You are not alone. That’s a common question I have encountered with DFW area SMB budding entrepreneurs, owners, and executives.
This is Part 2 of a series to help answer your question. If you missed Part 1, click here.
To recap, here is the short list of the five top digital marketing areas to prioritize around and budget for.
Have an Attractive Digital Presence
Get Your Website Search Ready
Provide Authority and Trust
Extend Beyond Organic Search
Integrate Your Digital and Offline Marketing
In Part 1 we discussed the first two priorities. In this post, we address the next two priorities you should consider.
3. Provide Authority and Trust
a) Maintain a Blog
Whether you are selling a service, or product, unless yours is already a well established brand (e.g. Starbucks), or you are completing as a Low Cost Leader, where Price is your only differentiator, you need some means of demonstrating authority and building trust. One of the clearest ways to show-case your expertise online is with quality content on a regularly-updated blog.
50% of online sales are lost when visitors can’t find content
Espresso Digital – Small Business Website Statistics, 2017
Answering questions / solving problems, describing case studies, reviewing products, providing how to information, or interviewing experts, etc. are all approaches you might take. The key is providing value in your content. Use your Google Analytics and keyword research to give you clues as to what will engage and attract a following. For more ideas, check out your competitors and find what is working, or what is missing that you can improve on. Experiment to see what works best for your target audience.
Done well, with strategic focus (keywords), adding this content will help your website ranking on the search engines, as it gives them more opportunities to select your website as best fit for their user’s search. And, it will keep them coming back for more.
b) Signal Social Trust
You cannot beat testimonials from your customers for giving you credibility, and showing that you can successfully deliver a quality product or service. They are a quick way to grab their attention and provide “proof” of trust.
49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
BrightLocal – Local Consumer Review Survey, 2017
A close follow up to testimonials are reviews. You’ve probably used them to select a hotel on a recent trip, or a restaurant you ate at. You may have left a review yourself. Reviews are becoming a powerful means of influencing your customers’ buying decisions, the younger, the greater the impact. Google has recognized this and has featured rating information in their results page and their maps results.
Depending on your business, you may need to plan on strategically encouraging and leveraging reviews, such as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or many others.
4. Extend Your Exposure Beyond Organic Search
a) Have a Social Media Presence
In this era of mobile, social media have become a key to engagement. You have many choices of Social Media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Depending on your customers, Facebook might be a great starting point.
Your best approach is to master one platform at a time rather than trying to start on all at once. Learn the ins and outs of posting content on each platform as you progress – a static home page will not attract or engage your audience.
More than three-quarters (77.6%) reported using social media to promote their businesses
Marketing Charts – BIA/Kelsey Tracking Survey of SMBs, 2016
Like with your blog, you’ll want to have a regular pace of updates, plus your audience on these platforms expect some interaction, which will have to be factored into your plans. Your content should be shared across platforms, along with content unique for the audience on that platform. Ideally, that content is “dripped” out (vs a single blast) to optimize your reach.
The platforms have varying degrees of analytics, but like the SEO concepts you’d use for your website and blog, use their native information to help you understand which content is engaging to your target.
Remember that your objective is to eventually bring that traffic back to your website – the platform YOU own!
b) Pay for Traffic
Getting found online isn’t easy. Luckily for you (and Google’s bank account), there is a way to buy yourself some visibility. PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a quick way to make sure your site comes up in the search results for the key search queries.
Businesses generally make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords
Google – Economic Impact Report, 2016
Depending on the competitiveness in your industry, or to get a strategic boost, you can increase your visibility with Paid Advertising, also often referred to as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. The drawback is the benefits are only temporary.
You have a variety of options for paid advertising. Here is a short list of advertising platforms you ought to consider:
Google Adwords – your #1 choice, but be mindful of competitiveness and costs
Google Shopping Ads – a good choice if you are selling products.
Facebook Ads – proving a cost effective alternative, particularly for Retargeting ads, but recent changes and future changes may change its ROI.
There are more, but mastering these would get a great start.
c) Run Email Campaigns
You are probably now capturing email ids through your website, such as customers. You need to renew your focus on collecting them, and is one key reason why you want to bring traffic back to your website from other platforms.
With your email list in hand you can begin a marketing campaign to connect with past customers or to help shepherd others through their journey to purchase, perhaps with building authority and trust (e.g. with a newsletter).
Businesses generated an average ROI of $44 for every $1 they spent on email marketing
Campaign Monitor – Annual Report Survey, 2016
With a variety of tools (such as MailChimp, Constant Contact)available to construct and track campaigns, this is a proven and cost effective means to help you drive new business while nurturing your authority and trust with your clients. Your same emails can be used as input into your Facebook Ad campaigns, as well.
But Wait… There’s More!
So, now you have the next part of your Digital Marketing Strategy: If you are a small or medium-sized business (in North Texas – Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Frisco – shameless plug 😉 ) besides maintaining an Attractive Digital Presence with a Website is Ready for Search (including Local SEO), you will also want to use that platform to build your Authority and Trust. And you needn’t stop there as there are several ways to Extend Your Exposure beyond – into Social Media, Advertising, and with Email.
You now have some pointers on what to look for as you dig deeper in each of these areas.
In Part 3, we will bring it all together by Integrating your Online and Offline Marketing
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