Think of online marketing and promotion as managing your online reputation and presence. If you mess up online, or put up something awful, then it's there for everyone to see until the end of time, and it makes your business look bad. Even something as small as a tweet or a web page can do harm to your online reputation, especially if that one thing shows that you don't know what you're doing when it comes to online marketing. So you can at least "fake it til you make it", or find someone who can make it without faking it, here's what you need to know about online marketing and promotion:
Your Website is Central
Even if you have all the other online marketing techniques mastered, i.e. social media, email, SEO, but all of that means nothing if your website isn't the best it can. The fact that you have well-optimized pages doesn't help much if your website only have four pages total, and the fact that you have a ton of followers and email subscribers doesn't mean anything if you are directing them to a website built in 2002. Keep the content fresh with business blogging, video content, and/or a resource center, and make sure that it looks professional and modern at first glance. No web visitor (or potential customer) wants to run into weird formatting, broken links, or messy/confusing web design.
Tip: Your website needs to be more than static and brochureware, but also easy to use and easy on the eyes. If you're thinking about improvements, or are wondering if you need improvements, make sure to avoid some of these web design mistakes.
It Can't be All About You
Sure, everything having to do with your online presence has your business' name slapped on it. However, what makes online marketing and promotion different from offline tactics is that your presence can't be all about you, your products/services, and how great you are. It's too easy for potential customers to tune out, and most of the time they aren't necessarily looking for you, anyway. Your potential customers care about their own needs and problems, and will find whatever addresses those needs and problems, whether that's you or not. Potential customers also want to know who will address those needs and problems best, and with the most expertise. When conducting your online marketing and promotion strategy, keep those motives in mind.
Tip: This doesn't mean you should never talk about yourself, just keep in it moderation and/or keep it away from sections that are meant for customers and potential customers. For example, create a separate company news blog for your business or follow the 50/50 rule when it comes to social media sharing.
You Must Consider Conversion Rates
It's great if you have 1000 followers on Twitter and 5000 subscribers to your business blog, but what do those numbers mean in terms of increasing sales for your business. Don't forget that with online marketing and promotion, you ultimately want to increase leads and sales, not just traffic and brand awareness and other numbers that don't impact the bottom line (although factoring those things into the overall picture isn't bad). This means that when measuring your online marketing and promotion efforts, you need to look at how these efforts are contributing to sales and not operate those efforts without that insight.
Tip: If you need help monitoring your conversion rates, then a tool that we recommend is HubSpot, an all-in-one marketing software. It's what we use, and it measures the conversion rates of our web pages, email, social media, and landing pages.
Choose Where You Put Your Online Presence Wisely
When creating and managing your online presence, when implementing your online marketing strategy, you do need to consider where you are directing those efforts and putting your business. Sure, there are 20+ social media sites out there, several press release distribution sites and thousands of blogs that could cover your latest happening and give you a backlink. But, you don't need to be on all of them, and you certainly shouldn't be wasting your time getting on all of them. It's better to build your online presence organically instead of trying to solicit it.
Tip: You don't need to be in any specific place, except online. Don't waste time trying to make Pinterest work for you if your success on Facebook and Twitter are suffering because of the diverted attention.