This article reviews various strategies and tactics to grow a business using online digital and online marketing methods. Any business, whether digital or physical, can benefit from digital and online marketing to grow its reach, audience, leads, and sales. Although this list is not exhaustive but provides a foundation that most businesses can use to grow their sales and revenues.
Establish an online strategy
Regardless of your business models, there are many options to establish oneself in the online world. It is therefore quite important to have an online business growth strategy before jumping in and trying ad hoc tactics to establish oneself in the online and digital world. This involves listing your priorities and then selecting the important ones and then executing on that online plan.
Define your online audience
Before jumping into the online world and trying to establish your online business, it’s important that you define your online digital audience. Definition of your online audience will help you target your market appropriately and get the most of your marketing dollars and investments. Defining your audience should be quite specific and involve deeper discussion within your organization to select the right personas for your online business. Remember, this is one of the foundation elements for you to grow your online business.
Segment your online audience
Depending on the diversity of your products and services, you may have multiple types of audiences. In that situation, you should analyze and define the various types of audiences carefully. Again, your marketing plan to grow your business will vary with each type of audience as the preferences and behaviors for each type of audience will vary greatly from one to the other.
Reach your audience
Once you have determined the type of audience you need, you need to reach that audience. As mentioned earlier, over the past few years, Internet audiences have spread out to different nooks and corners to have their needs met. Search engines no longer are the sole meeting point for such audiences. While most continue to use search engines to find what they are looking for, sites like social media, blogs, forums, and various other online communities have sprung up where you can try to reach and target your audiences. To find these places specific to your needs, you must do some research and identify sites and areas of the web where you are more likely to find better audiences that may help you achieve your ROI.
Have an Email Marketing Plan
Email marketing is one of those strategies that is a must have for all online businesses. E-mail continues to be the one channel that almost most of the world’s online population uses for correspondence. E-mail marketing, therefore, should be part of your online marketing and growth strategy. This includes having a plan to grow your E-mail list, nurturing it with frequent engagements, etc.
Match E-mail lists with types of online audiences and traffic
Your e-mail list provides you the foundation for communicating with your online audience. Each list is meant to be targeted to a specific product and service or more specifically caters to each type of audience’s interests. So, for each type of audience, you may have different e-mail lists corresponding to various types of interests. Dumping all of your audiences in one list can make it difficult for you to customize your online message and will affect your online conversions that in turn will impact your ability to grow your business. (Take an online course on starting an online business)
Don’t ignore the administrative aspects of running your business
Many online entrepreneurs get so immersed with running an online business that the start ignoring the basic fundamentals of their business. These include details related to accounting, licensing, taxation, and other regulatory issues. It is, therefore, important to stay disciplined to ensure that you grow your business without worrying about being fined or closed down by officials for ignoring basic business fundamentals.
Focus on online conversions
There is no use in getting traffic to a website or other digital property that doesn’t convert that traffic effectively. The craze that existed a few years ago on getting quality traffic continues until today, especially with new marketers and business owners. Many still mistakenly believe that getting traffic to their products and services will be a panacea to their business growth. There are many other factors that go into growing a business one of which is to ensure that all the other parts of the business are setup effectively to convert inbound traffic.
Take into account all possible online traffic generation methods
To grow a business, one of the things that you need is to generate lots of online traffic. Therefore, you should take a stock of all online traffic generation methods and then decide which ones to use for your business case. Every traffic source has its advantages and disadvantages and also depends on the audience that you seek for your traffic. You should, therefore, study the various online traffic sources (e.g. organic search, CPC, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs, and content sites) and then invest effectively in select traffic sources and focus on them to grow your online business.
Devise an online performance monitoring strategy
One of the most critical aspects of operating an online business is to establish an adequate performance monitoring process and system. An online business mostly needs to be tweaked constantly to take it to the next level. You should, therefore, constantly monitor various analytics reports, and other performance indicators to ensure that your digital system (websites, conversion factors, traffic patterns, etc.) are operating effectively to get you the most bang for your buck and efforts in terms of increasing your online revenues and grow your business. Although, Google Analytics continues to be one of the most popular tool, you should also look into other tools that can give you other insights related to various parts of your online business. You should setup a system of performance monitoring using the right tools and the processes.
