Website marketing: It is easier to learn French

Is online marketing harder than learning French? (Picture: Marianal_ via Flickr)At an advanced online marketing workshop I was running on Monday, one participant put up her hand and said, ‘it is easier to learn French than to understand webiste marketing’.

It was an excellent question or comment because it gave me a chance to distil a few key points for those few participants who had snuck into an advanced class a little prematurely.

Here are the five things to keep in mind when thinking about online or website marketing:

  • Be clear who your ideal customer is
  • Think deeply about what questions they might research online at all stages along the pathway to your product or service
  • Create content written (or produced) directly for them
  • Publish material on your website/blog and promote it with interesting links from online spaces where your ideal customer frequents
  • Filter every decision about online tools through the eyes and habits of your ideal customer

Here are a couple of thoughts on each of these points.

Be clear who your ideal customer is

All I mean here is make sure you have done some strategic marketing work, at least as far as selecting your target market (a segment or segments of the general population who share a particular set of needs and/or backgrounds which make them more likely to buy your product or service than the rest of us) and agreeing upon your most important positioning factors (how you want your prospects and customers to refer to you and think  of you).

Think deeply about what questions they might research online at all stages along the pathway to your product or service

Once you have settled on your segment(s), take your primary market segment and develop a profile for them, ie, describe them to yourself like a character in a story.

With them firmly in your mind, think about the first moment they might start on the pathway towards needing and realising they need your product or service. For example, if you sell cars, think about the sorts of questions your prospects might research online before deciding it might be best to swap their current car for another. Remember, not all of us jump straight into car-buying mode, many of us consider alternatives first.

Create content written (or produced) directly for them

Start developing a list of titles of short articles or thoughts that your prospect might search for AND find useful in clarifying their purchase decisions.

Write from their perspective with non-jargon lingo.

This material could take the form of helpful videos, checklists, how-to articles, etc.

Publish material on your website/blog and promote it with interesting links from online spaces where your ideal customer frequents

Ideally, you want to base your marketing content on your own URL (web address), even if you still plan to promote it elsewhere. As much as I love third party blogging sites and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, they could disappear or change the rules tomorrow. At least if all your base material has a home base, you can sleep easily and build an online digital marketing asset over the months.

Once you have your new content on your site, create an interesting ‘tease’ or just use your headline/title to alert your prospects in various social networks or forums that you have posted new material worth seeing. Include a link back to your core material on your site.

Filter every decision about online tools through the eyes and habits of your ideal customer

As you progress and come into contact with various gurus and people touting themselves as online marketing experts, be sure to filter their suggestions and your thoughts through the needs and habits of your profiled customer. Would they really go here? Would they really listen to this or read this or watch this?

And the ultimate maxim: Write for your prospects first, Google second

This approach will be applied to the various social media channels covered in The RITE Series ebook being produced in October.

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