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The world of online marketing can be confusing. You get told you need to do SEO, another tells you that you need to do Google AdWords, someone else tells you that its all about content and others say you need to build your social status on Facebook and Twitter. There are lots and lots of terms to understand from landing pages to H1 tags to quality scores to Dynamic Keyword insertion which sounds extremely unpleasant. And before I forget – there is just so much data and I don’t know what is more important and what I should look at. Talking to small and medium size business enterprises (SME’s) there eyes glaze over if you try and explain or even vaguely provide some light on the subject. Many SME’s get caught up in the hype of online marketing and feel they have to get “online” asap otherwise they are missing out. So they rush out and spend thousands of dollars on SEO or AdWords and in the end have little or nothing to show for it, except, less money in the bank and a high level of frustration. Despite this, many will continue to plough more and more money into online marketing digging an even deeper whole of frustration and a lightening their wallet. Online marketing can be a useful tool to market your business, brand, product or service, but it should not necessarily always be seen as you sole strategy for marketing and for some businesses online marketing may be a more passive activity as opposed to the main strategy. For example your company may manufacture vacuums that are sold through branded retail stores. Therefore your online marketing strategy may be about supporting these sales by ensuring there is exceptional and up to date product information so customers who are considering purchasing your vacuum over others can understand the specifications, features and benefits of the vacuum. It would be about making sure manuals are in PPF format and are easily available. Customer may want to see a a branded website with a phone number, product support etc so they can see who they contact if they have a problem with a vacuum. Also you may want to build some demonstration videos and put these on YouTube for the sales people to use to demonstrate your product on TVs in store or for customers to view when considering the benefits of your vacuum. But your marketing strategy may still also include TV ads or in store posters and displays or brochures for sales people to hand to customers. What is more important is how you use online marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy. There are lots and lots of websites that will help you analyse and spend your online marketing dollars and many will be a waste of your money if you don’t first have a plan and secondly have a way to implement your plan. Lets talk about planning first. Building a plan does not need to be complex and your not looking to build a 100 page document. Rather, you simply need to think about what goals your trying to achieve. For example using our vacuum manufacturer, we may have goals to increase sales of vacuums by 20% and increase brand awareness and improve support for the retailers selling your vacuums. The online marketing strategy then becomes a process to support these goals and the the retail store sales process. Part of the online strategy may also be to help build the brand online in support of TV advertising and in shop display. Each of the retail chains selling your vacuums may also have an online presence so ensuring you have current photos of the product from different angles together with descriptions, specifications etc of the product. For some of your leading retail outlets you may even decide to provide them with unique content such as unique product descriptions, photos etc to assist them in their SEO and therefore ranking highly when customers are searching for vacuums. As you can see, online marketing is not just about Facebook, AdWords and writing blog articles and sometimes just doing the basics really really well (ie photos of the product, well written descriptions and demonstration videos) can go a long way to building a more successful strategy. So take a step back and understand your marketing goals and overall marketing strategy and therefore take the time to plan how your online marketing activities will support this. Implementation can be difficult and many SME’s struggle in this area, not only because they have failed to plan, but also because they don’t know what they should be doing and then how to do this. For example, above we indicated writing unique product descriptions for your top retailers. Any good SEO consultant/agency would possibly suggest this, however, if you are seeking help and the agency has not asked to see your plan OR suggested doing one then you should move on and find the next agency. If they are just suggesting writing blog articles or SEO or AdWords then you need to question if this is right for you. I would suggest the book on Traction at the end of the article if you don’t have a strong opinion on what are the best ways to get “Traction” with customers. Implementation can be easier once you have your plan and you know what your looking for. Using our example above, we decide we need to find a writer to write 10 unique descriptions of 300 to 400 words for our vacuum, and each will be provided to 10 individual branded retailers selling your vacuum to use on their website. Usually we can use a service such as iwriter, writeraccess, thecontentauthority or textbroker to do this quickly and cheaply. But I would always stress to use the highest quality writers in these services. Demonstration videos can be expensive but there are ways to do this more cost effectively. For example there are sales staff demonstrating your vacuums in store each day and you most likely you have a business development manager or sales rep who could film with just an iPhone, sales staff in each brand demonstrating your product . Your sales rep could also be filmed explaining the product and the features and benefits. You could then create an outline of what you want in the edited version and use a freelancer on upwork.com to edit the videos into a demonstration video with some text to focus on each feature or benefit. You could also find someone on upwork to do you a script for a voice over. The voice over you could be your sales rep OR you could get a voice over done by a professional through a service such as voices.com. Online marketing is a powerful tool, but it does not need to be difficult and it does not need to be a money pit. It needs to be used as part of an overall marketing strategy. Taking the time to plan your marketing strategy and then how your online marketing strategy can assist is extremely important. An example of a well executed marketing strategy was that by Disney for the launch of a new movie the Jungle Book. The NY times provides a great summary of their strategy. Most importantly you can see how they planned and implemented their strategy. If you still trying to work out the best way to market your product, brand, service or business, then a good book designed for start-ups but also a great refresher would be Traction. They look at 19 methods to build traction and discuss each and why some work and others don’t for different businesses. Maybe you have not found your Bullseye or you have outgrown your Bullseye and need to rethink your marketing and sales strategy. Taking a step back and considering this when building your overall marketing strategy should be an important part of your process.
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Omology is the study of Online Marketing. Our Omology Guide will take you through the basics to help you get started or improve your online marketing.