Focus on CTRs
Although there are various types of metrics available to help you optimize your digital marketing efforts, CTRs are an important indicator as this metric can help you refine your sales funnels throughout your site. We know that conversions is usually preceded by a number of steps on the site each of which must be conquered before proceeding the visitor to the subsequent step. To measure the visitor’s progress, you should measure the CTR at every step. This will allow you to hone in on areas where your visitors may be exiting the site. Doing so throughout the areas of your site will help you make your site run like a well oil machine through which your visitors pass successfully to reach the conversion steps.
Focus on CPCs
Most advertising systems that provide CPCs have different bidding systems that allow you to either fix a specific CPC or can change the CPC bids to help you get more clicks and meet other of your digital marketing goals. Entrepreneurs that don’t pay attention to this can see their marketing dollars go down fast forcing them to abandon their future marketing efforts thus putting a halt to any business growth opportunities. As mentioned earlier, business growth initiatives must continue at a specific pace until they reach a certain momentum and therefore any hiccups that can stop you from achieving that goal should be addressed in due time.
Consider affiliate marketing strategies
Growing your business through the online channels requires a lot of investments. It’s therefore to ensure that you have various means to cover those costs. Other than selling your products and services online, you should consider various affiliate marketing strategies to monetize your digital assets.
Define your online business’s primary sales funnel
We all know the generic online business funnel, which normally consists of awareness, deeper knowledge, adding to cart, and then to convert the shopper. However, each industry and business has its own funnel steps and each online business must go through the steps of defining its primary business funnel. This then becomes the cornerstone of most of an online business’s marketing activities
Design your inbound sales funnels
An online entrepreneur is usually in control of the sales funnel of the websites and digital properties that they are responsible for. Accordingly, therefore, they can tweak various aspects of that funnel to achieve the right conversion results. In many cases, entrepreneurs direct traffic from some of their other sites to their primary site. In such cases, entrepreneurs should design funnels of all sites and should keep that under consideration when estimating traffic volume to their primary site. Remember, each step that can tweak along the full customer journey can have a major impact on the end conversion results thus boosting your online revenue and your overall business growth.
Pay particular attention to design aesthetics
Unless your site offers some very unique products and services, your visitors will unlikely stay on site for long unless it’s pleasing to look at and easy to navigate. It’s an established fact among marketers and website designers that design aesthetics plays a major role in retaining visitors on site and to push them through the various steps to get to convert. The design aesthetics take into account a number of factors, which include enhancing visual appeal (e.g. use of images, text, and color), considerations for branding, and including the right design elements on the website. Design aesthetics plays a major role as art and design elements evoke certain levels of emotions within visitors. Even if the visitors don’t convert, their staying on your site for longer periods of time has an impact on other factors such as improvement in Google organic search. Thus, when starting and operating an online business, this can have a major role on your website ranking within search engines and conversions, both of which are crucial to your business growth.
Rev up the quality of your products and services
The business world in general, irrespective of whether it’s online or traditional brick and mortar, is getting competitive day by day. While most entrepreneurs and marketers end up spending their efforts and cost in trying to improve their traffic volume and quality, they forget to pay attention on the quality of their offer. There is no use in getting traffic that’s not going to convert. In fact, there are many instances when the existing of a product or service goes viral without the entrepreneurs spending too much time in getting traffic and publicity. Entrepreneurs and marketers therefore should not neglect increasing the quality of their products and services.
Stay up to date on SEO trends and techniques
In the early days of the Internet and online business, SEO was the big name in the area of Internet marketing. Then, after Google started to apply penalties to punish black hat and other SEO methods that were in use, the general impression was that SEO may not be as important as it used to be. This was mostly because of some confusing messages from Google, which implied that businesses should focus on building a good website and pages rather than spending time on learning SEO techniques and tactics. Although Google’s guidance is correct in that good content web pages are liked by online visitors and in that case, Google would reward those pages and sites by ranking them higher, the truth is that you need to do a bit more than that. You must pay attention to the latest SEO trends and to Google’s guidance on how page rankings criteria are adjusted periodically. Not doing so could surprise you when your organic traffic rankings falls without any reason.
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