Digital marketing tips

Working the web: How to master your online presence

There’s no escaping the impact of e-commerce in today’s global business landscape. And why would you want to? Last year alone, online retail sales topped US$2 trillion worldwide. It’s expected that the B2B e-commerce market will climb to US$6.7 trillion by next year. The key to ensuring you get the biggest slice of these e-commerce pies depends on the strength of your web presence. For those of you who recognize that your online efforts aren’t as stellar as they should be, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. By the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll know exactly what steps to take to improve your web presence.

Beyond search engine optimization

There’s a reason we call our company seoplus+. While SEO, or search engine optimization, may be our core service, it’s only one part of the overall digital marketing equation. The “plus” part of our name stems from the belief that there are other critical components required to achieve true web presence optimization.

Our clients typically fall into two main categories:

  1. Those who are more technically aware, understand the need to ensure every aspect of their online presence is the best it can be, and who are usually very hands-on throughout the process.
  2. Those who view their online presence as a necessary evil. When you start talking about SEO, SEM, PPC and SMM, their eyes get glassy and they’re only too happy to hand the reins over to us. If you fall into this category, no worries. It’s easier than you think and I promise it won’t hurt a bit.

If you use Google, then you already understand the SEO basics

Chances are you perform several Google searches daily. When was the last time you looked beyond the first few hits? That’s par for the course, since 90% of users don’t look past the top 10 search engine results. Making sure your business ranks high on the list of search engine results is critical to your business, since the higher you’re positioned, the more likely customers will be able to find and buy your goods or services.

Mastering digital marketing in 5 easy steps

Effective digital marketing is one of the best ways to find new customers. There are a number of elements that fit together to create a comprehensive and successful digital marketing strategy. Remember, it’s important to work on the first four elements together since they rely heavily on each other.

1. Website

Make sure your website is modern, accessible and mobile-friendly. Last year, more than half of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. Ideally, your website should load within two-to-three seconds. You can test yours out at PageSpeed Insights. Be sure to engage in visual storytelling, using high-quality photography and videos that create a lasting impression.

2. Content

Brevity is key in our attention-challenged era, so keep it simple but compelling. Make sure your home, products and services, and contact pages all have unique content. Blogging is an effective means by which you can share your expertise not only on your own site, but through your social media channels as well. What’s more, it’s an inexpensive way to improve your search engine rankings. Use Google Analytics to discover how your visitors are interacting with your site. If your visitors are dropping off at a certain point, you’ll need to improve that part of their experience.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When developing your SEO strategy, remember that websites that have more links from other sites rank better on search engines. There’s a number of ways you can improve your rankings, including registering with Help A Reporter and using SEMRush. Reach out to a digital marketing company if you’re feeling out of your depth in this area. It will be well worth the investment.

4. Social media

Don’t try to engage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram all at once. Rather, pick the two that will work best for you, and do them well. Consistent and compelling output is key, so have a content strategy and calendar in place before you start. Don’t make the mistake of overselling, as you’ll turn off your audience quickly and likely permanently.

5. Paid advertising

Once you have your website, content, SEO and social media elements working in concert, you can look to online advertising to really boost your exposure. Google Ads is your best bet. Since you can pay to drive active traffic to your site using specific keywords, the conversion rates are quite high. Facebook Ads is another avenue, and while capable of narrow targeting, the conversion rates are lower because visitors tend to be more passive. 

You can’t argue with results

There’s nothing more satisfying than producing results for your customers. It’s especially gratifying to hear clients who initially thought of their web presence as an evil chore, to later embrace it, and banter about their web analytics, like tech savvy entrepreneurs.

Retooling your web presence can have a huge impact on your bottom line. To illustrate, we helped one B2B company increase their organic traffic by 90% in just two years, which really ratcheted up their sales. Having built up an excellent reputation here in Canada, they were looking to grow their sales into the U.S. We helped them identify the particular markets they needed to focus on, then developed an SEO strategy to help them build traction.

  1. Starting with keyword research—which involves evaluating the different terms and trends around what customers are searching for—we identified both demand and competition levels for our client’s products.
  2. We then inserted those keywords throughout their website content, which enabled them to start ranking during Google searches. Up went the traffic.
  3. But it’s about more than driving up numbers. Ultimately you want them to do something once they get to your site: contact you or place an order. It’s what’s called conversion rate optimization, or CRO. In this case, despite the uptick in traffic, we discovered those numbers fell off at a certain point while on the site. The culprit? A contact form with far too many fields for prospects to fill out. By cutting those fields in half, we were able to generate twice as many leads.

Sometimes even a small investment can pay huge dividends. Take, for example, a sideline micro-business client we had who wanted to sell wholesale hygiene products to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We used Google Ads to set up specific campaigns for each market at a rate of about $20 a day. The campaigns generated leads at an average cost of $10 each. Not bad when you consider that each sale was valued at roughly US$10,000. In fact, our client had to pause their ads because they couldn’t keep up with the demand. That’s a nice problem to have!

My advice: If you want to connect with new customers, then be sure you’re connecting with them online. Make sure your web presence is optimized and remember that little steps can net huge returns in the multi-trillion-dollar world of e-commerce.