Starting a new year is often a time of personal reflection to determine areas of personal growth for the new year. Likewise, January is a great time to reflect on areas of growth for your small business. When it comes to marketing and your small business’ digital presence, you may feel overwhelmed by the variety of avenues, platforms, tactics, and strategies. Rather than giving up before the year even begins or chasing strategies in (what seems like) 50 million directions, check out our suggestions below to focus your small business on 4 key marketing avenues and successful tactics in each of those avenues.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s presence so that it appears high in search results, thus being more visible to potential site visitors. There are a few things you should keep in mind when pursuing SEO as a marketing strategy.
- Be keyword smart. While focusing on specific keywords can impact your rankings in search results, diligence is needed. You can't simply include any phrases that come to mind and expect to rank for them. Careful keyword research must be conducted to target the right keywords that matter the most to customers and are actually used by your ideal customer looking for your business. Additionally, avoid using keywords too often in your content (keyword stuffing), which makes content unnatural and can actually hurt your rankings.
- Only use “white hat” tactics. With hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO tactics available, it can be easy to fall into the trap of using shady “black hat” SEO techniques, thinking that they'll get you results faster. Yet, these prohibited tactics will really only earn you hefty penalties from search engines.
- Complete all page elements. If you want increased visibility in search, it's not enough just to fill a page with content. You'll need to provide optimized meta descriptions, image alt text, proper title tags, relevant schema, and so on.
Learn More about implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a part of your marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing
Billions of people use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It's no surprise, then, that marketing on such platforms can yield great results. Here's what you should know about social media marketing.
- Not all platforms are right for your business. More is not better. Quality is better. What kind of business you have dictates where your audience can be found on social media. Don't waste time staying active on the wrong platforms or spreading yourself too thin posting on every popular social network. Do your research first. Focus on the social network(s) with the highest concentration of your audience and ones that work well with the type of content your company can consistently produce.
- Your audience expects quality and consistency. Whether you're sharing blog posts, pictures, videos or anything else, your audience expects high quality. They also expect you to deliver such quality content on a regular basis. Don't give anything less.
Need help getting more out of your social media marketing efforts? Reach out to our specialists to see how an expertly crafted social media plan can make you more efficient and effective on social media.
You've probably seen email marketing in action and know that it can be an effective way to engage an audience directly in their inbox. Below are a few tips for doing email marketing the right way.
- Deliver Value Every Single Email. First and foremost, your email must provide value to your customer. We aren’t talking about a special promotion or info on your latest products. Yes, those can be helpful if you happen to hit the customer in the right time of need, but if you are only ever “selling” customers on your email list, you will quickly earn many unsubscribes. Value can be created in many different methods. For instance, you could have a digest of useful, new blog posts and articles that answer questions or solve customer needs. The goal is that if your current or potential customer opened and read the email, they would gain some sort of value out of the email itself.
- Personalize as much as possible. No one wants to feel as if they're just one insignificant name on a massive email list. Simply including each person's name in your emails can go a long way in making your business more likable, which can translate into other benefits including sales.
- Use clear calls-to-action. Often, the best way to get people to take a desired action is to ask them outright. Leave no room for confusion as to what you'd like them to do and more people will act. Going back to point 1, this isn’t always “make a purchase” or “schedule an appointment.” It could be as simple as view our blog post to get 3 additional tips on topic X.
- Test and test again. Not all emails are equal. Some work splendidly, while others fall flat. Figure out which emails get the greatest response from your audience and create more of those. Use subscribers’ data and behaviors to both better understand your customers and tailor future content to deliver more value.
If you’re interested in seeing examples of how to deliver value with email marketing and translate that into additional revenue, contact us to learn more.
One of the most common forms of online advertising is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. What should you know about setting up such paid campaigns?
- Start with a reasonable budget. You'll want to see how well your ads are working before you spend the entirety of your advertising budget. If a particular ad is not working well, you'll need to improve or stop it. If it is performing well, on the other hand, you may want to increase the budget. Starting at a reasonable level will allow you to make shifts comfortably.
- Prioritize targeting. Identify the portion of your audience that's most likely to convert after seeing your ad and tailor both the add and your audience settings to them specifically. In doing so, you'll likely see better results from your campaign and keep costs down.
- Never stop optimizing. Paid Advertising campaigns are not set-it-and-forget-it. If you treat them that way, then you’ll quickly lose out on future possibilities and end up spending money on underqualified leads. Examining and tweaking individual ad performance, targeting settings, keywords/negative keywords, etc. are all critically important to increase the success of any given campaign.
Learn more about the different types of Paid Advertising options.
Getting Started with These 2019 Marketing Tactics
Of course, there are many more facets of marketing than those we've considered. However, the principles upon which the best practices above are based apply elsewhere and can contribute to your overall small business marketing success. If you have questions about a concept discussed here or are interested in a free marketing consultation, feel free to contact us!