Last Wednesday, Panasonic sponsored a webinar with Entrepreneur.com and SMB expert John Jantsch focused on “The 7 Essentials Stages of a Total Online Presence.” During the webinar, John shared his expertise and insights on building and managing an online presence for small and medium businesses. Read on for the seven stages and tips on executing each of them.
1. Content Platform: SMBs must be good at amplifying their content by providing content that is worthy of sharing and passing on as a resource. Good blogging software, such as Word Press, will allow SMBs to drive content and provide value exchange, also known as lead captures, with customers. These lead captures, which can include eBooks, tip sheets or how-to’s, direct customers to relevant landing pages that house beneficial and specific content.
2. Organic SEO: Research and search engine tools, such as the Keyword Spy, SEO Book and SpyFu, can tell SMBs what exactly their customers are searching for. They should write content that is optimized with these keywords and phrases. Then reach out to other bloggers who can write guest blog posts, or vice versa, to provide links to their pages, highlight their online profile and begin attracting links back to their content.
3. Email Marketing: SMBs should begin using an email service provider (ESP) due to improved functionality and deliverability. The three most important elements of email marketing begin with (1) building a comprehensive email list of customers, (2) having a consistent communication tool, such as a weekly newsletter, to interact with customers regularly and drive them back to landing pages, and (3) building an email campaign to market products, services or content by sending emails and utilizing the tools of the ESP, such as auto-responders.
4. Social Media Marketing: Social media is a great SMB marketing tool for many reasons, including following up with prospects, staying top-of-mind with customers, keeping up on the industry, providing customer service and developing a partner network. Essential social media networks include LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Some networks worth watching include Pinterest, The Fancy, Slideshare, Instagram and Ning.
5. Online Advertising: SMBs should avoid using online advertising until they have mapped out a long-term strategy that is similar to an editorial calendar. Most are familiar with PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, but what’s most important is being certain they can drive people who click on their ad to relevant content. Online advertising allows SMBs to ‘test’ their conversion rates inexpensively and helps the SMB understand how successful they are in driving people from one point to another.
6. Mobile and Location: These days, it’s necessary for SMBs to make their websites mobile-friendly. If they use WordPress they can add a mobile plug in, such as WPTouch, or use a responsive-design theme, which will automatically adapt their websites to fit users’ mobile device screens. Mobile ads are also a valuable tool that SMBs should consider. They’re worth the investment given the current number of mobile device users.
7. Analytics and Conversion: Google Analytics is another valuable tool for SMBs. Analytics can be integrated with Google Ad Words to provide visibility and understand how marketing efforts are paying off. Webmaster tools are a valuable asset because they will help SMBs master SEO. Most importantly, SMBs should become familiar with conversion funnels because they allow SMBs to see the trail of their audience and how successful their ads have been in driving conversion. Recommended conversion tools are fivesecondtest, ClickTale and UserTesting.com.
While these seven stages are listed in order of importance, they are also cyclical and intended to be repeated continuously with each step improving upon itself through experience. If you missed the webinar, you can view the replay online at ow.ly/ftCcz.