Entrusting all the marketing for your products and services to a single media channel is unwise, no matter how well it’s working now. Platforms and consumer interests are always changing, and if that channel stops working, it could leave you in a tough spot.
The best approach is to develop a marketing strategy that integrates your messaging, outreach, and customer follow-up across multiple media platforms. While there are many effective offline marketing channels that you should also pursue, this article will focus on the online ones.
Here are the three foundational steps for effective online marketing, with some fundamental ideas for getting started with each.
1. Get noticed
Getting noticed online can be a challenge. You’ll need to outshine the competition, learn how to use different platforms, and demonstrate the value of your products to customers.
The good news is that using multiple channels increases your opportunities to engage with customers and prospects.
Here are a few ways to get your business noticed online:
Search engine ads – paid and free
When people search online using a tool like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you can pay for ads that will appear based on the terms they search. These ads are usually pay-per-click (PPC), meaning you only pay when people click on your ad. You can also set budgets so you don’t overspend.
You can also list your products at no cost on Google Shopping with a free WooCommerce extension called Google Listings and Ads. This extension allows you to connect your online store to Google Merchant Center and Google Ads, so you can create campaigns from your WooCommerce dashboard.
Display and video ads
Ads on video streaming channels like YouTube and Twitch can help get your brand noticed and drive sales. You can also use Google Ads and other networks to create display ads on various websites and email platforms. These types of ads tend to be lower-performing due to their relatively impersonal nature, but are a great way to get brand recognition and be seen by people who’ve never heard of your business before.
Social media ads
All the major social networks offer a paid advertising system; each has its challenges and benefits. Some are easier to use to reach customers organically, without having to spend as much time and money, and others make that more difficult.
The best feature of each is that you can target and retarget your most likely customers and prospects. Focus on getting the most from a few platforms before trying to tackle too many. Not sure which ones are right for your business? Here’s how to compare and choose the right social media platforms for your store.
One of the best ways to target people is to use lookalike audiences. These audiences use email addresses from your current customer base, email list, or website traffic. Since these individuals have already expressed interest in your product, the ad campaigns that use lookalike audiences are likely to have a higher conversion rate than other types of ads.
If you don’t want to pay for ads, you can also learn how to use search engine optimization (SEO) so your website shows up in free search results. By using smartly chosen keywords and quality content that targets the needs, questions, and problems facing your customers, you have the chance to show up when people are looking for you!
SEO takes time, so don’t expect instant results. But it’s a cost-effective way to generate traffic without a major advertising budget. Learn more about getting started with search engine optimization.
2. Convert traffic into customers
It doesn’t matter how many eyes you get in front of if you can’t convert them into something valuable for your business. Eventually, all of your marketing channels should direct to a central point: your website. From there, it’s all about optimizing the process to turn casual visitors into paying customers. Quality content is what makes this happen. That means:
- Good product photos
- Great sales copy
- A clear presentation
- A user-friendly process
- Enticing calls to action
Your website must deliver on the promise from whatever media channel brought the person there.
3. Follow up
As the famous saying goes, « The fortune is in the follow-up. » No matter what kind of business you run, following up with leads and customers is key to achieving the big growth you’re after.
For businesses built on instant gratification and immediate needs, following up allows you to sell to customers again and again — not just once. For businesses with a longer sales cycle, following up is how you’ll convert them from curious bystanders to enthusiastic buyers.
Some media channels include methods for following up, but many do not. For instance, there’s no way to follow up in a display ad or video ad. Ultimately, you want to direct people to platforms where you can have more personalized conversations and generate an ongoing marketing relationship.
Social media is a great tool for more personalized communication with your prospects, especially through instant messaging. It can humanize companies and create an emotional connection between potential customers and your business — and by participating in it, the person is consenting to communicate with you.
Email is probably the best forum for sustained follow-up marketing. You can send specials and coupons to your entire list, and targeted messages to specific segments or individuals.
You also can use email to attend to critical needs like abandoned carts, canceled orders, questions submitted through your online forms, and other customer service issues. The best way to manage these responses is to automate them so they run on their own.
MailPoet integrates with WooCommerce seamlessly, enabling you to perform these types of tasks. You can allow buyers to opt into your email list on the checkout page — the best time to ask because customers are already committing to a purchase and are likely to want to hear more from your company.
Once they’ve opted in, you can continue sending deals, offers, and valuable content.
Tracking and retargeting
Tracking allows you to follow up more effectively with future customers as well as existing ones. Use the tools available in whatever media channel you’re using to re-target ads to particular audiences, re-sell to previous buyers, and understand your customers better.
While all advertising platforms use some form of tracking tag, they’re given different names. In Google Analytics and Google Ads, they’re referred to as tracking tags. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok call them pixels. Email marketing services sometimes call them web beacons and use them to keep track of conversion and click data.
Note: As of September 2021, Apple’s iOS15 update will pre-load these web beacons or pixels in email inboxes, changing the way that marketers utilize these metrics.
Using tracking to retarget your customers will help you deliver more relevant marketing messages, remind them of your products, and improve your conversions.
Lastly, the most personal of all marketing happens when communicating directly with your customers through email or live chat.
Deliver BIG at this moment:
- Give great service.
- Be friendly.
- Be helpful.
- Solve problems.
- Answer questions.
- Be proactive.
- Make time.
- Prioritize the customer.
Top-notch service will greatly improve all your other efforts at following up.
Sync your tools for better results
If you’re using WooCommerce, you can get more out of your marketing tools by connecting them with the Zapier extension.
Zapier’s purpose is to facilitate both automation and integration between different software services. It will improve your follow-ups because, when certain events trigger, it will take a specific action. For example, when a new order is placed, it can add the customer to your email list automatically. It also connects to a whole host of cloud-based apps that relate to record-keeping, as well as CRMs.
Successful marketing is all about experimentation, measurement, and improvement. Remember, it’s not just about getting traffic to your store. You need to optimize your product pages for conversions and implement tools that can follow up with visitors to turn them into customers.
Most stores need to use a variety of platforms to meet needs from the first impression on a potential customer to the follow-up after a completed sale. Don’t rely too much on any one source and be open to trying new things!
What’s working for you? Let us know in the comments!