4 Pillars of Online Marketing Success

4 Pillars of Online Marketing SuccessToo many businesses are overwhelmed with social media, and for good reason. Even those with abundant resources cannot manage all of the major social media channels well. Facebook advertising alone is a major undertaking.

If you narrow your focus to one or two channels, then it’s only a matter of building the discipline of doing at least one thing each day to get results. We’ll get to that later; because social media is just one of 4 pillars that comprise a solid online marketing foundation.

Here they are in order of importance.

#1 – An Optimized and Responsive Website

Online marketing always starts with content. So, every business needs an SEO optimized and mobile responsive website as its digital home. This is why I’m partnering with New Rainmaker to help small businesses build and maintain this essential digital marketing asset.

Besides educating your community about how your business can help them, the primary purpose of your website is building your list.

#2 – A Growing Email Newsletter Audience

Yes, growing your email newsletter list is just as important as having a first class website, maybe more. This content marketing asset is your business lifeline. It’s how you can reach out to your community, regardless of what’s happening with the social networks.

#3 – A Regularly Published Blog

Now you need a place on the web to share your content. This could be any of the social media channels, but I’m going to suggest starting with a blog on a domain you own. Here’s why.

Most newsletters only have an open rate of 20%, more or less. So, for a small time investment, why not extend the life of that content in part or full by publishing it to your blog? There it will live forever, and be available for sharing on the social web.

#4 – One or Two Active Social Media Channels

Once you have those three components in place, it’s necessary to choose your best social media networks. Considerations should be YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. These are the majors.

To give you an example of how this works, take a look at the social shares on this podcast interview with Google+ expert Martin Shervington. Martin focuses on one network – Google+. Those 200+ shares are proof that his engaged Google+ community is enormously responsive to what he shares with them.

That’s all there is to this. Create content that serves a useful purpose. Own it. Then use social media to build a community around it that loves it as much as you do.

Here’s how to build the practice for doing this well.

Build the Discipline of One

This is very simple. Just create a daily or weekly plan of one activity that will improve your online marketing. The key is actually writing out a schedule and sticking with it. If you need a free source for downloading blank calendar templates, try this one.

How is your business doing with each of the 4 pillars?

Most of us need to upgrade our websites. Try breaking that down into small action items. Then do one thing every day that leads to their completion. In regards to your newsletter, blog, and social media updates, your business is either doing them consistently or it isn’t.

In addition to scheduling your online marketing, consider scheduling your other sales and marketing activities. I have a daily schedule for calling and emailing at least one small business association that has hired me in the past for reconnecting and letting them know new ways I can help their members. This can also be a good time to ask for a referral.

Smart marketing is simply doing smart things consistently well. Tweet this

To get there, just start with consistency and the “doing them well” will come along soon enough.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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Grow Your Business Audience Without Google

Grow Your Business Audience Without Google Depending on leads from sources other than the friends and customers in your business audience is a dangerous plan.

You may know that Google recently killed Google Authorship. In a nutshell, this was a feature that allowed authors of original content to share the authority of search results with the sites publishing it.

Many of us are scratching our heads for the motivation behind this change. It seemed to be the right thing to do for authors, while also personalizing search results to make them more credible.

Nevertheless, what really matters is what we can learn from it moving forward.

Your Friendship with Google is Conditional

A lot of people think Google is their friend. That may be true, but it’s a friendship with conditions.

Google’s mission is to deliver the most relevant information to people doing a search. The most important factor in determining relevancy is the authority of the source of that content. Other factors such as recency matter too, but authority trumps them all.

Your authority is derived from the people you influence. Their response to your online content in terms of social shares and links validates your authority. This earned authority naturally contributes to your content ranking highly.

In other words, you have to earn your friendship with Google by bringing your audience with you. It’s a condition.

Google needs great content, but it favors sources that have a large and loyal following. These are the people whose businesses are doing just fine without Google. However, they obviously will take all the help they can get.

This is where you want your business to be. Take Google’s help to expand your audience and circle of friends further. Just don’t depend on it.

Instead build your audience and own it. Of course, you don’t really own the audience, but you do own the content and the platform if you build it properly.

Check out the New Rainmaker Platform by Copyblogger to build an an amazing WordPress website without any technical skills whatsoever. They help you build it and own it.

Earn the Trust of the Audience You Now Serve

Every business has at least one customer or it’s not a business. If you read the introduction to Built-In Social, you will recall that realization was the wake-up call that literally got my landscape business up and running. (Note: If you don’t have a copy Amazon recently dropped the price of Built-In Social)

Your business has limited resources. So, allocate what you can to optimizing your business for search, but never neglect your primary responsibility of helping the business audience you have now. It always works.

Your audience of email subscribers is primarily customers, friends, and potential customers. Why else would they be consuming your content? They are your first line for referrals and recommendations because unlike Google or Facebook, they will always be there for you.

After reading this, you may think I do not trust Google. Actually, I do. I simply trust my friends and clients more. And equally important, I can reach out to them any time I wish.

Google sends us our share of leads, and I’m here to help you get yours too. Let’s just be smart about not becoming overly dependent on that source.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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Social and Mobile are Universally Global

While vacationing in Mexico this week, I could not help but notice that even in this developing country, mobile is not the future – it’s here now, and bigger than one might have expected. While the quality of running water in this little resort town may not be up to the standards most of us […]

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