How to use the Internet as a profitable tool for business
"Are you tired of wasting time and effort on social marketing that doesn't provide any return for your business online?" "Want to know why content marketing and SEO aren't driving traffic and generating leads or sales?
In a recent study by Forrester, it was found that social media is not a significant driver of eCommerce - contributing just 1% overall. Even if they got it wildly wrong and it is more like 10%, it's still a stark indictment of social media's ability to drive business.
That kind of goes against the grain, right? It's not what everyone's been telling you.
The problem for business is whose advice to follow. It's not easy to decide when entire industries (such as social media), complete with services, spring up overnight promising vast riches for minimal effort.
This article will look at why business fails to generate substantial ROI (Return On Investment) in the online world, and how to streamline and focus your efforts to turn the Internet into a profitable tool for your business.
Why your content and marketing aren't driving traffic
The promise of the Internet is that it provides an opportunity for anyone to publish content in order to attract new readers and convert them into clients and customers. That much is true. It's very easy for a business to start a blog or website and publish content for everyone to consume.
The problem is that people are used to high quality content - such as the type provided by large media companies and publishers.
This means that the vast majority of traffic sticks to trusted and recognized sources of high quality content.
The main points here are that your target audience wants professional quality content from a trusted source.
This means your business has to:
- learn how to publish content of a quality that meets or exceeds the standards of popular media companies
- do so consistently and persistently enough to build up trust and authority as a source of high quality content
Since the time and resources required to become a professional media company is generally not within the means of a normal business, their content, SEO and online marketing efforts fail to gain meaningful traction.
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How to get a positive return on investment online
There are two ways you can change the equations and generate a positive return:
- Resolve to become a leading social influencer and trusted source of content
- Decide what resources you have to invest online, and work out how to get the most from that
If you select option 1, then you will likely need to find someone to advise and guide your business. Expect to pay a decent amount because anyone who knows how to create Google dominating content and build social influence to make money online, is likely already doing it.
Since trust and authority, that lead to social influence, can only be built up with time, option 1 is at best a medium term investment.
Focusing on high return SEO, social & Internet marketing
Selecting option 2 will allow you to remain focused on your core business offering (without becoming a media company to boot). However, you need to pick and choose your battles based on what you want to achieve, and what can reasonably be achieved.
Since the majority of all Internet traffic originates with search, and high ranking content leads to sustained, targeted traffic from search engines, the best strategy for driving highly relevant traffic that converts well, is to:
Create high quality, focused and relevant content that ranks well in organic search
A good example of high ranking content comes from SME Pals that, despite being less than a year old, dominates some pretty competitive search terms in Google, like:
- marketing ideas for small business
- best small business software
- local seo tips
- online business ideas 2012
Getting to the top of Google search for highly relevant search terms is arguably the single most profitable way to generate revenue for your business online.
To do it takes a combination of technical SEO (HTML, CSS, file aggregation, caching, performance, etc), great content SEO, compelling content creation, and social media integration.
Remember that great SEO and compelling content lead to trust and authority which are the precursors to social influence. In other words:
social influence can be derived from great content and SEO
Implementing profitable SEO, social & Internet marketing
At this point you have three options open to you:
- hire a professional to create and drive your SEO, content, social & Internet marketing
- hire a professional to train you
- learn how to do it
Finding someone who is simultaneously technical, analytical, strategic, and creative is not easy. Expect to pay handsomely for the right SEO/marketer. Remember that the investment in doing things right will bring a positive return - as opposed to a smaller investment in doing things poorly, which will bring no return at all.
If you are intent on learning SEO, social marketing, content creation & Internet marketing, then you will need to read the following articles to get started:
- Top five questions to ask your head of digital marketing and SEO
- Top 10 online marketing tools & services for 2012 - 2013
- How social influencers can grow your business online
The process of learning and mastering the skills associated with SEO, social media and Internet marketing (but especially SEO) is something that requires a medium term outlook.
The days where a company could put up a single page website and start receiving traffic from Google are gone. Every business now has to produce as much high quality content (high quality = compelling + well written + SEO + relevant + focused + shareable) as their budget and resources allow.
The good news is that the vast majority of businesses (including your competitors) are getting it wrong, and wasting their time and money. This means there is opportunity.
Get SEO, content & Internet marketing right, and there is plenty of scope for you to start driving quality traffic and increasing revenues.
What ROI have you gotten from your content, SEO and Internet marketing campaigns? If you have had great success, share why you think you succeeded. If you have not had the return you wanted, tell us what you think the problems are.
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