So you’re looking for a great recipe for marketing your business online…just like Grandma used to make?
Okay, so Grandma barely knows how to use a computer much less how to market effectively, well, this is the perfect time to mention that, while she can make a mean batch of cookies, she’s not the most adept at navigating a website.
And if it’s your website, she’s probably going to head back to the oven before she makes a purchase or converts to a sale.
Okay, I get it, maybe Grandma’s not your target demographic, BUT if you can make your website pass the Grandma Test, I guarantee it will create a great user experience and increase your conversions.
So what is the Grandma Test, you ask?
Simple, if you put your grandmother on your website, could she use it without the assistance of the grandkids?
This brings us to one of the key ingredients to having a successful marketing campaign online – have an easy to use, easy to understand website.
Now without further adieu let’s mix in some other ingredients to get to making the world’s best Online Marketing Dish your users will love!
- Understand Your Brand Message
- Create an Amazing User Experience
- Craft Content that Offers Value
- Promote Your Content
- Build Trust
Prep: Your Message | Cook: Your Content on a Consistent Posting Schedule | Ready in: Times May Vary
Here’s the secret ingredient.
You have to know your brand inside and out.
Marketing is not your message, Branding is your message.”
Yup, you read that right.
Branding is comprised of your mission and values; it’s your story.
Marketing is just an extension of your brand, marketing is how you convey that message and the channels used to convey it.
Have you ever tried to explain the plot of a confusing movie or tried to tell a joke and forgot the punchline?
This is what your audience feels like when you try and sell them your products/services and you don’t know your own story.
Know your plot!
Not knowing who you are, what your business’s mission and values are, or why you do what you do immediately creates confusion.
When you try and tell your audience what you do and why they should care it should be clear, easy to grasp, easy to relate to.
Trying to market without a clear brand identity is like making bread without yeast. It doesn’t matter if you’ve mixed all the other ingredients together perfectly, without the yeast the dough doesn’t rise.
Your brand identity should be rooted in what makes your business (and you) special and unique.
Not knowing what makes your business special creates directionless marketing.
It doesn’t matter how many marketing classes you’ve taken, how many articles you’ve read, or what trends you’ve studied, without knowing your brand identity you have no direction.
It’s like giving someone directions to a place you’ve never been before.
Instead ask yourself: What pain can I alleviate my customers?
For example: Can you save them time or money? That alleviates their pain — the pain of losing money or time.
Do you have better customer service than the other guy? This alleviates headaches, for sure.
What unique value do you bring that your competitors don’t? In other words, what makes you different from my competitors. This is called your Unique Value Proposition.
Too often people try to market to everyone. If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary you know the fox that chases two rabbits will lose them both. Businesses that market to too many people go hungry every time.
Know your audience and, just as importantly, know who your audience isn’t — don’t be afraid to alienate those who won’t share the values your brand is presenting.
Think about it — how often does Nike waste their time marketing to gamers or people with sedentary lifestyles. The answer is NEVER. They don’t even try — it’s not their market.
Along that vein, do they talk about the comfort of their shoes — no. They talk about performance.
Guess what, this alienates a huge part of the footwear market.
Tons of people look for shoes based on comfort, but Nike has chosen not to sell to these people and instead grab up those looking to be at peak performance in their gear.
Cast the correct net knowing that if your net is made for big fish, smaller ones will likely swim right through, but when you pull it out you’ll have a feast.
When you hear about online marketing or SEO you likely hear about Keywords and Meta Descriptions, but these take a huge backseat to User Experience.
If you have a great website, with awesome content, but it is confusing to navigate your users will leave. This creates higher bounce rates (meaning when people come to your site and get confused about what to do they bounce out of there).
If you have a higher bounce rate than your competitor (even if your competitor has an inferior product), search engines will rank them above you.
This is because to search engines your competitor’s site appears more valuable than yours due to the fact that more people are using it and using it longer.
If you want to get better retention rates it’s important you don’t make your users have to do too much thinking.
The human brain burns an average of 320 calories on a typical day. I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
The irony is that this will take more planning (and, in essence, thinking on your part).
In fact, John Sweller, an educational psychologist proposed the theory of Cognitive Load, or the extent of mental effort required to accomplish a certain task. (If the brain were a computer cognitive load would be the amount of processing power required to do a task).
The goal is to lighten the Cognitive Load for your users.
An easy way to achieve this is to provide information visually rather than with text.
If you can say the same info in an infographic, an image, a chart, a button, etc. Instead of having your user pour through a flood of text then they will be more likely to interact AND retain the info you want them to.
Protip: Use video whenever possible.
Search engines are much more optimized for video content. After all, would you rather watch a 5 minute YouTube clip on how to fix a sink or read the 40-page instruction manual?
Also,don’t be afraid to change your website layouts.
When I was an artist I found that the eraser was my best friend because mistakes were never permanent. If something didn’t work I could change it.
Don’t be afraid to get feedback on your user experience.
I love to write short stories, and I find that it isn’t until you finish the first draft that you can get feedback to improve it. — it isn’t a story until the final draft and that requires feedback.
So don’t be afraid to change certain elements of the pages to make your user flow easier.
If a purchase requires several pages before the customer can checkout, they will probably get fed up and leave.
Challenge yourself to make any required action happen in as few steps and with as little information as necessary.
For example, on the homepage ensure that the user gets this information immediately:
- Who are you?
- How can you provide value (or benefit) to your users?
- What action do they need to take to get that value?
Put a Call-to-Action Button such as “Buy Now” or “Sign Up” right in the header so it’s the first thing they see.
If the user doesn’t even have to scroll to get that info that’s an easy cognitive load, my friend.
Content is abundant.
In fact, roughly 840 million new blogs are posted each year
To say that competition is stiff is an understatement, but believe it or not a lot of content doesn’t bring value or provides a poor user experience.
Make sure your content is skimmable by highlighting key points.
Also, make sure it adds value.
Answer a question that users need to know.
What have your customers been asking over and over? What information are they desperate to get answers for.
Also, make sure you offer something before you ask your new customers to act.
Remember they don’t know you yet so you need to prove that you have value.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen an email subscribe form, but nothing is being offered.
If you want to grow your email list offer something to get their email. Give your users a Free PDF List, Guide, or access to a Toolkit, special deal, or special content.
Give them something they will get value out of and that will make them want to give you their email.
In fact, I’ll take it a step further…
Do you know what the biggest missed opportunity in marketing material is? The business card.
Yup, you read that right. Think about it, how often have you gotten a business card and then it just ended up in the trash. Yet, we all have them.
Instead, print some valuable advice or list on the back of the card. Then when you introduce yourself, show the person your meeting the side with the info first.
Draw attention to how this can help them solve a problem.
Then, just as your about to part ways, turn it over and say, “oh yeah, and if you have any questions or want to follow up about this, here’s my contact information.”
See how many more calls and emails you get.
We realize this isn’t an online tactic, but consider it a bonus ingredient — like the cherry on top.
Now that you’ve crafted content that offers your users value, share it.
Share it on the social channels that fit your brand.
Don’t just put it on every social media channel, because your target market isn’t on every platform, and you will overextend yourself and burn yourself out.
Consistency is crucial so do your research. See where your target audience hangs out and focus on those platforms.
If you are consistent people will eventually know when and where to find you.
We live in a world of DIYers and educated consumers.
If this is the case, then why aren’t you providing them the information they are looking for.
Knowing the phases of user intent is important.
Basically, users travel through an order of intent before they take action.
First, a user wants to know WHAT — what it is you do, what it is you sell, etc. (At this stage they are not ready to make a purchase)
Then, once they understand the WHAT, they want to know HOW — how does it work, how is it different, etc. (They are still not going to buy from you but they are getting closer)
Next, if it is time-sensitive or event-based they will want to know WHEN
Finally, they want to know WHERE — where can I get one (they might as well have their wallets out).
Provide content that answers every one of these questions along the way steering them straight to you.
If you are the one that provided them the valuable information they will already be thinking of you or heck, they may already be on your website reading your content.
You may be afraid that providing them info (especially DIY info) will steer them away, but walking them through the phases actually increases conversions.
People often find it easier to pay a professional to do something, try it first and find it is more difficult than they thought, or are DIY because they don’t have the money to pay you to do it professionally.
Remember some of these people aren’t your audience, and the ones that are will be grateful to you for providing key info. You’ve already built their trust so now all you have to do is keep consistent and wait for the phone to ring.
Knowing your brand ensures you know the value you bring.
Create an amazing user experience by utilizing visual components over text and reducing the number of steps required for a user to act.
Craft content that offers value by offering your new users something that will prove your products and services are valuable. This can be a Free Download, coupon, or special offer in exchange for their email.
Promote your content on relevant social platforms, create a consistent posting schedule, and stick to it.
Build trust with your content by providing answers to questions your customers are dying to know. They are researching your products before they buy them so anticipate their needs and provide information to lead them to you when they are ready to act.
Low in Bounce rates
High in User retention rates
May lead to Increased Web Traffic, Purchases, and more money in your pocket
Need help with your Branding & Marketing Recipe?
I’d Like to Hear from You
Which ingredient from today’s recipe for successful branding & marketing are you going to try first? Or perhaps yo have a question for me. I’d love to hear what you have to share either way so leave me comment below and let’s chat.
Online Marketing FAQs
How can I be effective at online marketing?
Create an amazing user experience
Understand the Phases of Intent that customers travel through when researching products and services
Craft content that offers your audience value
Promote your content
Build trust with content that answers common customer inquiries
Engage with your audience on social media
Don’t keep it all online — network!
Be consistent with your message, tone, and posting schedule
How do I market my small business online?
Verify your business listing with Google, Bing, and any other relevant listing citations
Round up all the relevant social media accounts with your business handle
Create content that answers common customer questions and adds valuable information to the topics they are searching for
Optimize your online SEO
Prioritize quality on-site user experience for your website
Create press releases
Use HARO to find potential PR opportunities
Contribute to relevant online communities
Use Local Business Schema Markup
How can I attract customers?
Research your target audience
Identify your ideal customer
Create a customer avatar to get a better sense of your audience
Focus on engaging with social media channels that are relevant to your audience
Engage with them on social media
Offer up surveys and quizzes
Focus on creating a relatable and engaging brand identity
Create content that answers customer questions
Position yourself as an expert
Offer a free digital download to grow your email list
Connect with parallel industries in your market that serve your customers but are not your direct competition