How does a modern company reach new people and keep existing clients and customers interested today? This is perhaps the most important question for businesses, especially small to mid-sized ones. The fact is, marketing has changed rapidly over the past two decades. While the tried and true methods of television advertising, telemarketing, and mailing lists still work, internet marketing is now the cheapest and most effective way to get one’s brand, name, and product out there.
But there’s a lot more to internet marketing than meets the eye. In fact, what goes on behind the scenes of the screen matters just as much as what’s on it. Here are three crucial tips for those attempting to grow their business in the modern age.
1) Stay In Bounds (Inbound Marketing)
What is inbound marketing and why is it so important? First, here’s a thought experiment: imagine you’re in the mood for ice cream and you want to try some place new. What’s the best way to go about solving this tragic problem? Research, of course! More specifically, an online search, since these searches result not only in locations of nearby ice cream places, but also reviews, pictures, and even detailed menus.
Now, what if you’re not in the mood for ice cream but you signed up for weekly emails from an ice cream chain you visited last month? Sure, receiving these emails might at some point entice you to go get ice cream, especially if they offer coupons and other incentives. But, what’s more likely to happen is you’ll find these emails annoying or ignore them altogether, only caring when you actually are in the mood for ice cream–and the timing may not be right.
This little story outlines the difference between inbound (searching for ice cream online) and outbound (receiving emails from an ice cream company) marketing strategies. Both methods work, but it’s apparent why inbound leads have become more effective. Over 90% of online experience start with the use of a search engine. By optimizing your business for search engine use (search engine optimization or SEO), more relevant searches will lead to your business, and therefore your business will grow.
2) Make Your Message Powerful and Clear
We’ve all heard about first impressions when it comes to introducing ourselves to an employer or going on a first date. They matter for a business, too. The internet has made most of us seekers of immediate gratification. According to the Nielsen Normal Group, a business has only 10 seconds to make a positive impression on an internet user and let them know what the business is about.
That’s not very long. If a website is too cluttered or too bare and lacks the relevant information users are looking for, users will leave the page and go elsewhere. And even if someone stays on your page longer, most internet users only read about 28% of a web page’s content, meaning less is more in terms of explaining and selling your brand.
3) Branding By Design
Humans are visual creatures. We like looking at things that attract us: flowers, paintings, models, etc. Websites are not different. The way a website looks matters to consumers. Approximately half of internet users agree that the main factor for determining a company’s credibility is the way it looks. Is this shallow? Perhaps, but the numbers don’t lie. Additionally, better looking websites are generally easier to navigate and share with others, meaning that the fashion is functional, too.
A web page with images attracts 94% more views than text-only sites. Also, darker colors yield more internet traffic. Beyond these simple facts, web design and branding are closely related. If your business has a logo with a particular shape or color scheme, use that to your advantage by matching the website to the logo. By doing this, you’re establishing a brand, which is invaluable for internet marketing an beyond.
Like it or not, there is no running away from the prevalence of internet marketing. The way we seek services and shop has become streamlined thanks to the internet, and most companies have caught on by now. So now the question is, how can your business stand out among all the rest? Keep these tips in mind and soar!