Once upon a time, a great web design could mean the difference between a company either dominating their market or simply existing. Today, a great web design isn’t the sign of a cutting edge company—it’s only the starting point.
A powerful web design is an essential part of business today, and customers expect it to be:
- easy to use,
- and mobile friendly
If your website isn’t all of these things, people will perceive your company as incompetent, unstable, and untrustworthy.
Once these factors are buttoned up, your next phase of work begins, because at this point, your website is a lot like a great store hidden away on a back road that no one knows about. And if people don’t know your website exists, it can’t help sell your products or services.
So today, I’m going to share with you three things you need to consistently work on if you want to achieve success in your digital marketing.
Develop outstanding content
The half a dozen or so pages your website started with aren’t enough to produce results today. Successfully marketing your company online requires a steady stream of new content, such as blog posts, case studies, infographics, videos, and podcasts.
Content serves several different purposes, each equally important.
- It demonstrates your expertise, which helps bolster your authority and trust so persuade potential customers will choose your company over competitors.
- It gives you and other people something useful to share on social media, which helps you to add value while keeping your brand in front of potential customers.
- In the case of textual content, it feeds search engines with information to include in their organic search results.
- It provides information that other relevant websites can link to, which helps increase both your referral and organic search traffic.
The mistake most people make is producing boring, self-serving content. They’ll churn out blog post after blog post extolling the virtues of their company, and then they wonder why no one is interested in what they have to say.
The key to producing the kind of content visitors will engage with, the kind they’ll share, and the kind that will help persuade them to become a customer, is to put them first. Your content should be useful for anyone in your target market, whether they buy your products or services or not.
A good way to determine if it will be useful is to ask yourself—and be honest, who will share it? If it’s not so useful and engaging that customers and/or industry peers feel compelled to share it on social media, talk about it with friends, or even link to it from their own website, then it’s not worth producing.
Build an email list
Relying on any traffic source that you don’t have absolute control over, like organic search, PPC, or social media, is a risky move because it could be eliminated at any moment, potentially decimating your business.
That may seem like an extreme statement, but just look at how Facebook’s algorithm whittled organic reach for fan pages to almost zero, or how Google’s Penguin update destroyed tens of thousands of legitimate businesses overnight.
Armed with your own opt-in email list, you can drive traffic and promote your products and services literally anytime. Want your fans and customers to read your latest blog post, buy your products or services, or engage with you on social media, just send them an email. It’s as simple as that!
It’s important to consistently add value by providing useful content more often than promotional content. Otherwise, you run the rush of turning off your subscribers, at which point, they will either begin ignoring you or even unsubscribe.
A good starting point, as outlined in Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, is to share three pieces of useful, non-promotional content for every one piece of promotional content. I suggest sharing at least five pieces of useful content to every one piece of promotional content though, because people today are deluged by promotional content, so providing more value ensures you stand out from your competitors.
It’s also important to use a legitimate email service provider, like AWeber, Mail Chimp, or Constant Contact, rather than just sending marketing emails from your personal account. This provides you with powerful list management tools as well as analytics that help you improve your results.
One final note on building an email list: don’t add anyone without their explicit permission. You’ll only annoy them and make them not what to buy anything from you.
Earn inbound links
Links from other websites to yours are the lifeblood of SEO because they are one of the metrics that search engines place the most value on. Without them, your likelihood of ranking for competitive keyword phrases is about as high as Donald Trump being asked to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Committee.
When building links, quantity matters, but quality is the most important factor. Skip the easy tactics that seem like low hanging fruit, including:
- Bulk directory submissions (For that matter, with a few exceptions, directories are a waste of time and money.)
- Paid links
- Sitewide footer and/or sidebar links
- Social bookmarks
- Comment spam
- Article directories
- Link wheels
- Guest posting on websites with little or no editorial oversight
- Pretty much any “link building service” you find on Fiverr
Instead, focus on tactics that build high-quality, natural links. This is not very scalable, but it also means it will be difficult for your competitors to replicate, which gives you an advantage over them.