5 ways to make your online marketing really work

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Last time, I wrote about how, as owner of an online marketing company, I get to see first hand how many agencies – and many a digital agency to boot – fail with their campaigns because they fail to understand how the Internet has changed the buying process. (You can read the article here).

Now I want to talk about a new model of marketing that wins by connecting with customers’ new ways of choosing and buying.

I call the old way of thinking “interruption” marketing. It’s the way advertising used to work., where you run an ad – in a magazine, on tv or radio, on a billboard – and you expect that to drive sales. The problem with this model is that you’ll have diminishing return on your investment as audiences become more fragmented and more adept at by-passing and even subverting your messages.

I call the new way of thinking “on-demand marketing”. On-demand marketing is all about being visible at the moment that your potential customers are looking for products or services like yours, supporting them through the consideration process with relevant and useful information and making it easy for them to amplify your message through their networks.

Here are the 5 principles of on-demand marketing.

1. Be easily found – use SEO and more

You need to be where people are looking, when people are looking and how people are looking for products or services like yours. Search Engine Optimization (SEO),  highly targeted Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising (like Google’s AdWords program) are key tool in the on-demand world.

So are being present on product and service review sites and social networking services. These are important not only because they help drive awareness of  your brand, but because they also shape perceptions that will drive the decision-making process.

2. Create great content often. Blog much? You should

Some people call “on-demand marketing,” “content marketing” for one simple reason. Great content drives the whole approach.

Creating content that’s authentic and meaningful to your potential customers not only helps people find you online – search engines like Google LOVE fresh, great content – it feeds their quest for knowledge when they’re researching products or services like yours. And if your content is really good, people will use their channels and networks to promote you.

3. Be ready for your customers to be part of the conversation

Make it easy for people to find and share your content with their networks.  And be ready to talk to them when they start talking back – brands that answer their customers on social media sell more and have more positive ratings with their customers.

4. Nurture your leads

What happens after someone expresses interest in your product or service. Do you have a system for reaching out to them on a regular basis to remind them stay top of mind with them and to support them through their decision making cycle?  If you have a system like this, you can use the content you create to close a higher percentage of your sales and you don’t need to invest as much time and money generating new awareness of your brand.

5. Measure and optimize like crazy

How many leads did your Web site generate last month? How much of that turned into new business? Which campaigns, search terms, social networks, pages and traffic sources were most effective in generating new business for you?

You need to know these answers and you need to be regularly adjusting your approach to improve those results. If you’re not, you’re throwing money down the drain.