Internet marketing strategies – this notion is overrated and misunderstood by many newbie bloggers. Even some established bloggers have no idea about what they’re doing in the name of internet marketing.
Internet marketing is not an alien concept. It is not something that you need to learn by spending thousands of dollars – though, that kind of learning and training will highly help.
But here I keep in mind all those aspiring bloggers who have a very high level of enthusiasm and a very thin wallet.
Just because you cannot pay to learn the marketing secrets of a guru doesn’t mean you cannot run a successful home based business blogging.
Now, I am NOT against experts and their teaching. I am NOT against training schools, training programs, courses, ebooks and the like that teach/train bloggers to get it right. I’m a fan of learning and I continuously invest in training material to keep my knowledge fresh and to learn some insider (pro) tips.
However, it is not a mandatory thing to get started with blogging. And when you are not making enough money or if you are not making any money at all, it is not wise to invest on such programs.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. You can learn via free sources like this blog post!
This blog post is to clarify the concept of internet marketing and to help you devise certain important strategies wisely. Let’s get started.
Please note that even though the title of the post says “Internet marketing strategies 101″ some strategies I discuss below won’t be directly “marketing” strategies. But I strongly believe that these strategies should be incorporated into your blogging strategy to get optimal results in an online business.
PS: A while ago I started the Home Based Business Bloggers – The Big Picture series. In the middle of it I got sick and had to discontinue the series.
Now I have decided to start it back again – although I won’t be posting consequent posts on the topics of the series, I will now write on those topics frequently to complete that series.
A blog start-up strategy
No matter how cool your business is, if you are online you gotta let people know about it. In short, you should attract potential clients/customers to your website (that represents your business).
How are you supposed to do that?
Of course you can do it in various ways (I will discuss some of those ways in the traffic strategy below). But it is not all about traffic.
Attracting traffic and building a stable online business isn’t just about hanging out on social media or on other blogs (leaving comments, writing guest posts etc.).
Apart from all these you should have your own marketing tool that will work for you 24/7 to attract clients/customers. And that marketing tool shouldn’t be “just” a marketing tool, but it should also be extremely helpful to your clients.
What is that tool?
A blog is the marketing tool that stays online always (even while you sleep or while you’re on a vacation), and it continues to attract clients/prospects no matter if you are working or not.
As a part of your marketing strategy you should first have a blog start up strategy. To devise a blog start-up strategy, you will need to think about the following aspects:
1. What is the purpose of your blog? (ex. To attract clients, to spread the word about your product/service and so on). It is important that you have a clear purpose – as I say quite often, “Clarity first. Blogging next”.
2. How much can you spend on your blog? (What is your budget? Even if you are just starting out and even if you are on a very tight budget, you should spend on setting up your blog.)
Blog setup doesn’t have to be a BIG task that makes you spend thousands of dollars. You can have a blog set up in a professional way for a reasonable and affordable price (I offer that service!).
But my point is, since because you lack money (most probably while you are starting out fresh), you should not go for the free options.
A blog on a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com is not the way you present yourself to your customers.
The very basic elements you need are a domain, a professional theme (like Genesis), and an affordable hosting. I will point you to one of the earlier posts in this series that tells you how you can set up a WordPress blog on a budget.
Here are other resources on this topic that will help you:
You certainly need traffic for your online representation of your business – your blog. Traffic is the life blood of a blog. Without traffic your blog is totally useless – in the sense that if you have developed a blog as a marketing tool (I can’t think of other reasons or what’s the point if you have a blog and not use it to spread the word about your business?!)
Now everyone want lots of traffic. No blogger would say that the traffic they’re getting is enough – even if they’re getting a million page views per month.
We all want MORE traffic.
But you should be very careful about obsessing on numbers. Not all traffic is useful to you and if you are blindly going on a hunt for traffic numbers you have to stop now.
This is why it is important to device a traffic strategy.
So before you put in all your hard work, energy, time and money into getting traffic, pause a while and think about what kind of traffic you need. Ask yourselves these questions:
- Who are interested in what you offer (your business/product/service etc.)?
- Find out your ideal customer avatar (demographics, psychographics etc.)
- Find out where your ideal customer hangs out!
- Find out the problems/issues/pain points of your ideal customer
And then devise your traffic building strategy.
You will need to present your website and create content tailored to that audience (more on content creation in a bit). You need to optimize your content for search engines by keeping this in mind.
You need to run guest blogging campaigns and comment on relevant blogs where your target audience will hang out.
You need a social media plan – you need to hang out and be helpful on those social media sites where your target audience are present. Not your favorite social media sites!
So I hope you got the point. Don’t blindly go after traffic.
Just like the traffic strategy, having a content strategy is a must. You cannot just create random blog posts to fill up your blog.
You just cannot publish pointless content just for the sake of publishing and for the sake of keeping a publishing schedule.
You need to create a content strategy that is tailored to serve your audience, and to promote your business at the same time.
Your content should incorporate your ideal customer avatar. You should tailor your content so that your target audience benefits from it.
You should write helpful and actionable blog posts so your readers can find your blog really helpful and find it as a go-to resource.
This kind of content strategy will help you gain lots of targeted traffic and the kind of traffic that sticks. And the kind of traffic that converts.
And you should plan your content well so you publish with a long term focus in mind.
And, you shouldn’t forget about SEO when it comes to content creation (I know I’ve used a lot of “and”s so far).
You need to start off by doing keyword research – identify the right kind of keywords. You need to write posts based on keywords that people are actively searching for.
Popular keywords (in your niche) will help you identify issues that are bothering your target audience. If the keyword is popular it means that particular topic is popular among your target audience – a lot of people are either interested in that topic (they want to know more about it) or it is a popular pain point.
Another important thing with content strategy is that your content should “align” with the purpose of your business. You should be able to seamlessly integrate a call to action directly to your product/service or make a recommendation with every piece of content you create.
Marketing strategy (as in promotion)
Now, let’s talk about the actual marketing. You can market your blog in various ways. Blog promotion is a wide area. But the two biggies of your marketing plan – Email marketing and Content marketing, need the big picture attention from you!
For these two strategies you need to make plans keeping the big picture of your business in mind and you should have long term goals in mind.
For resources on the marketing tips, I’d suggest these posts:
Email Marketing strategy
Now, let’s talk about email marketing. First things first, you need to start building a list right away. Don’t put off this step thinking you need X amount of traffic per day to build a list.
If you read my blog post on things to do before you promote your blog, I’ve clearly said that you need to put all those converting elements in place before you invite a visitor.
It doesn’t matter if you get 10 visits per day or 10,000 – if you don’t have an email sign up form on your blog, then you are missing out on converting those traffic numbers into your assets.
So what do you need to do to start with email marketing?
You first need to decide what you are going to offer as an incentive to encourage people to join your email list. It is not mandatory that you give an incentive. A simple call to action like “Sign up for free updates” can work well too.
There are both positives and negatives in providing a freebie for signing up – like people might just want to download your freebie and then unsubscribe. If this is what is bothering you, I’ve written a post on the topic > How to retain email subscribers (when they only want a freebie from you)?
It depends on your business. So you have to decide. Once you’ve made that decision, you need to choose an email autoresponder service to help you with all the setup and sending bulk manual and automated emails to your list. My recommendations are Aweber and GetResponse.
- And then you need to create lists/campaigns, however it is called in your email autoresponder service.
- Then you need to create web forms and write autoresponder emails.
- You need to create certain pages like the landing page, page to display after the reader confirms subscription and a thank you page where you list your freebie(s) for download or display a simple thank you message.
- You need to put up call to actions at appropriate places on your site – like the sidebar, after the header, after posts and on specific landing and resource pages.
With email marketing, there are two phases -
- Where you strategically create funnels to capture sign ups
- Where you deliver awesome content, keep your list engaged, stay well connected and in good relationship with people on your list and use it strategically to promote, sell, etc. – whatever your business goal is.
So, make sure your email marketing strategy embraces both the phases properly.
Internet marketing strategies 101
That’s my point with this post.
Without the right internet marketing strategies there’s no way you can get success with your blog! Yes that’s a pretty bold statement, but its true – and I say that from my personal experience.
I’ve wasted months without proper strategies and I’ve felt frustrated.
Now I know where I went wrong. Hence, I share the same with you.
Don’t waste any more time publishing new blog posts, or redesigning your blog or doing pointless stuff.
Sit down and work with creating the right blogging strategies for you and approach blogging strategically!