26 Letters Of The Online Marketing Alphabet
Posted by Webmaster
Thanks to the internet, marketing campaigns need no longer be destined for TV screens or street-side billboards. With the rise of social media, blogs and a world of online conversation, brands now have direct access to their consumers and can interact with them on an amazingly personal level.
Drawn from over four years experience marketing my own businesses through the medium of the internet, here are 26 easy-to-remember tips that should help you with your own promotional efforts.
A is for Aweber. This is one of the most useful tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. Alongside popular tools such as GetResponse and iContact, Aweber allows you to effectively manage an email list where you can promote your products and build relationships with real community members, not just leads.
B is for Blogging. Weblogging is now an industry standard (compared to when I started writing in 2006) and most brands have an outlet to publish news and editorial insights in order to engage with potential customers. Frequent blogging is recommended not only to help cement authority and relationships, but also from a SEO point of view as search engines love updated content.
C is for Conversation. Before the advent of close internet social connections, marketers had to make do with uni-directional messages; on billboards, flyers or leaflets for example. However thanks to social media websites, blogs and proximity to the userbase, online marketers can build trust directly with potential consumers and use that to sell. Being part of the conversation is crucial and will only become more important over the next five years.
D is for Data, data, data. KYC or Know Your Client is an acronym often uttered by marketing types. But thanks to the aforementioned uni-directional, impersonal methods of advertising and marketing previously available, this just wasn’t possible. Services like Google Adwords though, have shown the importance of user targeting and this comes with data on your users. Use analytics packages to find out the geographic location of your target market and their demographic breakdowns. One more useful tip? A/B testing.
E is for Email List. Used in conjunction with a powerful web platform such as Aweber, a large, double opt-in email list can be almost as lucrative an asset as your core product or website, and definitely adds value in the event of a sale. Build an email list by placing a form on your web page, giveaway a free product to entice users to subscribe, build relationships by weekly emails and upsell products or affiliate products. It sounds simple, but building an email list is still something that many online marketers fail to proactively do.
F is for Facebook. Five years ago, Facebook was still in its infancy around select universities. Today, it’s the number one most visited website in the world. With more than 500 million users all in the same place, FB is a marketer’s dream and via Fan Pages or effective Groups can be the source of many customer discussions and leads. For websites, try using RSS Graffiti which automatically posts RSS information live to your Facebook page where you can then start and build on the conversation.
G is for Google. Most of the ‘sphere constantly refers to Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” catchphrase when referring to net neutrality or basic user privacy. The fact of the matter is that Google has some terrific products which I for one use on an hourly basis despite their bad press. Gmail,Google Reader, Google Analytics…the list goes on. But let’s not forget their core product which is the best tool for market research. Their constantly improving search engine. Do your market research before you send out your message, and that includes checking up on the competition too.
H is for Humour. Online marketing can seem like a numbers game at times, lacking in emotion and focused on metrics like CTR and ROI. You need to remember that your customer is a real human being, and sometimes all they need is a humourous cue that will entice them to take out their credit card. Play on humour, refrain from being lame, and this could set you apart from millions of cold, emotionless campaigns on the web.
I is for Interviews. This can obviously be a little tricky if you’ve just started out, but a really good marketing strategy is to find someone senior in your organisation and start shopping them across the web to answer questions to any bloggers. Whilst growing Blogtrepreneur I was interviewed quite a few times, including here and here, and the posts helped to send targeted traffic to my site and to find new readers who were interested in my message. If you’re a small business, why not contact some blogs and tell them about your unique story?
J is for Join In. It’s all very well making 25 page business plans, but sometimes you just have to get stuck in. Whether that means creating an account on a niched forum to reply to a topic, or taking the time to write a personalised email response, online marketers have the benefit of doing things now, so don’t squander the opportunity and try not to procrastinate. Procrastination is a disease.
K is for Keywords. Effective web marketers will co-ordinate with their inhouse design, programming and development teams in order to find keywords that are competitive, that drive traffic, and that can be easily conquered on search engines against a wave of competition. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a Fortune 500 employee roster, then jot down a few phrases that describe your business and use the Google Keyword Tool to find some kickass keywords. Then get links with the chosen anchor text. Rinse and repeat.
L is for Linkbait. I have only ever managed to get on the Digg homepage once. It was short and sweet and it drove around 20,000 visitors to my site in the space of 30 minutes. It also melted my server. However I achieved this thanks to linkbait. In essence, this is a post, product, application or widget that is so useful/viral/funny that people from all over the web link to it. Back in 2007 I wrote 101 Essential Blogging Resources and the post went viral. The links I received helped catapult me to a PR5 pagerank, which in turn helped me milk money through ad sales. Read and learn.
M is for Mail. Tying in with the point on communication, email is the invention of the late 20th century and its power should not be underestimated. A personal thankyou email to a customer for their purchase can go a long way in a world of automated bot replies. Setup different accounts for each of your different web properties, use Gmail for its powerful email search feature, and never let your inbox spiral out of control again. If you’re more than 1 person, use Google Apps for Business so that everyone can reek of professionalism.
