You Know You’re an Online Marketing Leader When….
In this blog post we help you to assess your online marketing habits, attitudes and skills. Online Marketing is a very broad discipline. So it’s not the case that you have to have all the skills, it’s more about recognising what your brand requires to cement its online presence and this may involve getting outside expertise. So even recognising this fact and getting that support lends itself to you being an Online Marketing Leader.
So review our top 20 statements and count how many you say yes to. We have created an ‘Online Marketing Leader’ barometer for you to compare yourself against.
1. You have your own domain and website.
First things first. A website is absolutely vital. No website? No credibility. You can get online very cost effectively with a WordPress or Joomla Content Management System (CMS) website which are user-friendly and easy to manage. Remember when setting up a website you shoiuld consider three key areas of expertise a) design b) development c) marketing – all three skills together will make for a great online presence for your brand which will give you strength and stature in your sector. Do not make the mistake of running your business from your Facebook account.
Also make sure your domain name is in your company/your name and not in the ownership of a third party. This is a common mistake made by businesses starting out.
2. You are active on Social Media.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat – the list goes on. First you have assessed which social networking sites are relevant to your business. You choose wisely as you want to ensure that you can manage them on a daily bassis. Your chosen social networking sites follow the rules e.g. profile design, bio complete, account name that matches your business name, regular posting, content that is relevant to your business/sector/topic, sharing, curating, posting, linking, content planning.
Social Media is a fundamental way in which we communicate and it is free, so let’s respect it for what it is. Also play by the rules!
The Edgerank algorithm (Facebook) for example, changes frequently as they test new ways of improving the user experience. So when your Facebook posts are not reaching as many people as you’d like, don’t bemoan the fact, up the ante and improve your content marketing just as Facebook would like you too.
3. Your web presence is current, timely and active.
Does your website suggest you’re on vacation? Is the last post from Christmas 2013? Did you last check-in on Twitter three weeks ago or has it been days since we last heard from you on Facebook? Do not start an online relationship and then abandon your following. Here’s some tips.
Website – updated at least once a week – blog, images, news, events, industry happenings
Social Media – daily, with scheduled posting there is no reason why you can’t talk to your following on a daily basis. However, do not make your strategy ‘scheduled’ only. Social media is all about the two-way conversation so you need to be there to engage and interact.
Blog – once weekly please. Please!
4. You have a Blog for your business.
I don’t need a blog, care for a blog, know how to do a blog – blah blah blah. Give your business/brand a personality, give it a voice. People will engage with you if they see that you are doing more than just selling. You have to pull them to you, and not push sales on them. A blog can stand alone or be added to your website. A blog is a corporate diary, story-telling the news, views and industry trends from your sector.
If you want people to take you/your brand seriously then you need to become a thought leader – somebody who’s expert in their chosen subject matter. A blog is a great way to showcase and show off that expertise without over-selling. And yes you do need a blog!
5. You share a blog post once or twice a week.
So you have your blog and you post content on it at least once or twice a week. This is vital. It keeps your following interested and engaged.
6. You understand your target audience.
Knowing how and where your target audience are is vital. Because guess what? You are going to be where they are online. Understanding your target audience also means knowing what content they are interested in. For example, here I am sharing my top tips with you on online marketing because I’m an online marketing practitioner, mentor and trainer. 🙂
7. Your content is original, relevant and interesting.
Oh yes! You take time to think about and write your own content because content is king! You also curate (research and share) information that your followers would be interested in, and you follow what’s happening in your industry. So all in one place your followers will find out what’s hot in your sector right on your website and social networking sites. If you are not a copywriter then delegate or outsource. Remember Google and Facebook are monitoring content in their algorithms so it is an important part of your online marketing strategy.
8. You share helpful information with your audience.
Your job is to help, answer or probe topical issues for discussion or debate. For example, if you are a fashion retailer then you will blog about the VIP Style Awards (in Ireland), London Fashion Week, what celeb’s are wearing and/or new season or high-street musts. I don’t expect your to start talking about cute cats who have gone viral or sheep that have been painted in county colours! Be relevant!
9. You’re mobile-friendly.
Is your website mobile responsive? Don’t know? Well just lift your phone and get your website up. Two thirds of people are now accessing the internet using a mobile or handheld device so be sure when they land on your site, they expect to see it converted for mobile, otherwise they will surf away very quickly.
