opensignIn spite of the convenience and practicality of doing business online, many businesses still prefer to stay traditional. For new businesses, this could prove to be a fatal mistake. A study on new businesses revealed that businesses that are not online and easily available to Internet users have a higher chance of failing.

Aside from this scary scenario, there are at least four reasons why a business should never go offline for more than a couple of days – even during their off season.

Reason #1 You’re missing out on free exposure

You’re not just missing the opportunity to be viewed by millions from your side of the world. You are missing on worldwide exposure! If done properly, Internet marketing can generate leads and improve brand recognition even during off season. There are apps galore that you can use to tap into new markets and expand your database.

Do you realize that even if it is off season where you live, it could be peak season in other countries for your product? For example, if you are in the business of surfboards and beach wear, it may be snowing in your corner of the world right now (freezing even!) but in Australia, they are in the middle of their summer months – and it is hot!

Reason #2 It’s the right time to start connecting with people

The downright truth is that there is never an off season for connecting with people. Digital economy never sleeps or experiences a down season for the same reason as stated above. There is always something happening somewhere! This means whatever your product, if it is something consumers can use – then you can market it all year round. The key is finding the right formula to market to specific markets. For instance, you cannot market to Asians the same way you market to the western countries. Just recently, Absolute Vodka launched a marketing campaign in South Korea that led to a catastrophic result. The South Koreans were up in arms over the ad to the point of rallying in the streets against the brand; an ad that would have worked just fine in the United States.

Reason #3 You have time to let your creative juices flow

During the busy season, you don’t have enough time to do everything for your business. For many, it’s a struggle to keep up with the demands of running a business when your product is most relevant to the consumers around you. With the off season, you can take time off to come up and test new ideas in marketing, promotions, and strategies.

Start writing fresh content. Write as much as you can and schedule the posting so that when the busy season starts, you have enough well-written material to use.

 

Reason #4 Study your past analytics and search for trends and ideas for the upcoming season

Your off season is actually just as busy as your peak season because this is the time for you to work on the plans and strategies for the upcoming season. Study past months’ analytics and see what loopholes you can plug and issues you can avoid. This is the time to brainstorm and mentally prepare yourself for a new season.

Work on building your SEO so that your website is visible and easy to find. You can also work with paid search at a lower budget so you don’t disappear altogether.

You can also develop your logistics and start accepting orders from around the world. There is actually a lot of work to be done here whether you have an actual product or something digital like information or expert services.

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Internet marketing means telling the world you’re in business. It’s the equivalent of putting a huge sign on your brick and mortar store, placing ads in local newspapers, and activating rotating spotlights in the sky. Getting new customers is tough if they don’t even know your company exists.

The bare minimum of Internet marketing is having a web presence. Search engines list websites if the user types in just the right combination of terms. But your company’s site may nearly impossible to find otherwise.

If you want to increase your audience (which can translate into increased sales), you can use a variety of marketing techniques, but there’s so much you can do while still focusing on just the website.

Keep Your Website Relevant

When was the last time your online presence was updated? The content and the design should get tweaks from time to time. If it has flashy images or popups, make sure they’re comparable to other websites’ techniques. Change the copyright at the bottom to reflect the current year. Research your competition and keep up with the latest technology. The online world changes so quickly.

Mobile-ize

Websites users aren’t stuck at their desktops anymore. In fact, according to comScore, mobile has overtaken desktops in media and website use. Is your website optimized for mobile viewing? Do you know how it looks on a tablet or smartphone? Does your site load easily if the device isn’t connected to Wi-Fi? Are the icons easy for fingers to tap? Does it navigate intuitively? How does it look in different browsers and with different operating systems on mobile devices?

SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website rank higher in search engines. When someone enters search terms into their favorite browser, the hope is that your site shows up on the first page. Sure, this can be a lofty goal when there are millions of websites out there, but that’s the whole point of SEO. Understand what your prospective customers are looking for, and hopefully your SEO expert can help your site rank higher for those terms. As with the rest of the Internet, SEO is constantly changing. Do your best to keep up.

Analyze Constantly

Do a baseline analysis of your company’s website using analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics). Then set some benchmarks and re-analyze the initial markers. Has website traffic changed? Are visitors coming back repeatedly? What pages are popular?

Analysis can also come in the form of surveys or other direct feedback methods. Numbers only tell so much of the story. Pay attention to reviews, ask your visitors what they think of your website, or even test things out using your employees as reviewers.

