You’ve just started a web site and don’t have the money to hire someone to help you with marketing. I get it, and I’ve been there… I hope this mini guide will help you plant your feet firmly and give you the basics of what you need to do to get your online marketing going. However(!) I have to warn you that there is a good likelihood you will not do well (the first time around), possibly be disappointed with the overall results, but you should STILL do it! Why? Because even if you don’t do well you will learn a lot of very cool stuff and be much better off when you re-approach your marketing plan. There is also a small chance that you will do fine!
By doing your own marketing campaign you will also get an idea of how to read data, how to analyze your competitors, evaluate your industry, know what keywords people type to find you, and more. So let’s begin and go over the things you have to dive into, and why.
Most Important Blocks for Your Online Marketing
Start With Strong Content
Anyone can write, but you need content that is well written, compelling and smart, and addresses the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions. Well written content does two very important things for you. First, search engines will scan it and get a solid understanding of what your business does. When writing your content think of Google as a very smart middle schooler who wants to learn about your business. and be sure your basics are communicated so that a smart middle schooler would understand what your business is all about. Second, writing content will force you to research and review your competitors, and there is always something to be gained from looking around! Play the role of your potential customer and visit a search engine site, and type in a phrase your potential customer would type in to find you. Visit the top ranking sites and start reading their content. See something you like? Found a site that you’d be happy working with? Why? Start to make a list of things your competitors do well to address customers’ concerns and start thinking how you can do this even better.
TIP: If you need help researching your keywords and coming up with a greater pool of search terms to incorporate, then try a tool such as SpyFu. SpyFu.com will give you some amazing insights into what terms are related to your main keywords, what sites rank well for them and much more.
If you’d like to learn more about good search engine friendly writing then check out this article written by AHREFS. Just a heads up its rather in-depth.
Sharp Photography Sells
If you are selling something “visual” like a product (t-shirts, jewelry) or a service (landscaping, interior design) then solid photography is a must. I can’t tell you how many times a potential sale is lost because of poorly lit phone photos that are mediocre at best. Type in a keyword or a key-phrase you wish to be found under and go into the Images section. Start to notice what attracts your interest and what looks unprofessional. I think you get my point.
Google My Business
If you sell to a local region then you must set up a Google My Business account. This is what helps your business show up on Google Maps. Once you create a Google My Business account there are a couple of very important things you should pay attention to.
- Reviews – Start to ask your clients for good reviews. This is very important and studies show that potential customers read reviews and pay close attention to them. Make sure you respond to every one of your reviews as Google monitors how well you correspond with your customers and prefers businesses that engage with their customers.
- Posts – Write good posts that are engaging, offer either something educational and/or informative, or offer a special. Posts should include good content and keywords that further help Google better understand you. Purpose of a post is to generate a click or a phone call and they don’t have to be very long.
Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a critical tool to better help you understand what terms bring up your site in search results, where you rank with those terms, and how many clicks they yield. It’s also an easy to use tool to utilize. This is also going to give you an idea what keywords you need to focus on sharpening. By the way, Bing also has a Search Console tool and you should get that as well. These are free services and very insightful for your long-term strategy. Here are the links to the Search Console Tools:
Google Search Console
Bing Search Console
You will need to have a sitemap file that you inject into the search console. This is a snippet of code that tells search engines when to rescan your website so anytime you make a new page or change an existing one, the search engine will be requested to rescan your site.
Google Analytics is a free and in-depth software suite that gives you very detailed information on your site’s usage. You allow Google to monitor and learn about your visitors and in return GA (Google Analytics) will tell you all sorts of information about your audience; who they are, where they come from, which pages they find most to least interesting, and much more. GA can get very sophisticated but in general is a great tool to help you understand and fine tune your web site.
Facebook and LinkedIn
Both of these social media platforms offer a business account and I recommend you set them up. Anytime you write a new post in Google My Business you should also post it on your Facebook and LinkedIn business accounts. Search engines monitor social media platforms, scan through their content and use that information to better determine how your business fits into their search results algorithm. If you don’t know how to use social media platforms then I recommend you visit some of the brands you like to shop and see how they utilize their different outlets.
Google Ads, Bing Ads
My general recommendation is Not to run these until you have a good understanding of your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and can easily evaluate usability data. Google and Bing Ads are paid platforms that are a little more sophisticated to properly calibrate. Its easy to burn through your marketing budget here so wait on this until you are ready.
There are other things you will have to tackle down the road, but for now focus on the above list and start your marketing efforts correctly. If you do this right, then you will learn how online marketing works and will start to find areas to improve in. Just keep in mind that good marketing is like a good exercise plan. You won’t see the results right away, but with a routine and consistency you will start to see these results over time.
Still Need Help with Online Marketing?
If you’re simply overloaded with work then keep in mind that I provide this service and can help you with organic search engine optimization, Google Ads and more. If you are someone who simply doesn’t have the time to handle this then please contact me!