Tie Your Marketing Initiatives Together

We talk a lot about SEO here, but optimizing your website to rank well in Google is just one part of an entire marketing campaign. For some businesses, it’s not even the most important part. Depending on where your leads come from, you might not even care where Google places you in its rankings!

I’m not talking about achieving some kind of Zen-like state, but if you like the idea that you may not need to worry about your rank in Google, you should take a step back from your business and look at it as a whole. What products or services do you offer? Who is your target market? How do they use your products or services? How do your products or services fit into the rest of their lives? And, perhaps most importantly: where do they hang out and relax in a way that they’d be receptive to your message?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll get a better picture of how you can generate leads. That’s important, because it changes the nature of your website and how you use it in your marketing. If most of your lead generation happens when you interact with your target market face to face, for example, your website may function as a glorified brochure with some good additional “evergreen” and relevant content. But you may not have time to blog – and given how you’re using your website, and what you’re doing to generate leads, that’s probably okay.

For some kinds of businesses, it might make a lot of sense to spend some quality time on social websites. Those can be a good adjunct to other marketing approaches – if you pick the right social site, and if you’re not there JUST to market yourself. Think in terms of your customer; what value are you giving them by being on that website?

As an example, Ravelry is a social website for certain kinds of fiber artists. Some local yarn shops maintain groups with forums there as another place for their customers to socialize and to inform them of upcoming events. It’s not that the business doesn’t have its own website – but their customers are more likely to be doing stuff at Ravelry than to visit the yarn shop’s site. Maintaining a presence on the social site reminds customers about the shop – and hopefully they’ll remember it the next time they’re ready to purchase some yarn!

Whatever approach you use, you need to put your website’s URL on nearly everything you send out. It should definitely be on your business cards, stationary, invoices, any business pages on social websites (like the ones that Facebook offers), and so forth. That’s the first and most obvious way to unify your marketing. But there’s more.

Say you’re an ice cream parlor with a Facebook business page in addition to your regular website. You use the Facebook page as your primary means of promotion, and you regularly announce special events there – like the local no-kill shelter bringing some adorable, adoptable animals to your location. You can include a link to your website in this announcement.

If you’re smart, you’ve set up your website link to point visitors directly to a landing page with more information about the event. You shouldn’t make this link point to your home page…unless you’ve changed your home page to include information about the event. That unifies your marketing initiatives, and helps to keep your visitors from getting confused. Remember, users click on links for a reason; if they don’t see any mention of the reason they clicked, they may think they’re in the wrong place or get confused. Confusion is a bad feeling, and you do NOT want your visitors to associate it with you or your website.

So don’t think of your SEO as separate from the rest of your marketing. Think of it as one part of a larger whole – a message that will be the same regardless of where your customer sees it. Good luck!

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