Improving your Internet marketing doesn’t have to be mind-boggling. While you can employ a variety of strategies, concentrating on your website alone is a sound way to make progress. Keep informed and keep up with the times.

guy-on-pcIt’s no secret that marketing your business online is essential, so pretty much every company already has online real estate in place. But with the non-stop, seemingly overnight Internet changes, it’s no easy task deciding what strategies to implement – and when.

So where do you start? Should you research a dozen Internet marketing articles for the newest techniques? Look at what your competitors are doing? Stand frozen like a deer in headlights?

Before getting overwhelmed with the possibilities, the first step is to analyze what you’re already doing. If your company has a website and a blog in place, it’s time to stand back and take a super close look at how those things are working for you. Let’s cover a few of the most important data points to gather before you do anything drastic.

Is Anyone Visiting Your Site?

Using website analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Mint, and GoSquared), find out how many people are visiting your site. Daily and monthly visits are the most important to note. Internet marketing goals usually include increasing visitors, so you need to know where you are right now.

Who’s Visiting and Are They Coming Back?

Obviously, this is closely related to the first data point. Just because you have 1000 visitors each day doesn’t mean they’re relevant. If 900 of the visits are from the same person, your message isn’t getting out there. If you are getting a lot of new visitors, it may not mean very much if they take one look at your site and never come back. Your website’s goal is to get a variety of people who find enough value in your website to stop by and want to come back to learn even more.

How Was Their Visit?

New people who keep coming back is great, but what did they do there? Did they spend time on various pages (page views and pages per session), take one look at the site and click away (bounce rate), or stay a long time (average session duration)?

Where Did They Come From?

Finally, how did your company find your online property? Some may have found you directly by typing in your URL. Others may have clicked on a search engine suggestion (organic), clicked on a link in an article (referral), or even been led there by a social media post (social). Knowing your traffic’s source(s) can help you decide what highways you want to focus on for future campaigns.

This list isn’t exhaustive – you can definitely find out more about your website using other data points. But don’t get bogged down with this first step either. Once you’ve done some of this background work, start deciding what your website goals are. Armed with this information, researching strategies won’t seem so overwhelming.

seo-blogMost individuals and businesses that want to be seen on a Google search will need Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It simply means showing up on the first three pages of a Google search. Although SEO can be explained easily, achieving it is another matter.

As of October 2014, there were a billion websites according to Netcraft, an Internet research firm in the UK. Google, the top search engine in the world, continues to make changes in its algorithm to ensure that Internet users get the best results from their searches – and to maintain its lead among all other search engines.

Some of the major changes in Google’s algorithm were Panda (2011), Penguin (2012) and Hummingbird (2013). Panda was done to filter high-quality websites from poorly designed sites. Penguin was done to check links and weed out unnatural links because according to Google, using these is part of what they consider “unethical.” Hummingbird was not exactly an algorithm change but more of a complete overhaul of their indexing methods and overarching algorithm. This affected how websites are now ranked. These changes and updates will continue to emerge and often without warning. Google is famous for announcing the new algorithms after it has been activated. The result? Your website will suddenly drop or go up in ranking depending on the quality of your website – according to the search engine’s standards.

These are just the major changes. As far as small changes in the algorithm are concerned, it happens about 500 times a year. It is possible to make an intelligent guess when an algorithm is changed because there are visible signs. The most visible sign would be volatile movement of your website’s ranking. Some of the reasons for the most recent movement last June occurred with websites that:

  • Had more ads than content.
  • Had too much sponsored content.
  • Had generic and/or thin content.
  • Had issues with indexing.

Although it isn’t possible to foresee changes in algorithms, it is possible to be prepared for any such event.

  • Make sure your website follows the high quality standards (front and back end) of the top search engines.
  • Keep content unique, high quality, and informative.
  • Use social media hyperlinks.
  • Avoid overstuffing.
  • Use high-quality links

You should also consider getting a professional to step in and monitor your website occasionally. You don’t need a full-time consultant to do this but having an expert team keeping tabs on your website and giving you recommendations will go a long way in preparing you for the inevitable algorithm changes. Don’t be like Demand Media, a company that was soaring high in 2010 as the 17th largest web property in the country with over 105 million followers, only to tumble and crash after Google changed its algorithm. The website had to make drastic changes in its website – changes that continue to this date. As of August 2016, the website has only managed to climb back to 71st place – a far cry from its 2010 status.