Content Marketing, SEO/SEM, and Market Automation are three relatively inexpensive digital marketing techniques that will supercharge your small business marketing
Marketing your small business is an essential way to reach a wider audience. While digital marketing has been around for ages, it is constantly changing, and new techniques appear every day. To help you market your small business, we have a few different digital techniques that have proved to work, time after time. They are relatively cheap and can have a big impact on brand awareness
When it comes to digital marketing, content marketing is a strategy that many people can use, and even higher numbers of people could benefit. Unlike other forms of marketing, content marketing can help you communicate with and educate an audience about your products or services instead of just continually selling to them. Potential customers tend to have a negative view of one-side (sell) communications.
Content marketing works best when the Brand Message, delivered via high-quality blog posts, matches the targeted audience’s needs. While this might not sound like a revelation, few invest their sweat equity into clearly defining their target audience and building an in-depth understanding of their needs. Most just assume and start executing. This is a lost opportunity and a wasted effort.
To define your target concisely, a market segmentation analysis is the best first step take. Market segmentation allows a small business to identify a group of potential customers where its products and services are perceived to have greater value or where the small business holds a competitive advantage.
Once the target market is identified, it’s useful to create a persona for that segment. A persona takes an intangible group and creates a relatable person or character. It is much easier to create quality content when you consider it a conversation between you and another person. You are developing a connection with another human being versus some abstract set of demographic (age, gender, etc.) data.
Once a persona is created, it easier to find people who fit that persona, and use the social media platforms to listen to what they are saying. Potential customers are always telling us what they want. It is a marketer’s job to listen and decipher what they mean.
If you understand what the target audience wants and how it wants to receive it. The quality of all your communication will increase as will your conversion rates. You will be able to brief a web design agency, so you end design yields the best results.
Influencer marketing is costly, and you are only renting space in their target’s mind. Content marketing can help you become an influencer.
I’ve been using the ProStrategix blog for almost two years now and using its content in our social media marketing effort. It helps us boost our influence by enabling me to share my experience for the benefit of others. If you’re looking to get into content marketing for your business, Entrepreneur.com talks more about it in their article “10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth” by R.L. Adams. Adams’s article talks about some of the most important information for your blog, including how to start and maintain a content marketing strategy of your own.
First, let’s talk about these terms. Many use them interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. SEM is the net effect of both your paid search and your organic search on your website traffic. SEO forms the foundation of your organic traffic, but pay-per-click advertising can help by giving you access to keywords that are beyond your reach. Using both SEO and SEM in concert is a great way to leverage online marketing. By identifying the keywords that your target uses, you can reach him or her with your content or a call to action (CTA).
When you combine the best practices of content marketing, SEO, and SEM, your business can really succeed if you reapply your learnings from the first section to your landing pages. Google Analytics can help you to continually optimize. By optimizing your content, landing pages, and keywords, your conversion rates are likely to improve significantly. To go into a bit more depth, each will be discussed in turn.
As mentioned earlier, content marketing focuses on actively promoting valuable, quality content to your target audience. There are three concepts in that statement that are worthy of more detail: actively promoting, valuable content, and target audience.
The target audience should be a group of people, who are part of a distinct market segment. A distinct market segment is a part of the overall market, who have common characteristics, needs, and respond to the market in the same way. For example, a value shopper market segment shares common characteristics (low disposable income), needs (want the best value), and responds to a price change in a predictable pattern. We went into this in detail earlier so we will not repeat it.
Valuable content is information that helps your target audience better meet their common needs. Using the value shopper example, content focusing on how to get the best value for X is likely to be viewed as valuable. It helps to solve the market segment’s common need regarding how to stretch their disposable income further. By interacting with your target you help build your brand awareness.
Lastly, there is the final concept of active promotion. Active promotion doesn’t always require spending money. As in the value shopper example, it could be as simple as promoting it on the social media channels they use or interacting with them in an online forum. But, you do have to do more than just post it.
The most important concept to grasp in SEO is how your domain authority (DA) affects your ability to compete for a set of desirable keywords. Most small businesses fall in the zero to 50 range.
If you are below 30, you should be looking for keyword phrases of 4-5 words with monthly searches under 100. If you are in the 30-50 range, you may be able to compete for keyword phrases of 3-4 words and a monthly search volume of under 1,000.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is how you gain access to keywords that your DA would otherwise make it impossible to reach organically. SEM is the smart mix of both. Use SEO to garner more traffic via long-tailed keyword phrases, while you work on building your DA. Supplement that effort with targeted PPC. As you build backlinks, increase traffic, and demonstrate a lower bounce rate, your DA authority will rise.
The Balance has a great overview of SEO/SEM by Laura Lake titled 10 Strategies for Marketing Your Business Online. If you’re looking to increase your digital search engine marketing efforts, Lake’s tips can really help you out. She looks at SEO from several angles, including blog writing, press releases, contests, email marketing, and more.
While it might sound futuristic, using AI in your digital marketing strategy in 2020 is both smart and possible. Single Grain has an article about “42 Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020,” but their first few examples revolve around AI and artificial communication with your customers. Using marketing automation doesn’t mean having robots running your company or anything. Instead, it allows for a shortcut to reach out to your customers more efficiently and in greater numbers than your human resources can guarantee. It’s a handy skill to master. Single Grain’s article also looks at how chatbots can be incredibly valuable as a form of marketing automation that still acts human, so you can expand your customer service with exponential costs.
To summarize, here are the three strategies and techniques I recommend to help market your business digitally:
Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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