“You’re everywhere!” Those words are like the sounds of a cash register ringing up the sale – music to any business owner’s ears. Improving your business and your website’s visibility is a key ingredient for thriving in any economy. It isn’t about luck and it has nothing to do with your competition. Increasing your visibility to achieve what’s known as omnipresence is about putting a few key systems in place and on auto-pilot.
Attribution Theory and You
What was it that made your last customer purchase from you? Was it the recommendation from a friend that introduced them to your website and your business, or was it the last email that they received from you that offered a special promotion? Truth be told, both were essential steps that lead up to the sale and so both are partly responsible. In fact, there are often multiple different actions that take place between a prospect’s introduction to your business and the time when they become a client or customer. As a result, experts have created different mathematical models for properly attributing credit for the sale to each of the different touch points leading up to it.
You really don’t need to become an expert on attribution theory in order to put it to work for your business. You just need to know that most sales are preceded by multiple exposures, touches, or interactions with your prospects. This means that as you deliberately take steps to increase your visibility, your sales won’t just increase – the will multiply.
Top of Mind Awareness
Name three different toothpaste brands. Odds are that if you go to the store to buy toothpaste, you’ll buy one of those three brands, despite the fact that there are dozens of different kinds of toothpaste available. The truth is that when it comes to making a purchase, you purchase from those companies that have achieved top of mind awareness with you. Achieving top of mind awareness is the holy grail of marketing because it puts that company in position for the sale. Top of mind awareness is created as a result of being highly visible and staying in touch with and in front of your target audience.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing includes both SEO (search engine optimization) as well as PPC advertising (pay per click). No campaign to increase your visibility is complete without a solid search engine marketing plan in place. This involves discovering the best keywords to use. There is enormous power in knowing and using the right words. In fact the difference between using the right words and the wrong words is like the difference in power between a lightning bug and a lightning bolt. One will glows just a little while the other lights up the sky!
The goal of search engine marketing is to ensure that your website is highly visible when your target audience is searching for you, your competitors, and the goods or services you provide. You can’t achieve omnipresence for your business without showing up well in the search engines.
Email marketing done right is not about sending out tons of junk to a list of people who don’t read it. Email marketing when done properly is about cultivating a relationship with your target audience so that they look forward to your email messages. This means that you’re only sending out email to people who have given you permission to do so. The email you’re sending is relevant to the person receiving it. Circumstances change, situations change, interests change – be sure to make it easy for people to get off of your list. Email marketing done right is about properly setting the expectation and then meeting that expectation. In other words, let people know what kinds of information you send out and how often you send it. Don’t overwhelm people’s inbox by mailing too frequently. Weekly is fine. Routinely sending more frequent than once a week puts you at risk for alienating your list.
People will look forward to your email if it contains information of value and interest to them in a timely fashion. Email marketing is frequently underutilized by small business owners because they usually don’t realize the impact that effective email marketing will have on their sales and how simple it is to set it all up. If that’s stopping you, let me know and I’ll show you just how easy it is to put this on autopilot for your business.
Social Media Marketing
Yes – most people waste way too many hours each day keeping up with who is doing what on Facebook. However, the fact is, that since so many people spend vast amounts of time on social media, your target audience is likely on there, so you should be too. There are lots of ways to put social media to work for your business and the best part is that doing so doesn’t require vast amounts of your time. This is definitely something that, depending on your business and your audience, can be setup and run largely on auto-pilot, with very little of your time to keep it going.
Social media marketing is about engaging with people, and creating social proof. Engaging with people means that your posts are liked, shared, and responded to by others. There are a couple of very important benefits for you when this happens. When others like, share, respond to your posts and updates, the number of people who see your post increases exponentially because their friends and followers are now exposed to your post. This engagement becomes social proof that others can see. As important as this benefit is in terms of growing your audience, the other benefit is potentially even more powerful. The second benefit is that Google and the other search engines are using social media engagement as part of their ranking formula. In other words – a good social media strategy that produces real engagement with people will help your SEO efforts and can help you rank on the first page of Google.
Social media automation is a bit tricky and most people get this wrong. Nothing will stop your efforts from bearing any fruit quite as quickly as automation done badly. The reason is that automation done badly = spam and no one (including the search engines) like spam. The key to getting this right is to have a solid plan in place where you are using the right technology tools (yes, you should be using more than one) to leverage your time in a way that makes sense. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if a prospect who didn’t know about you before encountered you through social media, would your facebook page, twitter page, etc. attract them or repel them?
Creating short articles about your niche or area of expertise is a great way of improving the visibility of your website and your business. Creating the articles doesn’t have to be hard. Most people who get stuck on this, do so because they get overwhelmed at the process. I’m reminded of the old question – How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The easiest way to go about the task of blogging is to make a list of topics that you can turn into short articles. A great starting point for article ideas is to make a list of common questions. What are the top questions that people ask you all the time? Take those questions and build an article around it. If talking is easier than writing, then talk your article out and have it transcribed. This is super-fast to do, and then after it has been transcribed, it will likely need a little light editing and you’ve got an article ready for your blog.
When your articles have good content in them, people will share them on social media, link to them from their website, and search engines will show your article when people are searching for information on topics that you’ve written about. Some of the stuff that you take for granted, other people don’t know and are looking for the answer to. By creating articles on topics like this, your website becomes recognized as an authority on the topic within your circle of influence. Website authority is one of the key factors in the search algorithm that Google and the other search engines use to determine who makes it to the first page of search results. Regularly publishing high quality content is a great way to position your website at the top of search results and awareness.
Push Marketing Vs. Pull Marketing
Push marketing is where you decide when your information will be placed in front of your audience. News papers and magazines are a good example of push marketing because it is the publisher who determines when their publication will reach their intended audience. Pull marketing is where the information is always available, but only seen when requested. Search engine optimization is an example of pull marketing because your website is always online, but only visible to a prospect when they search for information that you provide.
As good as pull marketing is for your business, you still need to be doing push marketing if you want to maintain top of mind awareness with your prospects. The best part about it is that you don’t have to choose between push or pull marketing, you can (and should) do both. Your online marketing strategy should include a mix of both push and pull. The right mix for you and your audience will depend a lot on your audience and their expectations.
The holy grail of marketing is to become the first (and ideally only) option that someone considers when they need what you provide. Achieving this is a process that begins with using a varied marketing strategy that ensures your prospect will see you in a variety of places (think search results, email inbox, postal mail box, etc.). This kind of omni-present marketing virtually assures your success at creating and then maintaining top of mind awareness with your prospects. Once you have top of mind awareness – where you come to mind instantly when they think of what you provide, you can go to work earning the position as the only business worthy of their consideration.