How Social Media Marketing Can Help Your Business

Online competition is fierce and do you want to enter, succeed and do more than continue? The answer is yes, and a well thought out marketing strategy via social media will do the trick. Ok, what is social media marketing?

Simply defined, it refers to the use of online marketing tools that people use every day to disclose content, views, welfare, understanding and media itself, and in conjunction assisting online relationships – linking groups of people.

Now social media has been defined, here are the necessary tools; bookmarks, blogs, forums, podcasts, networks, communities and wikis. There are other equally versatile sites in the promotion of social media; Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, and Stumbleupon.

“..the appropriate implementation of social media will noticeably elevate the silhouette of SME products or services,” explains Adrian Burke MBA (Marketing) Distinction, of Weblytics, a UK-based strategic interactive advisory consultancy”. SME teams can use Web 2.0 and social media campaigns to spawn valuable links, fashion relationships, breed direct sales, and build a company’s influence in their particular commercial niche.

Do you want easier access to more people?

There is a rise in the reputation and awareness of social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and more and more businesses are utilising these sites to access relevant people for their business niches. Crucially, social networking sites have online tools, which allow messaging, chatting together with link/file sharing and we must not forget message boards, online communities, blogs and social bookmarking sites.

It is better to have a more engaged,loyal audience and a method to do this is qualified social media. Social media has the ability to bring a diverse group of people together through shared welfare, which already gives SME’s a distinct benefit. If SME’s reach larger audiences who already have interest in their industry or niche, then they are more likely to capture a target audience of higher quality.

Customer value proposition; articles written for social networking sites, initiate a point of contact for users and exchange of ideas with users, businesses form’s relationships that are more intimate with latent. As a business you are interested in creating rapport, direct and immediate feedback benefits, and businesses will learn directly from their customers what has been successful and what areas need focus to enhance. Direct comments, questions and concerns to the point of contact once a rapport with their online community, sharing feedback is made easier.

Sharing content is the real power and the advantage of using social media to reveal content, businesses keep their online community up to date with news, events and what the business has to offer. Quality content generates online interaction and stays up to date by promoting dialogue on the topic at hand or product for sale.

Increased referrals to your website, will drive important traffic back to the website. Bookmarking and sharing content related to the business, users will accomplish this and these valuable visitors will generate a greater chance of online purchases.

Online Marketing Essentials – The Customer Funnel

There are basically four methods

Direct to vendors sales page web site
Direct to the purchase page
Via your own squeeze page
Via your own website
Lets look at these in more detail
If you send the customer directly from your ads to the customer sales page you have no need for your own website. This means no hosting fees and no web skills required, hopefully the vendor sales page will do the selling and result in sales. This is good if you have no web skills at all or want to get started quickly. Although most web hosting companies now offer ‘no skills needed’ template built web sites. On the downside you have no opportunity to capture the customer or offer the customer any additional products. Also if you use affiliate links to the product they will clearly be seen by those in the know. There are ways of ‘masking’ your affiliate link but none are very good unless you have your own website. One quick option you do have is to simply buy a domain name. You can then set ‘forwarding and masking’ on your new domain name so that you can use that in place of your affiliate link to get to the vendor sales page. If you want to get up a running swiftly then this is a good option in the short term.
Sending traffic directly to the purchase page is pointless if the customer has not already been given the guided tour of the product and set up ready to buy. For new starters this not a realistic option. The reason for sending directly to a vendors purchase page is to bypass his sales page if it is not converting customer leads. You will then have to convince the customer to buy the product yourself. You will need to do this either on your own website or squeeze page. (See 3&4). This is an advanced marketing technique but not for a new starter.
Sending traffic to the vendor via your own squeeze page is a good idea. What you effectively do here is pre-qualify your leads. The better qualified your lead the better chance of a successful sale. If your squeeze page is very good you may bypass the vendor sales page altogether and go straight to purchase point. Worth offering the option on your page! You will also use your own domain name to get to your squeeze page and not your affiliate ID URL. On the down side you need to host your squeeze page in the same way as a web site. You also need to ensure that your page enhances your sales and not reduces them using a continuous improvement process.
Sending traffic via your own website is a great idea. You have the opportunity to mask your affiliate ID and you can capture customer details for ‘back end sales’. Long term this, or a squeeze page, must be your options. Also you can sell your own products from a website if you have them and offer content that will draw the customers back to view the website again, giving further opportunity to sell. With a web site you can also start to create your own brand and have a domain name and corporate image to use in all communications. Long term this creates recognition and more customers confidence which results in more sales. The downside is that you really need some skills in web site creation but there are plenty of tutorials and new applications that make it very very easy – honest!
Domain Name and Hosting
You will need a domain name and a hosting account if you going to put up a website or squeeze pages. You really can’t beat VodaHost at this game. They have the simplest and cheapest way to get a professional website up and running. They give away their BlueVoda (check out the video) web site creator which is absolutely the easiest one on the planet and it is not limited in functionality either. You simply buy the hosting and everything else, including your domain name and unlimited web space and bandwidth, is free so it is likely to be cheaper than other hosting companies who end up charging you for all the separate bits which can often come to quite a large monthly sum. Another big plus is that everything is integrated and I do not think any other hosting has this. i.e. you create your website in BlueVoda and you can upload it with a single click. No need for third party FTP or slow web based file managers.

Create a Complete Article Marketing Campaign

Writing and distributing articles is the best way to direct traffic to your website. Many businesses both online and offline have turned to article marketing for a variety of reasons. They know that through marketing with articles they can prove their knowledge of the products or services they sell.

About 75 percent of consumers check online prices and store locations before they make a purchase. They read reviews and informational articles to get a better understanding of the products they shop for. You need to create a complete article marketing campaign that puts your articles in front of your target demographic.

The old saying “Information is Power” is truer now more than ever. The more information you can give about a product or service, the more likely you are to attract new customers. Businesses thrive on sales. Get your information in front of the people who need to see it and increase your website’s conversion rate.

Hire a Ghostwriter for Articles

Ghostwriters are talented writers who specialize in one thing: creating the highest quality articles possible. They understand the importance of thorough research and sticking to the niche. Ghostwriters make it their business to know what search engines look for and proper keyword placement. They will create the best informational articles possible for your complete article marketing campaign.

Entrepreneurs and webmasters often hire a professional ghostwriter for articles. They may even hire more than one ghostwriter to get a broader variety of articles. They choose the articles they feel best represent their business and submit them to article directories for publication.

Choose to market using articles and you will see a noticeable increase in traffic to your website within 2 weeks. Article directories will publish each informational article and include a resource box that links to your business website. No additional sales information is contained within the article body itself.

The Article Distribution Process

A complete article marketing campaign includes distribution to several article publishers. Don’t sell yourself or your product short by submitting your article to one or two publishers. Deep and wide publication to thousands of article directories is the ultimate goal.

Several article submission companies guarantee your article will be published to tens of thousands of websites. Sites that offer something so amazing are not without their price. Your marketing budget will determine the number of paid article submission companies you will hire.

Free article submission sites are also in abundance. Some paid sites offer a free version of their paid service; always keep an eye out for that if your budget is small. Keep in mind that it is your article and you have the right to publish it on any article directory. The options are virtually limitless!

The Grand Finale of Article Marketing

No article marketing campaign is complete without distribution. You could hire a ghostwriter to write the most informative article ever written, but it does no good if no one ever sees it. Make sure your article, website and business get the attention they deserve. Choose article distribution services that will help you achieve the most coverage for your website.

In short, article distribution helps direct consumers to the right website. Over the years, consumers have educated themselves on how to make intelligent purchases. They look for information from a variety of venues before heading out to buy something. Market using articles and create a complete article marketing campaign to direct more traffic to your website. You won’t regret it.