Whether you are a small business or a larger organisation, looking for ways to trim budges whilst boosting the bottom line are always front of mind. The ever-changing world of digital marketing, offers many different ways to promote your business that will not require a significant financial investment, however, it may impact on your time. Having simple tools in place, and established platforms, will allow you opportunities to speak to your clients and increase awareness or revenue streams.
Have a digital marketing plan and strategy
Trying to promote your business without an online marketing plan is like trying to find a red t-shirt with a blindfold on. You may get lucky and end up with the end result you want, but chances are you will waste a lot of time and money in the process.
Identify what makes you different from the competition, and what can set you apart. One very common mistake is considering everyone to be a potential customer. Even if your products or services appeal to a broad audience, narrow down your target so your message and approach can reach them directly.
While you want to make sure you are differentiating yourself from the competition, there is a lot to learn from your competitors. It is a good exercise to conduct a SWOT analysis. Check out what your competitors are doing online to uncover some new opportunities.
Many say that they often forget or run out of time to post their messages online. Invest in a platform where you can schedule your social media, videos and articles ahead of time. Using packages such as Hootsuite allows you to post to various platforms including the social platforms and keep track of how your customers are interacting with you and any mentions.
You can write your marketing plan down to the smallest detail, but without action to back up what is written, nothing will happen and your plan will fail.
Is your website ready?
So you are creating content and telling your customers where to find you, but is your website ready for visitors? A site that is easy to search and browse will win points immediately. People do not want to click around looking for information, they want it readily available. Make it easy for them to consume your content and act on it.
Ensure that your contact information is easily accessible too. You want to make it easy for customers to get in touch, there is no point in hiding this information. Most people look at the both the top and the bottom footer of a website for this; or a ‘Contact Us’ tab. Provide multiple ways to get in touch so they can choose which format is best for them.
Social media advertising
Social media really has changed the way business is done in today’s world. For most businesses, this will be where your clients are. More people than ever are watching You Tube then they are television or visiting news websites and online magazines instead of the paper versions. Traditional marketing still has its place, and should not be forgotten about, however investing more social media advertising should be in the mix. Especially as it is relatively cheap to do.
Advertising on these platforms helps businesses find new potential clients by using the users own information to identify interest rather than reactively targeting users who search a certain term. It is also a great option as you can see the results because of the advanced targeting options and reliable conversion tracking. You can promote your business page, boost content including video, pictures, articles or events.
Content marketing has been around for a long time, but with all of the emerging and established platforms there are plenty of opportunities to share it. With this you can reach a wider audience, and using the correct links can drive traffic to your website.
For example, you can write an article or blog post and share it on your social media, professional forums such as LinkedIn and share it with your customers via a newsletter or email. Remember, if it is not time specific, it can be re-shared or re-worked. Think of other ways it can be shared also; could it be recorded as a video, infographic or an image for Instagram or Pinterest. It is always important to consider the audience, and how they will engage with it.
Short videos are now one of the best formats for sharing information online. Facebook boasts that they get more than 4 billion video views every day. You do not need to spend a small fortune on professional recordings to make a big impact. With free editing tools and your smart phone, engaging videos are easily created. These do not need to be a feature film either. Use these to tease new products or demonstrations.
Live video on Facebook and Instagram is also another way of connecting with your audience. It can be a bit nerve wracking at first, but think of it as a business pitch. If you were in front of client, how would you speak to them and what facts would you want to get across? It will also give your business a more personal and relatable edge.
Team Up and Co-Host
Use your connections. If you have a colleague or client with business that compliment your own, or an industry you would like to tap into, consider teaming up. You could co-host an online webinar, twitter chat or take over, or an event. By teaming up you can split the cost and combine your knowledge and expertise to reach a bigger audience. In turn this will give your brand reputation a boost.
Keep at it
Like all marketing there is not one online technique that will get you instant brand recognition, sales or even website traffic. It all takes time, but as long as you are adding value and you are passionate about what you are doing, you will build a following over the coming months and years. Be sure to commit, like and engage as much as possible in order to get yourself out there.
This article was written for Wales Business a few months ago and was never used. I think my experience and tips are helpful and valid, so I could not let the work go to waste. These simple tools can be implemented to businesses of all sizes, and even those who are looking to boost their blog traffic and subscribers. Would love to read your thoughts?
The Marketing Series
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