Small businesses do not always have the time or resources to dedicate much to their marketing efforts, but they have a lot to gain from interacting with customers online.
Strengthening your online presence is a highly effective way to grow your business, or accelerate your impact. These digital marketing tools can help you find new customers or supporters, and create deeper engagement with your brand. And, as an added bonus, these strategies are easy to implement, cost-effective and accessible to organizations working at any scale.
Creating quality content is the first step to attracting more people to your business online. Research shows that 47 per cent of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content prior to making a purchase or connecting with a sales rep. Not to mention, publishing new content regularly is great for your SEO. Aim for snappy and engaging copy, strong visuals and messages that hold real value for your audience.
Pieces that are original and informative are valuable to the reader — and they’re more likely to be shared by readers with their networks. Consider your brand’s strengths and insights, unique to its position in your field or industry. Then, think about the interests and pain points of your intended market. How can you bridge the two with your own native content?
Choose the format that fit the story you are trying to tell. Bite-size content like lists or image galleries are highly shareable and increase your brand visibility. Longer-form pieces give you the opportunity to show off your expertise and position your brand as a thought-leader.
Being active on social media is essential for any business, both as a way to increase visibility and as a customer service tool. Focus your efforts on a few platforms where your customers already are. You can significantly improve your SEO and generate leads by dedicating as little as six hours a week to your social media, according to Hubspot.
Set yourself up with a scheduler like Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, or Hubspot to send out posts throughout the day. Make use of your social accounts’ free analytics to determine when the peak times are to post, and to see what type of content is performing better.
Algorithms, and social media users, love posts with visual content. Content with a visual component is more likely to be shared than other types. Find influencers that align with your brand and engage with them so they will share your content. You can reach out to offer a trade of product or payment for their user-generated content promoting your brand.
To keep your approach current, follow some social media blogs (like this one) to make sure that you are keeping up with best practices and platform updates.
Our third pillar is search engine optimization. There are a few simple ways to optimize your website to boost your organic search ranking without paid searches. Your first step is to evaluate your website as it stands.
Get started by signing up for Google Webmaster Tools which will identify any issues that need to be resolved. Going forward, make sure that when you create new pages you are always filling in all the metadata that Google needs to make your content easier to find. Remember to add descriptions and alt-text to your images to make them searchable as well. Google also favours longer-form content, so do not be afraid to publish pieces with a higher word count. Hubspot found that the 2,250-2,500 word range is the “sweet spot”.
Do some research into what keywords are the most valuable to your business and — depending on their popularity — whether or not you will be able to rank high with them. More generalized and highly popular search terms will not lead to conversions as often as a more specific search. The person searching for “car dealers” is probably not as ready to buy as the person searching for “Honda Accord Sedan 2017.”
With a little time and research, upping your SEO game can get your site to appear closer to the top of search results.
This three-pronged approach can serve as the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. Creating quality content, being visible on social networks and optimizing your site for searchability are all ways to effectively market your brand, without blowing the budget.