Much has been written about internet marketing and for good reason, it continues to grow and change every year. With trends constantly evolving, it’s very challenging for businesses to pinpoint which strategy will work out for them. One of the major leaps, for example, has been the use of mobile. It’s grown to the point that in 2019, mobile has accounted for 72 percent of digital ad spend worldwide (to think that the first iPhone was released 13 years ago). Keeping that number in mind, the Philippines alone has a total of 41.3 million mobile phone internet users in 2019 which is expected to grow to 44.3 million in 2020.
Add those to the number of desktop and laptop users, it’s no wonder businesses are seeing digital marketing as a means to seize these opportunities online. Though there are growing trends to keep in mind (like voice search and Google’s mobile-first indexing), you have to carefully choose the correct internet marketing strategy for your startup because not all digital marketing strategies can apply to your business and not all will get you the same results. There are many factors that you should consider in determining the right strategy. The main ones being your target audience and what their behaviors are. We’re here to help and give you the top internet marketing strategies that will definitely kickstart your business.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
The First Thing is Your Website
It goes without saying that to have a fully realized internet marketing campaign, the foundation has to be solid and that falls on your website. You need a place on the internet that is fully yours and one that you don’t share with everyone else. Whether it’s on WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace or Wix, having your own space online is a good investment and is actually inexpensive.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when building a website:
- Great User Experience. Users should be able to use your site with ease. More than a beautiful website, you should have a user-friendly web design. If they need to browse your services then they should be able to locate the tab or menu that will direct them to the page. If they want to read reviews from your previous clients, then they should be able to switch to that page without fumbling or searching for too long. Visualize how you want a user to feel when browsing your site and then aim to provide that experience to them.
- Optimized for Mobile-First Indexing. With Google’s mobile-first indexing coming in full play this 2020, it’s crucial to optimize content to suit the mobile version because Google will be using that to index and rank your site. This means that your site should be reformatted to look good when viewed on a mobile device and be able to match the quality and content of the desktop version as well.
- Claim your Google My Business Listing (GMB). This is essential if you want to be found by people in your local area since this provides essential information like phone number, business hours, website, address, reviews, and more. This will make it easier for potential clients to find your location and get the directions online. It’s also a great medium to promote news and events.
Social Media Marketing
The Philippines has a total population of 109.6 million and as of January 2020, 73 million of those are active social media users. Needless to say, if you want exposure, Social Media Marketing is one of the low-cost strategies you can apply to your business.
Note that not all platforms are created equal, you must do your research and observe where your target audience can be found.
Here are some of the most popular social media channels:
With 2.6 billion monthly active users worldwide, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. This is why ecommerce sites are now incorporating Facebook Marketing into their features. Shopify took this to another level by having both their Facebook marketing integration and Shopify Facebook Store where you connect your Shopify store to your Facebook store. This will make it easier for your customers who have accounts on both platforms to shop wherever they like.
Facebook also has their lead ads. A basic sign-up form that businesses can use to generate leads by having users easily sign up without much effort. It does this by having the form already pre-populated with user information that all the lead has to do is approve and send.
A social media networking site for professionals, this is ideal for forming business-to-business relationships. This is a great avenue for you to get your business known on a more professional scale. One of the goals is to gain credibility and let the industry view your brand as a relevant source of information and service.
One way you can use this platform is by sharing materials like presentations, ebooks, videos that people can view and share. Another way you can utilize this platform is by posting events you are going to be guesting in. This not only shows how active you are, people who are interested in the event might go ahead and attend too.
This is a helpful platform in promoting anything you have in any platform you’re active in. Whether it’s a blog, a Facebook post, or a Youtube video, Twitter makes it easy for people to engage with your content through tweets, retweets, and hashtags.
Instagram grew from a photo-sharing site to a platform for entrepreneurs to promote their products and services. Now entrepreneurs can create business profiles and easily post product teasers to get people interested in what they’re offering. Instagram now has sponsored ads which also lets you easily control the amount you want to spend.
Facebook launched Instagram Stories in 2016 and made it more useful for entrepreneurs by bringing in Carousel Ads. These are advertisements you can post in stories but instead of just one ad, they now allow up to three (3) ads to be posted through Instagram Stories.
The platform also has free tools that will let you gather data like impressions, engagements, and demographics (age, gender, locations, and more). You will be able to understand your users and how they engage with your content or posts. Then with a better understanding, you can then alter and adjust accordingly.
Email marketing has been around for decades and still as relevant today. As of 2019, there’s an estimate of 3.9 billion active email users worldwide, compared to the 3.2 billion social media users, which makes sense because, in order to sign-up for any account, users need to have a registered email address.
Email marketing is still a strong strategy. One main reason is that because it’s a part of our lives, it’s a great platform to use if you aim to speak directly to your customers or leads. With email marketing, you can personalize your messages based on your target audience.
This is a perfect strategy for startups, especially if you’re working on a tight marketing budget because it’s not expensive to start an email marketing campaign and keep it going.
Another thing is Email Automation. It will boost your productivity and the efficiency of your campaigns. You can use triggers and sequences for users or leads depending on the action they take.
