Effective online marketing

If you’re not using the internet to market your B2B products or services, you’re missing out on affordable and effective opportunities to generate new clients. Here you’ll learn the most effective tools for consultants, agencies and business service providers.

With so many internet marketing sites and tools available, it can be hard to cut through the din to figure out what works best for your business. If you sell to other businesses, the tools you use will be different from what a B2C (business to customer) business would use in its marketing mix. But there are some very effective tools that can help you boost your search engine optimization (SEO), increase web traffic and generate more sales!

Content is King

It’s cliche, but true: content is king. And people are hungrier than ever for useful resources that help them solve problems. They’re reading blogs, news sites, article sites and social media sites to find the answers. You could be the one providing those answers.

Start with a blog. A blog is a great tool to show that you (and your brand) are an expert in your field. You can write articles that would appeal to your ideal customer. What itches do they need scratched? What DIY tools can you provide them? Can you educate them about the differences between your products and others? When people search for any of these topics, the goal is that they find your article. And once they read your articles, they’ll know how smart you are, and then they’ll hopefully move toward purchasing your product or service.

The key to blogging is stay consistent. If you can post every day, search engines will love you. At the least, aim for 2-3 posts per week. Remember that if your last post was months old, visitors will be turned off and won’t return. And you might not be the best voice for your blog, especially if you don’t have necessary time, interest or the writing skills. Find someone on your team who would do a good job of writing in the company’s voice.

  1. Speak to your web designer about setting up a blog, or go to WordPress for free.
  2. Choose your topic. It should address what your customers want to know. What are the problems that they need solved? What information do they want to know about your industry?
  3. Blog regularly, and include attractive photos and links to your site and other relevant sites.
  4. Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking sites like BizSugar.

You can also contribute your content to article distribution sites, which allow you a bio where you can link to your company’s website (use this document to teach you how to write a great article). Be smart and use the posts that you created for your blog, but make sure to re-word them (at least 20% of the text) so that search engines don’t pick up that it’s a duplicate article from one already published.

Social Bookmarking

The other half of the content equation is sharing. Sites like BizSugar, StumbleUpon and Digg make it easy to share your blog posts and articles in a place where others can find them. The more popular the article, the more people vote for it. The articles with the most attention move up the list for visibility. The more visibility, the more traffic to your blog or site!

It’s also a good idea to include a sharing widget on your blog so that other people can submit your posts to these and other social channels. The easier it is, the more likely they are to share.

  1. Visit each site and set up an account.
  2. Submit the link to each post. Include a description, choose a category and add tags.
  3. Repeat for each blog post.

Social Media or Not?

Social media is great for marketing, but sites like Twitter and Facebook tend to work better for B2C, although they may serve as good sharing sites for your blog content as mentioned above.

  1. Set up a Twitter profile and business page on Facebook.
  2. Search for people who are talking about things that relate to your industry (if you sell diapers, look for moms talking about their babies).
  3. Follow relevant people.
  4. Monitor conversations, and contribute where appropriate.
  5. Never push your agenda!

LinkedIn provides ample opportunity for you to connect and show your skills. The site’s Answers section allows any professional with a profile to answer questions. If you’re a printer and someone posts a question on the differences in paper weight, you have the opportunity to shine. Make sure to include your website and contact info in the answer so that people can get in touch with you. And it’s also a good idea to add as a contact anyone you interact with on LinkedIn. Could be a future client!

  1. Simply search for questions you can answer by typing in keywords (if you’re in marketing, there’s a category for marketing, and you can search to get more specific to answer questions about your niche.)
  2. Answer as many questions as you can, and always include links to your site.

Share Your Presentations

Chances are, if you’ve spent the time researching a topic and creating a presentation, someone else can benefit from that same information. With sites like SlideShare, you can share that same presentation with anyone, who can then share it via social media. The benefit here is you can include who you are and what you do.

  1. Create a SlideShare account.
  2. Click “upload” to submit your file.
  3. Choose to make it public for the maximum exposure.
  4. Share the link on social media channels, your website and emails.

Press Releases

Another great tool for boosting your web presence is the press release. Typically, it’s a newsworthy bit from your company, formatted into a press release (making sure to contain a link back to your website). There are press release distribution sites like PRWeb where, for a fee, your release will be distributed through dozens of news and niche websites.

The more the release (and your link) is found, the better your website will rank on search engine results. And today, more customers are finding press releases (through social bookmarking sites and other channels), so you never know who might read it!

  1. After writing your press release, set up a PRWeb account.
  2. Click “create release” and fill out all pages.
  3. Once release is distributed, share on social media channels, your website and emails.

Engage, Interact, Communicate

No matter which of these tools you use, the key is to interact with your potential customers. Remember that you’re not there to push your product on them, but rather to solve their problems and show your expertise. Let the relationship build from there. After all, no one would buy something from someone they didn’t trust, so why would you expect them to trust you from your first interaction?

Participate as much as you can across all internet marketing channels to give your brand a voice. Before long, you’ll see a positive response, and followers will listen when you speak!

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