We were asked recently to make a presentation to the Business Growth Hub in Manchester, on the very loose subject of growth opportunities. Being a website and SEO company, we obviously wanted to put an online spin on it. Oh….and we had 15 minutes to deliver something memorable.

Everyone in business has serious demands on their time and therefore its difficult to carry out every marketing task that’s required from them. Therefore, we figured an intensive tutorial on THE most vital online marketing  elements to channel your valuable time into, would give the biggest bang for buck – and the best opportunities for growth, of course.

Know your market

Of course, it goes without saying that you know your market. But how well do you know it from an online viewpoint?

For instance, some make assumptions about what potential customers type in to Google. Chances are they’ll be missing how their product or service is seen from a customer perspective, often assuming the customer uses industry terminology that they, in fact, don’t know.

Ensure you’re aware of any customer perceptions of your product or service name

As an example, an old friend of mine used to work as a doorman in Manchester City Centre, but insisted his job title was ‘input/output technician’.As you can see, if he’s looking for work online, he wont get many callers referring to himself that way!

Always consider the various stages of awareness  your customer may go through

Another area where people miss out on potential customers, is by always talking about the solution ie the product or service you offer. Your product may be the answer someone is searching for to a particular problem, something they would buy in a flash – if they only knew it existed. Obviously, with a healthy budget, you could just plaster it all over the place and have an award winning TV ad running 24/7. However, if that’s not the case, how are you going to spread the message?

People will be looking for your product, but not overtly. They could be searching by typing in a description of their problem or need. Without the content on your site (or third party sites) discussing that need, they wont find you.

Allocate time to carrying out in-depth keyword research

With all the variations of keywords and phrases your potential market may be searching under, it’s vital to carry out thorough keyword research prior to optimizing your existing content and before creating any new content. In fact, in an ideal world, you should do this prior to even planning your website.

Get to know the new Google keyword planner – a great tool for identifying your target phrases. You can see which ones are likely too difficult to rank for and also those which don’t get enough searches.

Quick Tip. Look at keywords and phrases that your competitors use. Check their title tags and even look out for any bolded words on the pages as these are a fair indication of their target phrases.

Advanced Tip.  Of the visitors you currently get, is there a distinction between those who are likely to convert and those that do not? Look at Google Analytics under the search section of Traffic Sources.

You can see what was typed in, how many typed it in, how long they stayed and whether they went deeper into your site once landing there. Loosely speaking, the bounce rate gives you a percentage of visitors that dived straight off your website without going any further – an indicator of whether they found what they wanted after typing in that keyword. If its a low figure, then invest more effort into gaining ranking for that phrase as its the term you’re more likely to convert from.