Many Australian Businesses have recently or are in the process of taking their business online. When marketing your business online, it becomes a case of knowing where your money will bring the best return on your investment. Let’s take a look at the top 5 online marketing channels and why they can be so effective.
Businesses should by now have caught on that physical retail in Australia is stagnant while online ecommerce sales are experiencing rapid growth. Now even the big chain stores are scrambling to sharpen up their web presence and get a slice of the Internet market pie.
1. Google Natural Search Results (SEO)
Google is still without a doubt still the king of search. This also makes Google the absolute best channel for gaining valuable traffic to your website with the best return on investment. If your website is found on the first page of Google for popular, relevant search terms, you have a very large footprint on the Internet indeed.
The word “Google” has become a verb to most people, which gives it some sort of oracle status across the entire world.
Because of the incredible power that Google possesses over your exposure to people who are specifically looking for a business like yours, it is certainly a good idea to include Search Engine Optimisation, known as SEO into your marketing budget. Search Engine Optimisation, if done properly, can get your website to show up on the first page of Google search results. Showing up there will guarantee large amounts of traffic depending on how popular the search term is. Make sure you engage with an SEO company that you can trust and can prove past results.
2. Google AdWords
AdWords is an advertising platform that shows paid ads in Google’s search results as well as other websites that display Google ads. The ads that show in the Google search results are text ads only, but the third party websites can show banners, video ads, text and interactive ads.
Other than the huge potential exposure that your business can get through this advertising channel, AdWords is extremely flexible and potentially very targeted to your audience. Your campaigns can be fine tuned to only show your ads to people that are looking for something specific. Your budget can be set so that you don’t spend a cent more than you allocate and you can keep your budget as skinny as you like.
Your AdWords campaign is also very measurable. All of the aspects of your campaign can be measured and reported, like what search terms converted to leads or sales for example.
AdWords comes a close second to Google natural search and is highly recommended as a first port to open up your first online marketing channel. Effective use of AdWords can bring you traffic from day one. If you have an effective SEO campaign going as well, you may decide to reduce your AdWords budget as you hit the first page of the natural search results in Google. I find that even as that happens, many businesses who have a good AdWords manager tend to get rewarded with cheaper cost-per-click rates by that time and want to keep it going if not increase the budget.
With the meteoric rise of Facebook as a social networking tool in recent years, businesses are finding it hard to resist having a presence on Facebook. For good reason too; it’s increasingly where people spend a lot of their time.
The first thing to do if you want to establish a business presence on Facebook is to create a Facebook Business Page. This is basically a business profile with a news feed and some basic applications. You can also create tabs with your own HTML code. The best part about having a Facebook Business page is that there is no cost to creating one and it gives you a way to interact with your customers and the general public.
What seems to be really hot with Facebook is the “like” button. You will probably have seen Facebook “like” buttons either on Facebook itself or on websites of all kinds all over the web. I suggest you also get on the bandwagon and add Facebook “like” or “recommend” buttons to pages of your website, especially your product or service pages. When visitors click those buttons, they are basically recommending your product or service to their friends on Facebook. Being “liked” by your visitors on Facebook can bring a lot more visitors and sales to your website.
Yet another way to bring traffic to you through Facebook is using their advertising platform. Facebook pay-per-click advertising platform is interesting in its potential because you can target by demographics as well as geographically. You can accurately target gender, age, interests, education, marital status and profession. This can be very powerful for targeting certain social groups that you want to market to.
This is definitely one of the big trends of 2011. Twitter is a phenomenon that owes its success to its simplicity. A “real-time micro-blog”, Twitter gives you the opportunity to find conversations going on right now about whatever you are interested in. It also gives you an opportunity to broadcast your message to whoever cares to listen and they can get up-to the minute info about your business.
Many businesses use Twitter as a great channel for announcing things: special offers, company news, changes to policy, new products etc.
The trick with Twitter is to keep it interesting and to gain followers, but don’t hard sell on people or they’ll simply block you.
If you have a blog, add a “retweet” or share button for Twitter to it. This will increase the chance of visitors sharing your web pages on Twitter and perhaps starting conversations about you.
No longer are businesses bound by the old TV as a means to reach large audiences with video. As more Australians realize that traditional TV is obsolete (and is full of rubbish, quite frankly), they are looking for something interesting to watch online. Youtube is only one of many hundreds (if not thousands) of video hosting websites that anyone can upload their video to and potentially reach millions of people. Your local TV station will charge you a king’s ransom for you to reach far less potential viewers.
Thinking outside the box really helps on Youtube and being unusual and entertaining is the best approach. You can always start with an instructional video about your products and services. The great thing about Youtube is it’s free and the video production doesn’t need to be expensive. Some of the most popular videos on Youtube were made by amateurs on a cheap handycam. The other great thing about having a presence on Youtube is that your videos can be up to 15 minutes long and there is no limit to the videos you can make available. Every user can create their own “channel” or video portal if you like, so you can produce a whole series of videos promoting your business in creative ways.
Get Expert Advice
Knowing the best channels to advertise on the Internet is half the battle. There are plenty more places you can spend your advertising dollars, but the above five happen to be the hottest for 2011. While it is possible to effectively cover all of these channels in-house, it is highly recommended to engage internet marketing experts so that you get the best results for your campaigns.