For successful businesses, marketing is all about seizing opportunities. It’s a chance to roll out attention-grabbing campaigns and find new ways to engage customers. More than ever, it’s also about staying on top of technology developments and trends. And of course, these days it’s all about online marketing. With opportunities to market on the Internet, but you have to know where and when to do it.
First things first.
Whether you’re a small business with revenue that comes from local buyers—or a larger company with a full-blown digital strategy—if you don’t have a well-built, well-managed website, you’re losing business to companies that do. I’ve see it firsthand, time and time again through my work with clients. Too many companies are losing in the marketplace for this very reason. But the good news is there are other ways to thrive online beyond having your own website. The hottest online marketing tools are free and easy to use—and even better, they can build your business 24 hours a day. Are you using them to build yours?
Get Pinning on Pinterest.
As we move into 2014, image-centric content will rule the Web. As consumers are constantly bombarded with information, it’s more important than ever to make content quickly and easily digestible. Enter Pinterest—the social media site that lets users “pin” images and videos they find online to a virtual pinboard and share them with others. Because it’s such a visual medium, the site is especially effective for pool businesses looking for a way to showcase great-looking products. Smart businesses are already taking advantage of Pinterest for advertising and style trending. Take a look at some of the larger companies that are using the site and getting it right.
L.L. Bean’s Pinterest page focuses on what its target customers like to do rather than the products. The boards showcase everything from fishing to “outdoor fun.” By giving the impression that customers like a certain type of activities, its target audience will feel like L.L. Bean would work with their lifestyle. Its impressive 5.6 million followers must like its approach.
Lowe’s has gained almost 3.6 million followers by focusing on specific boards about a single topic including, “Grillin’ and Chillin’ and “50 Projects Under $50.”
Beauty retail giant Sephora has grown its Pinterest following to over 200,000, making sharing extremely easy on its e-commerce product pages, which has made Pinterest.com a top-10 referrer for its website.
According to a 2012 report by Experian, Pinterest was ranked nationally as the third most-popular social network based on traffic. If you want consumers to find you, it’s time you got pinning!
Are You on YouTube?
The popularity of video content is obvious to anyone who uses the Internet—and at the center of this revolution is YouTube. With over 1 billion unique monthly users, YouTube is the second-most popular search engine online, and it happens to be owned by THE most popular search engine online—Google. With such an active user base, YouTube has become a hot site for businesses looking to promote their products and services. But not every business gets results from their YouTube videos.
Success on the site depends on what you want to accomplish. You can showcase your products in action, broadcast tutorials or even create an entertaining piece with the potential of going viral. But creating a video with great content is only half the battle—promoting it can be a bigger challenge. So before you click the “upload” button, make a plan.
- Create an SEO-friendly title for your video that effectively communicates what it’s about. Use one sentence with appropriate keywords so it’s found by the right people.
- Once you upload it, post and share your YouTube video on your other social media platforms.
- Send an e-blast to your existing customer base with the video embedded or including a link to it.
- Dedicate space on your website or blog for videos. Simply copy and paste the video’s embed code where you want it displayed and you’re good to go.
- Write and publish a keyword-rich blog post about your video, making sure to embed it.
- Write a press release about the objectives your YouTube video aims to achieve and distribute it online through free or paid PR sites. Don’t forget to include a link to the video and/or check if the site will let you embed the video in your release.
YouTube is no longer just a website for cat videos. Top videos are shared and gain millions of views, amassing thousands of dollars in ad revenue. As a business, you can’t afford to ignore YouTube. It’s time to catch the eyes of more customers.
If you’ve yet to tune in, Houzz is a stunning and highly addictive social media site for residential remodeling, design, décor and landscaping. For users, it’s a source of inspiration, resources and eye-candy for those looking to improve the style of their homes. As of early 2013, more than 150 million photos have been uploaded that about 14 million Houzzers ask questions about, comment on or save to their “ ideabooks”—personal collections of images for later reference.
Houzz’s images come from nearly 250,000 businesses in the U.S. and Canada, showcasing their work, creativity and products—giving them a new way to interact with clients and potential clients. The pros can ask and answer questions, and chime in on live discussions with contractors, designers and homeowners itching to upgrade. Clearly, this is an invaluable tool for pool businesses! Not only can you showcase your goods, but you can establish yourself as a true expert in the industry.
- Use it as a communications tool. When it comes to look and feel, photos communicate in ways that words really can’t. Houzz bridges the gap between your technical knowledge and vocabulary, and homeowners’ desires. While you may throw around words like hardscaping, bond beams and grottos, they may fly over the head of consumers. Communication is the key to happy clients.
- Make your voice heard. By contributing to Houzz’s conversations and articles with your own knowledge, you show potential clients your willingness to be involved and solve any inevitable issues that arise in a project—qualities that can help build an initial relationship.
- SEO comes into play. When users perform a search on the site, Houzz puts a high value on the number and quality of posted photos, reviews, questions you’ve responded to, and if you have a Houzz badge—the widget to let clients link back—on your website. Those with the most interactions get to the top of the search results. When you post a photo, use the right keywords to describe what’s in it. Think like the consumer. If you’re posting a picture of some great pool decking, be sure to include that in the title.
The more effort you put into Houzz, the more benefit you will get from it. Consistent engagement and dialogue within relevant conversations are critical to your success. Think of it like any other social media platform and check in several times a day.
There are plenty of other tools that can help you create a powerfully interactive and effective online presence. If you want to take your business to the next level and create a marketing powerhouse online, meet the experts at Aquarius Designs at two of our upcoming seminars. As internet marketing specialists, we will help you understand how you can use the Internet to bring in targeted traffic that converts into sales.