N is for News. We live in a Society addicted to news. If you can become the sole provider of news on a particular topic, this puts you in an extremely advantageous position and eyeballs will be glued to you and your business. Hire writers to cover stories if the flow is too thick and too fast and make sure each article is succinct, precise and statistically correct to avoid tarnishing your reputation. And another tip? Try and get your site included in Google News. Trust me, the traffic upside is well worth it.
O is for Omniscient. Being omniscient with regards to your brand should be one of your main business goals. If someone mentions you in the darkest depths of the murkiest forum, you should know and you should be able to respond. If someone slags of your product on Twitter, you need to be the first to find out in order to take action. The longer you cannot see, the more potential damage can be done. Stay in the loop.
P is for Partnerships. For the most part, striking up a partnership means that you need to relinquish control. Whether this is editorial control, quality control or spacial control on your webpage, it can be daunting to jump into bed with a 3rd party. I’m here to tell you that partnerships can be a good thing if done correctly. Make sure you both know who is covering what, and the key is for everyone to be a winner in some shape or form. Example: I partnered up with two young entrepreneurs in building a golf forum. I took care of the promotion, the others took care of design, programming and content. Win-win-win.
Q is for Quality not Quantity. The statement quality over quantity is often quoted and it often holds true. Sending out signal over noise is a concept many successful companies grasp and with regards to online marketing, the same idea applies. Forget trying to spam Twitter to make a quick buck or sending out cookie-cutter email responses. Spend your time crafting quality and the rewards will be noticeable and more enriching.
R is for RSS. Really Simple Syndication has still yet to reach mainstream popularity. Perhaps it’s due to its seeming complexity or maybe it’s because the majority of internet users are still tech-tards. If you are a web marketer, you need to know what’s going on, what Techcrunchthinks is hot, what the latest design trends are according to Smashing Magazine. Use a feed reader and begin subscribing to key publications that matter. Just don’t add too many otherwise you’ll be reading rather than doing.
S is for Social Media. In the grand scheme of things, social media is still a relatively new term and very much a buzzword outside of tech circles. It symbolises a change in media; from a world where news is dominated by major print outlets and stories are broken by large network stations, to a vibrant place where ordinary internet citizens can be the first to report and can engage with everyone, everywhere. Online marketers should take advantage by spreading their message into every corner of the web through social media websites.
T is for Twitter. This 140-character behemoth now competes with the big boys; Google and Facebook. In fact, the race to conquer realtime search is hotting up and Twitter looks set to dominate thanks to the plethora of tweeters. Setting up a Twitter account is now mandatory for all promoters. Check your replies regularly and @username someone to start a conversation. Oh, and don’t forget to #followfriday for some easy followers.
U is for Unique Visitors. Possibly the most important web metric, the unique visitor is a direct measure of popularity. How well have you promoted? How many of these visitors view more than one page? How long does each unique visitor stay on your website? Don’t live and die by the UV, but there’s no fire without smoke, and there are no sales without traffic. Focus on the latter and the former should follow suit.
V is for Videos. Podcasting had its time for a few years, but really the future is all in video. Video content sites like YouTube, DailyMotion, Megavideo, and Vimeo have roaring popularity and have made it even easier for marketers to reach their intended audiences. Viral videos are all the rage and if you can stumble upon a unique idea which manages to get a few hundred thousand pageviews, then that can work wonders for your bottom line. Just ask the guys at Blendtec about their success with Will It Blend?
W is for Website. This is a bit of a no-brainer, but an effective, converting website is a key asset. Optimise, optimise and optimise again to make sure you’re getting the most out of your traffic and use technologies such as Ajax to improve the user experience. And invest in a decent design, although that didn’t stop Markus Frind from hitting the bigtime with the eyesore that is Plenty of Fish.
X is for XXX. No, I’m not talking about the Vin Diesel action blockbuster. I’m talking about X-rated, pure adulterated undertones. Sex sells and that’s a fact. But do you really want that associated with your professional brand? In some industries, provocative copy can convert, but in others, you can harm your business and be the victim of extreme negative press. Be careful kids.
Y is for YouTube. It’s worth narrowing down from videos to talk about YouTube. The largest video site in the world, this website now boasts feature-length music videos from the Lady Gagas and Britney Spears of this world. And if you are smart about positioning and content, you could get picked up. A fitting example is that of Justin Bieber who managed to get signed with Usher thanks to a few YouTube videos showcasing his talent. Don’t underestimate YT and create a channel as soon as possible to get started.
Z is for Zest. For those of you who have managed to get this far, you were probably wondering what kind of marketing lesson could be applied from the letter Z. The truth is, having zest applies to all of the points above. Without it, your brand is a floppy fish, incapable of drawing a powerful purchase emotion from prospective buyers. However with a pinch of zest, ingenuity and creativity, online marketing is really just a walk in the park.
What letters and their corresponding tips would you include in your online marketing alphabet? Let me know in the comments section below.