When I sit down to talk to clients about their internet marketing strategy I'm often surprised how quickly the conversation gets lost in details and lacks clear objectives and goals. After all when you sit down in a meeting you want to have a clear idea of what you plan to discuss and what you want to achieve. Often however, because I'm a professional in the space I forget that the plan inside of my head may not make complete sense to my client when I try to explain it.
That is why I now always talk about the three Cs of Internet Marketing. This gives me a framework around which I can organize my thoughts and in which the clients can better understand the complete strategy and action points. The three Cs are in a certain chronological order and need to be addressed accordingly. Strategies revolve around these three points and always in this order.
Your internet marketing strategy starts with creating content. It doesn't matter if you are a plumber, blogger, or widget salesperson; you must create online content. Content is IMPORTANT because it sets the stage for everything else you do. Creating content gives you added credibility in your profession. Content gives you informational products to offer to entice people to join your email lists etc. Content gives you something to publish to social media networks on a regular basis. Content gives search engines something to read and index in reference to your website and what you are about.
At the very beginning you must map out an internet marketing content strategy. Use these questions as a guideline to help you define your content strategy:
- What are you going to write about? It should be related to your industry/products/services. It should have a wide audience. It should be generic enough that you can create endless amounts of content moving forward.
- Where will you need to publish the content? Your blog is an absolute must but you may need unique content for newsletters or info products to giveaway.
- How often do you need to produce content? Consistency is key so decide in the beginning how often you can commit to publishing new content.
The second C is all about getting visitors to your site and followers in your social media and email lists. One time visitors to your website are an important part of your community plan but ultimately they will come as a bi-product of your focus on content and building the other communities we will discuss.
You should really be focusing on getting more people to join your email list, Facebook Page, Twitter Profile, YouTube Channel, and any other social profiles you focus on. Just creating content and sending it out to the world is not enough to believe that people will just start to find and follow you in these different mediums. Here are some pointers to consider as part of your community internet marketing strategy:
- Putting a widget (like the one over there on the right) on your website that quickly allows visitors to find your social media profiles is a good idea but don't think it will be enough all by itself.
- Building a Twitter following is as easy as being able to target your audience and then follow them, and give them ample reason to follow you back. Here is a larger overview of the software and strategy I recommend. Here are other Twitter tutorials.
- Building a Facebook following is more difficult that Twitter because you cannot solicit users and ask them to “like” your page. You need to use your other communities (offline and online) to drive people to like your page, and this will go much more smoothly if you give people an incentive to “like” you there. Do product and service giveaways and contests. Produce unique (valuable) content that can be found exclusively on your Facebook page.
- Building your email database is as simple as giving people a compelling reason to join your list. Offer a Free Report, a Free Preview/Trial, Free Training or Video Tutorials, or an E-Book. The more compelling the offer the more likely people are to give you their information.
This tends to be the easiest part of the strategy for most of my clients. Most of us already know how we want to make money on our website. The bigger problem tends to be in getting enough eyeballs to look at what we are doing and offering. In case you don't know fully how you can profit from your website and it's content read this guide that explains how websites make money.
Commerce boils down to providing products that are targeted for your audience. This doesn't mean you have to produce or sell the products yourself. Many website publishers generate their revenue in affiliate marketing opportunities.
I hope the three Cs of internet marketing serve you as a road-map the same way they have served me and the many advertisers and small businesses that I work with around the country!