. Bottom line, they followed the ideal social media strategy guidelines to the tee. As a result, their twitter following jumped 18,000 and 75% of their business came from the internet. Over two years, this strategy pushed their revenue up by a whopping 400%. The best part is, they achieved all this with virtually no investment on the marketing strategy.
3. Multi Device Usage
With a host of devices at your potential client’s disposal, your website should be optimized for all of them, specially Smartphones. For instance, in 2015, 30% of all ecommerce transactions were on smartphones. While the players that did not have an mobile-optimized website on had 22% of transactions over phones.
Since there has been more traffic on the internet through mobiles for over a year now, google recently updated its algorithms to rate mobile-optimized websites higher.
A great example of a mobile friendly website is TypeForm. TypeForm is a Barcelona-based SaaS company that specialises in form building. Their desktop website is full of videos, graphics and animations, but these features in the mobile website affect the page load time. To tackle this problem, they created a clutter free and simple mobile webpage that is easy to navigate and understand. Here is what it looks like:
4. Creating a webpage that engages visitors
A number of websites on the internet are changing to dynamic formats from static. A static website is just that, a website. While it is cheaper to develop and host a static website, dynamic websites are the future. A dynamic website is not just a website, it is a machine. That is where the challenge lies. A dynamic website is interactive, regularly updated with fresh content and makes the users keep coming back for more.
A few advantage of a dynamic website are:
- More functionality.
- Easier to update
- Fresh content brings people back to the website.
- Fresh content helps with better SEO and rankings.
A great example of a dynamic website is Adhemas.com. The website belongs to Adhemas Batista, a Brazilian designer who works as a freelancer. The website is regularly updated with his latest designs and interacts with the movement of your cursor. The landing page features a small personalized message from Adhemas himself and his full portfolio. Every click on one of his designs leads you to the story behind that design and an exclusive interview in which Batista talks about the process and thinking behind the design.
Even you can create a dynamic website that is consistent with your business and leaves the visitors in awe.
5. Consistently Creating valuable content
As stated earlier, it is imperative for your online marketing strategy to create relevant and useful content that does not directly advertises your business or product. Doing so can be a challenging job because good content takes time.
This new form of marketing is called content marketing. If you don’t already know what it is, content marketing refers to creating consistent, relevant and useful content. This helps to increase your brand recall value and insert the brand into the subconscious of your audiences. When the purchase decision window approaches, this strategy will ensure that your brand or product is at the top of the list.
HubSpot has harnessed this strategy in the most effective way. Their blog has over 4.5 million visitors every month. Their social following has crossed 2.3 million.(Source: Hubspot.com) HubSpot is a Massachusetts based company that provides software solutions for inbound marketing, CRM and sales.
Their blog is regularly updated with great content related to digital marketing problems and solutions. The information provided is useful and the blog is updated quite regularly. At the end of every blog, the readers are presented with an option to subscribe to the blog through email.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating content for your business:
- Be consistent. If new content is not made available regularly, the users will stop visiting your website.
- Create valuable, useful content. Don’t write just to complete the upload quota.
- Be interactive. Ask for feedbacks, reply to queries on the blog itself. This will also help your search engine rankings.
- Remember, content is not just words, use visuals like videos, graphics, infographics, GIFs, anything that is relevant and useful.
6. Generating leads and creating conversions
According to the 2016 State of the inbound report, 65% of business find effective lead generation the biggest challenge in their online marketing strategy. This problem is sure to persist in the next year as well. Marketers agree that finding audience for their content and in turn, products is the most difficult task. With numerous platforms and devices popping up every other day, it is tough to decide where to concentrate. The target audience is scattered all over the place!
To tackle this problem a little self evaluation is needed. Making sure if your content is consistent with what is trending and what your customers want to see is the trick to conversions. For instance, due to the constantly decreasing attention span, people are more susceptible to visual content. Videos, infographics, pictures are what grab the most attention these days.
More and more companies are moving towards creating visual content for their marketing owing to great success shown by visuals. Like Jellyfish, a freight management company closed a $800,000 deal in 7 days with help of an explainer video! The video was used in an email marketing campaign and before a follow up could be done, they were contacted by their soon to be client to literally hand them their business.
Explainer videos are not the only way you can use videos in your online marketing campaign. Here are a few other ways you can use the power of visuals to fuel your marketing with great content!
7. Extracting Value from SEO
Unexpectedly changing algorithms and the lack of keywords has made many marketer doubt the effectiveness of SEO. Long story short, the input that goes into SEO has started outweighing the output it provides. This poses a big challenge for those who are largely dependent on Google rankings for revenue. Sure you can hire a cheap SEO that keeps looking for loopholes in the algorithms and uses cheap tricks to get you a temporary first page rank. But keep in mind, the loopholes will eventually be closed and you will be back to square one or worse.
Here are a few tips you can still effectively optimize your business:
- Do not depend on search results as a measure of success. The new algorithms are affected by geographical locations. So the top results for the same search can be different for two people sitting 20 miles apart.
- Do not create numerous pages of useless content. Even if you are able to drive traffic through this, nobody will stay on your website due to lack of useful content.
- Consider using the multi channel funnel report for analytics.
Belden brick company, a brick and mortar company based out of Ohio sells its products mainly through distributors. They had a well planned and elaborate website, that showcased all their products. They faced the same challenge as everyone else, to increase website traffic.
To solve this problem, they hired an experienced SEO firm, TKG SEO, to enhance the website to bring about consistency, which would increase the number of leads generated. TKG created a new header and footer for the company, and created a fresh lead generation campaign for the website. They kept updating the contents with any new developments that Belden Brick company made to their website.
As a result, the website traffic was increased by 85% in just under an year. The lesson here is, just cramming keywords and using loopholes in algorithms is not going to help your SEO. Content is the only thing that works.
If you are going to start marketing your business online, these challenges are waiting for you to conquer them, and the only way to do that is be creative and original. Providing your audiences with useful content cannot be stressed upon enough. If you find this information useful, do let us know. If you have any more thoughts to add, that would be most appreciated.