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Online Marketing Strategies 101

There’s two major ways to advertise online, one is using paid advertising programs and the other one is using free advertising platforms. The idea is to send targeted internet traffic to an offer in order to get responses and feedback from interested prospects.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising can come in different forms but the most popular ones are called: SEM (search engine marketing) using PPC (pay-per-click), display advertising, shopping networks, video advertising using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads, just to name a few. The idea behind PPC is a simple one, advertisers are only charged by networks when their paid ads running are clicked on and prospects are directed to the web pages or landing page offers. Depending on the type of industry or niche market and advertising networks, PPC prices can vary greatly from.50 cents to $60.00 or more each time a prospect clicks on a running ad.

In general insurance, loans, mortgages, attorney services are among the highest cost-per-clicks. Obviously, the most expensive advertising network is Google.com with their AdWords program. It’s a powerful money making machine if used properly. It could also leave you broke if don’t properly understand the platform. As long as you have the budget and the know how, you can really make a different in your overall conversion and ROI (return on investment).

There are other popular paid advertising methods out there using social medias and their paid advertising programs again using PPC (pay-per-click) technologies. Networks such as: Facebook have a huge and also powerful paid advertising program called Facebook Ads with the option to also use Instagram Ads since they also own that social network. You can also buy paid traffic with Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, YouTube Ads (AdWords program). Besides that, there are other social media paid advertising platform such as Snap Chat and Pinterest that are also gaining ground.

The advantage of using paid advertising is the quick entry. The paid traffic is offered almost immediately once you finalized your advertising campaigns and it’s officially approved by the network. The drawback is that you need a good marketing budget to collect important data insights, test and fine tune to get satisfying results.

Free advertising

First, let’s get something straight about free traffic and web page positioning in the search engine result page also known as the acronym (SERP). Google and other search engines rank web pages and not websites. You can have a web page from your website that appears on the first page of Google for a particular keyword query while other pages of the same website are nowhere to be found in the search result pages for the same keyword query.

Google and other search engines will give priority on their respective first page results based on their algorithm (mathematical equation) which contains many ranking factors. The six most important ranking factors are as follows:

1- On page optimization, the action of making a web page compatible to search engines and also human friendly (meta tags, keyword selection, interlinking, etc.)
2- Great relevant content
3- Back links (relevant links from other high authority sites pointing back to your web pages)
4- UX web page design (easy to navigate for a good user experience)
5- Page load speed (the time it takes to load a web page)
6- Responsive design (each page must be compatible to mobile devices)

So the job of a webmaster is to prepare each page of the website using search engines industry standards best practices. In return, search engines will provide the best possible match to the users searching for a particular subject. Google thrives to always deliver the very best of user experience and sets the bar very high for webmasters to provide The ” Wow ” factor each time a user lands on a web page following a search engine query.

How to build back links?

As mentioned above, a back link is created when an external website links to your own website. There are many ways to build back links and get free traffic on the internet. The most common way is to post articles on social media sites with a link back to your website to get some post engagements. Also submitting content articles to well-known article directories will also get you some good website visitors to your money pages. Among many good article directories, at the top of the list is EzineArticles.com which really helps SEO organic search result ranking with strong back links due to its long time presence online. The directory is also considered an authority site in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

Another popular way is to create and submit interesting videos to YouTube and other well-known video sites. Another method to get good quality free traffic to a website is using directory submissions. Guest blog posts are also very popular where an author has the permission to post an article in a popular blog site therefore gaining a strong back link. Forum posting is also a familiar way to create strong back links as long as the topic is relevant to the web page it links to.

The back linking process for organic search results should be created slowly but steady. Search engines are very smart now days and can spot spammy links a mile away. It’s always advisable to use white hat (ethical) methods when building back links to avoid being penalized by search engines.

In conclusion, it’s always advisable to use many marketing channels to get your marketing message across. Use both online traffic generation methods, paid and free organic traffic building if your budget allows it to get the momentum going.


Effective Lead Generation Through Digital Marketing

How to Increase Your Small Business Lead Generation

Lead generation is a critical component of many different businesses. Take an insurance agency for example, whether you’re providing car, life, home, life, health or business insurance, you need to understand how to consistently get more customers and utilize your sales funnel.

A lead is a person who has shown interest in your company’s product or service in some way.

You want them to buy something from you, but you need to spend some time building up the benefits and wooing them to entice them to choose you over your competitors.

A lead generation funnel centres around a large number of names being poured into the funnel. Over time, you identify which are viable targets, then hopefully turn those targets into prospects and finally convert to buyers as they move down the funnel to purchase.

Direct marketing goes way back in the world of insurance sales, but the internet has made it much easier for insurance companies to get new targets and automatically follow up with potential clients.

If you’re using online marketing strategies, it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night and your business is closed – your insurance agency can get new clients anytime, anywhere.

There are 3 steps to this process:

1. Generation

This is the first part of the journey, where you generate the initial spark of consumer interest or enquiry into your products or services.

Ideas to start trying to convert targets to paying customers include:

• Asking people to sign up for your email newsletter

• Encouraging people to fill out an online form for a free consultation

• Using an exit intent popup on select webpages

If you’re doing SEO, SEM, social media marketing and content marketing well, you should have a large number of visitors to your website and social media accounts, where you can initially engage new clients.

Note that Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires you to receive consent from recipients before sending messages. Make sure you ask people if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter before you start sending your finely-crafted marketing materials to their inbox!

2. Qualification

Not every prospect you capture is going to become a sale. You need to have an effective process of filtering through all your leads to find the best ones. Otherwise, you’ll waste time on audiences that will never convert.

For example, a prospect who lands on your site, visits your “Pricing” page and enters their information into a form to download your free report is more valuable than a person who lands on your site, reads a blog article, then leaves.

Here’s an example of lead generation through digital marketing from everyone’s favourite gecko.

3. Nurturing

This is the step where you’re focusing your efforts on providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Some examples are providing targeted marketing content and email personalization.

Studies show that compared to traditional marketing, content marketing and email marketing generate 50 percent more leads. It’s important to create original, quality content if you want to attract customers – especially because a lot of insurance information is confusing to the average person.

Content marketing helps you get discovered on social media and in search engines.

Then, you can help drive new referrals organically. Appeal to potential clients’ needs and pain points with solution-based content and you’ll get their attention.

Through continuous nurturing with valuable content, people will start to think of you as a trusted source and authority.

The Importance of A/B Testing

You’ll never know quite how successful any campaign is without testing it! A/B testing is a popular way of determining what works and what doesn’t.

You should be testing the effectiveness of one element at a time to determine what is actually responsible for an increase (or decrease) in traffic or conversions. The more time you spend testing, the better results you’ll see.

Some things you can A/B test include:

• Adding or decreasing text or white space on your website

• Changing a call to action in your email or on your site

• Changing a headline or block of text on your sales landing page

Finding new clients is hard work. So is working hard to stay ahead of your competitors. Will it be easy? No. But if you put in the time and energy you’ll see your insurance marketing strategies pay off!

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.


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