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4 steps to building an online marketing strategy

Your web presence is essential to your company’s success

3-minute read

When Pierre Martell started his home building business, he believed he could stand out from the competition if he could persuade customers he would deliver on time and on budget.

But how to get the message out to customers? The answer was an online strategy focused on a good-looking website where customers can log in to follow every step of their home’s construction.

The results have been dramatic. In a few short years, Martell has built a booming business that owes as much to his savvy use of the Internet as it does to hard work and craftsmanship on construction sites. The company employs eight people and works with 100 to 500 subcontractors, depending on the time of the year.

The heart of Martell’s digital experience is what the company calls the “client log-in.” Here, clients access a personalized web interface. The key features of the log-in are a calendar, showing milestones in the home building progress, and a running tally of changes to the project and budget.

Connecting with customers

On the calendar, clients can see when they have to make selections for their new home, such as windows, flooring and countertops. With a click, they can make an appointment directly with suppliers and once they’ve made their selection, the supplier places the order.

The only way to differentiate was to truly focus on the client experience and we lean toward information technology to do that.

Today, an online strategy is critical to the success of most small and medium-sized businesses, especially when it comes to finding and serving customers. Here are the four steps to pull your online strategy together.

Agile marketing framework

1. Build

Your first job is to create a basic digital presence for your business, including a website, e commerce tools and social media properties that are all adapted to mobile devices. You can use free or low-cost tools that can be scaled as you learn, improve and grow your presence. Your goal should be to get going as soon as you can.

2. Drive

Next, you need to drive potential customers to your online properties. This involves creating content that positions your company as an expert in your field. Think about the questions your customers ask you every day and you will have topics for your blog, YouTube videos, eBooks and other online content.

Then, get your content and marketing messages in front of customers via social media posts, a monthly email newsletter and buying online ads. And finally, help people find your company online with search engine optimization techniques.

3. Measure

Once you start getting traffic to your site and social media properties, it’s important to set goals for your online marketing efforts and then measure how you’re doing using analytics tools. Obviously, you’ll want to monitor sales, but you can also track many other metrics such as how many times your visitors ask for a quote, leave comments or download content. You can also monitor where your visitors are coming from, how long they stay on your site and where they go while they are there.

4. Optimize

Finally, use what you’ve learned to build and refine your web presence as part of a continuous cycle of improvement. It’s best to start small and focus on simple, incremental improvements to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Using data from your analytics tools, find out what’s working and what isn’t on your website, social media pages and email marketing. Then, experiment to see which tweaks improve your results.

To learn more about how to improve your online marketing, download our free guide Attracting and Selling Online: A Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs.