If you’re just now getting around to looking at internet marketing strategies, it might be a little late. But you’re in luck, because it turns out that 2013 and 2014 have a lot in common. To understand where we’re going, we have to go all the way to 2006 when Google threw a small seminar. I forget where it was, but the gist of their message was this, “Build great stuff and our algorithm will catch up.” In 2013 and 2014, the fundamental question to answer is “What do I deserve to show up for?”
Answer the questions your customers are asking
The great thing about internet marketing is that, thanks to Panda and Penguin, we can finally cut the BS and just focus on helping our customers. Do this by helping answer the questions your customers are asking before they know to talk to you.
If you specialized in cheese graters, then look at what your customers do before they buy your product. Are they asking for the best way to store cheese? Are they looking for the perfect cheese pairings? Answer those questions with great content and your customers will be ready to buy right after they finish that guide you gave on how to judge a cheese from it’s smell.
That might sound like crazy talk, but any internet marketing strategy that doesn’t have great content behind it is doomed to fail.
Enough philosophy. Here are some of the modern essentials of internet marketing
Video, video, video
YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. The great thing about video is that you can use it everywhere. Embed it on your website, share it on your social media channels, and watch visits fly in from YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo.
Video is tough for many businesses, because it requires a lot of energy to get started. But once you’re moving, it’s easy.
Mobile friendly everything
I wrote recently on how I thought the static-width (desktop only) web is dead. It’s wishful thinking, but I couldn’t help myself. Declaring the death of things has been in vogue online for a long time. Wishful thinking aside, if you’re not building your website mobile first, then you’re behind the times. Seriously, it’s not that hard, web developers (please don’t look at the sections of our site that aren’t mobile friendly yet)! Design for mobile first, code everything as percentages and relatives, then use media queries to scale up! There are tons of free templates out there for businesses not ready to invest in something totally original. Types and Grids, a free template by SmashingMagazine, has 21 type options, 29 color schemes, and 16 motifs to choose from giving you almost 10,000 possible combinations for your site.
Contribute in communities
LinkedIn is quickly becoming the place to be for B2Bs looking to make a name for themselves just like Facebook has been a B2C hub for a while. Get involved, jump in and participate in the communities your customers frequent. If this guy can break national security using LinkedIn and Facebook for less than 10 hours of work, then you ought to be able to rustle up at least a few customers there.
Participating in communities will help build your business as an authority, it will build your brand and make people think positively of you, they’ll reshare your work and it will spill over into your organic marketing channel.
PPC is great but choose your networks wisely
Google is still the most important name in paid search and display advertising, but there are so many great choices to expand your display network. LinkedIn and Facebook both offer great returns for marketers that can build great experiences inside those networks. They don’t always deliver the sale right off the bat, but with the right engagement, they’ll deliver customers that stick around.
The big opportunity in display is similar to the one in video. There’s room there because getting started is hard and expensive. Once you start running some display ads, you’ll quickly find it’s not so hard to keep them coming.
Testing and iterating quickly is the key
As Brian Chesky said, “You’re not going to A/B test your way to Shakespeare.” But with some vision, A/B should be a regular process. We recently spent a morning redesigning a landing page that yielded a 730% increase in conversion rate and a decrease in our CPL of almost 40%. It was the most effective 4 hours on marketing we ever spent.
Everyone has been doing A/B testing forever; the new wrinkle is that the content should be getting more and more focused on smaller and smaller segments of your customer base.
The more targeted the message, the more impact it will have. For a recent big name example, look no further than Iron Man 3. Hollywood has realized that by tweaking their movies for their different audiences, they’ll have more success. In this case, Iron Man 3 has a U.S. and Chinese version with slightly different subplots. The Chinese edition adds a story featuring popular Chinese actors. Follow their lead with your 2013 internet marketing strategy and you won’t be disappointed.
Image source: http://www.flowtown.com/blog/the-2010-social-networking-map