You can apply this in many scenarios. An example would be, after they land on your website and decide to not make a purchase at that moment. You can then send them an automated email based on where they signed up and send them content relating to that. Whether it’s a discount coupon, a free checklist, or a reminder that they left something on their cart, you can just automate the response and stay on your prospect’s mind until they decide to make a purchase.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The question ‘How can I rank number 1 in Google?’ is one of the reasons more and more people are becoming aware of how important internet marketing is. This is the domain of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. In terms of search engines, ranking first is Google as it owns 92 percent of search engine market share worldwide. That being said, according to research, the first page of Google captures 71 percent of search traffic clicks, while the second page just gets 6 percent of all website clicks. What this means basically is the first page is where the action is. This is why people now value Google search rankings or how high they are positioned in search engines when potential lead types in a keyword that’s related to their industry.
Even e-commerce platforms like Shopify are highlighting the value of SEO by adding e-commerce SEO features in their dashboard.
How to improve on-page SEO:
Increase Clickthrough Rates
You can begin by improving your organic clickthrough rate (CTR). CTR is the measurement of how many people clicked on your website when they landed on search results. This is an indicator that your site is doing well because it means that people’s questions match those that are found on your website.
- You can increase CTR by writing eye-catching titles and descriptions. Make them engaging, attention-grabbing, and valuable or relevant to what users are looking for.
- Provide Rich Snippets or additional content and information that will show up in search results telling users what they will find once they click on the link. Some types include reviews, product markups, and video snippets.
- Optimize The Website’s Content
Optimizing your website content will not only make it relevant to search engines but increase in value for your target audience. Content is what drives users to your website so make sure to put research and effort in updating your content.
When it comes to blogs, write topics that capture the interest of your audience. Use tools like Ahrefs to find out relevant keywords to your industry as well as check keywords your competitors are using. With Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer, check the results for Phrase Match and Questions to see which long-tails have search volumes for the queries you’re going to use. You should also perform an on-page SEO audit and use the data generated to inspire your blog topics.
Plan an Internal Linking Strategy
This is not so different from your off-page link building strategy where you partner with another website and exchange links. The difference is, this strategy happens inside your website and the links that are used all come from your own and posted on your own site as well. This strategy requires some planning since you don’t want to link one page to another just because they have similar content.
One tip is to utilize top-performing keywords or queries as anchor texts. Diversify your anchor texts and create long-tail versions.
Page Speed is an important factor in retaining a visitor. What you don’t want to happen is for potential clients to exit your website just because it loads a second later than they’re willing to wait. You want to improve user experience so such things never happen to your website.
So, what should be your target when it comes to page speed? Recent findings indicate that a website that loads in a matter of 1 to 3 seconds can increase the bounce rate by up to 32%. While a load speed of 1 to 5 seconds has the chance of increasing bounce rate by 90%, while if your website takes from 6 to 10 seconds to load then that will increase bounce rate by up to 123%. The point here is that you don’t want to lose a potential deal just because your website isn’t fast enough.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyze your website performance and let you know what you need to improve on.
If you’re not too savvy with SEO, there are companies in the Philippines offering SEO services as well as consultations. The advantage of search engine optimization can stretch out for years to come, this is why it’s beneficial to do it right from the very start.
Content has the power to build your brand, build awareness and educate people about your product and the need for it. This is a strategy that not only promotes your product but promotes you as an industry-though leader too. An estimate of sixty-eight percent of people read about brands that interest them. That’s how important content is in creating your brand.
Content marketing is a crucial part of any internet marketing strategy, here are the factors that you should keep in mind before you begin:
- Know your audience
- Set your goals and establish your metrics
- Know the content channels you’re going to use
- Know what content you’re going to produce
- Create your content calendar
- Plan your distribution strategy
- Measure Results
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Unlike SEO, Search Engine Marketing is a marketing strategy that requires paid ads and a strategy that utilizes positioning. If we’re talking about timing, paid ads are best utilized at the beginning stages of a business venture because you want instant exposure for your startup and there are so many things that are new and ready to be rolled out.
Some of the major benefits of SEM are:
- Instant results
- Instant visibility to target audience
Note: When using paid-ads, you should be strategic and target the right keywords. Also, since you’re going to be spending money on it every day, make sure that your landing pages are high-quality and polished with very clear call-to-action (CTA).
The referral program strategy is one that is highly effective in getting new customers especially for startups.
Referral programs are effective because people trust their friends and family’s recommendations more than a random stranger’s review online. As a small business or startup, one of your greatest assets is your existing customers — utilizing their influence coupled with the power of word-of-mouth can do wonders.
Word-of-mouth is already the most effective form of marketing (that is without incentive added), now imagine if your current customers are incentivized to share.
Simply put, if you have one customer who shares your brand on social media, it’s automatic that all their followers will have the chance of seeing your brand. Maybe, a couple of them are in need of your product and services so they click on the link shared, and become your customers as well. And the process repeats itself.
You can choose any strategy that you think will fit your business and digital marketing budget but you have to keep in mind the most important factor: Your Audience.
Build an internet marketing strategy with your target market in mind, this means being aware that their pain points and user behavior align with the nature of your business.
Last but not the least, no matter what strategy you decide on, always remember that they have to be measurable. At the end of the day, you will need to know the effectiveness of your campaigns and you can only do this by tracking KPIs.
Be creative, innovative, and open to change. The important thing is to be able to choose the right strategy for you, plan accordingly. Whether you need to hire a digital marketing expert or not is up to you, just keep in mind that at the end of the day, as a start-up, this is an excellent time to start things right.