10. You have built a bridge between your online and offline marketing.
It’s vitally important to bring offline marketing online and vice-versa. Have you the details of your website and social networking sites on your business cards and marketing material? Do you share photos or videos from a company, client or business event online? Rember both your online and offline worlds should merge at all times. Don’t isolate one from the other.
11. You use Google Analytics.
Once you have your website live you will use Google Analytics (it’s free) to analyse the numbers and profile of the visitors to your website. You wll also be able to chart how your social media activities drives traffic to your website or blog. Set up a Google Analytics account if you haven’t already and embed the Google Analytics code into your website – you might need you developer to help you here.
12. You communicate using direct marketing.
Mobile and email marketing are very beneficial and low cost ways of communicating with past, existing and prospective customers. Talk to your mobile phone provider about free/low cost bulk text messaging and assign a budget. Do not over-text your contacts as you will infuriate or isolate them. Be considerate and only text when you have a ‘not to miss’ offer available. Rule of thumb – maximum once a month – unless people have asked to hear from your more regularly.
Set up an e-Zine using providers such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. There are free and paid for packages and you cancustomise your design to match your company branding. If you are engaging in email marketing be sure to issue an e-Zine monthly at the same time of the month and with the same features, for example, top-sellers, industry news, message from the CEO, offer of the month etc.
But most of all be sure to adhere to the rules of data protection (check the relevant rules for your own country as they will differ).
13. You’re SEO Saavy.
Online marketing is as much about SEO as it is about brand profiling. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means that you are using strategies to optimise your visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Everybody wants to get to the top of search engines for certain key words and phrases, but like most things in life you must earn it!
Here is where your website, blog, social media activities and content marketing will separate the online marketing leaders from the online marketing lazy-bones!
14. You Content Plan.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It’s true with content marketing. If you want to make an impact with content you have to plan it. Document what blog posts you will write this month, add them to a calendar and write down the key points you want to make. Always have two blos posts ready to upload so you are always a week ahead of yourself.
In relation to social media – consider what is happening in the business, in your business life and what is relevant to your target audiences. We often tell our followers about news, views and industry trends – it’s our little mantra. And we talk, chat, speak and narrate all the time.
You can also plan your social media content and use this format: Date/topic/key points/images/links.
Don’t forget about video – video is a powerful form of content which can parachute your SEO rankings.
15. You reward your online following.
It’s very important to rewards the following, they are more than likely to stay engaged when they know you often say thanks!
But be sure you don’t break the contest rules with your competition – because you will find that user’s newsfeeds may be filled with your brand to the detriment of your reputation. So be creative with competitions.
16. Your an advocate for best practice online.
You play by the rules and you advocate others to too. Rules-breakers are not admired by most so stick within the rules and encourage others to do the same.
17. You invest in your online marketing education.
Online marketing is evolving at a pace that is very hard to keep up with. So invest in your online marketing education and if you haven’t alreaydy consider enrolling on a short or long course to cement your own skills.
18. You mentor other ‘newbies’ to social media and help them out.
When you have a colleague or business acquaintance starting on out online marketing you give them a helping hand and teach the the rules of the online road. You are happy to share your knowledge and give some tips.
19. You’re active at promoting others than just selling yourself.
Here’s a tip. Don’t just sell what you do, promote others. This does work. The rule of thumb is one post in three on social media will be about your/your product and two out of three will be about news from your sector or something somebody else is saying or doing (relvant to your sector of course).
20. You keep up-to-date with trends and industry trends.
It’s vital you keep up to date with what’s happening in online marketing so that you can adapt to change and evolve your skills. There are very many free blogs and resources online to help you with it, so there’s no excuse.
How many of these statements have you answered ‘YES’ to?
Check our Online Marketing Leader barometer below to see how you rank on our scale!
0-5 Foot On the Marketing Ladder
You have made a start, continue the digital journey and maybe consider taking a course in Online Marketing and develop the skills you already have.
5-10 Stepping into a Digital Comfort Zone
You are embracing digital as a fundamental form of communications.
10-15 Online Marketing Know How
A good grasp of the digital skills required to become an Online Marketing Leader.
15-20 Digital Advocate
On your way to becoming an Online Marketing Leader.
20 Online Marketing Leader
You have done the work and acquired all the necessary skills to be able to call yourself an Online Marketing Leader. Keep up the good work!