Monthly Archives: November 2016

Why Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Small businesses today are competing with a lot of noise. Consumers are plowing through the clutter as they use DVRs to skip through commercials, install ad-blockers to browse the websites they love without ads interrupting, and customize what shows up in their social media news feeds.

This makes it imperative to find ways to make sure your small business isn’t ignored. Write messages that your target audience will want to see and read. Whether you are looking for topics for social media post inspiration or ideas to use to make your blog posts draw customers in, it’s essential to reevaluate the way you communicate with customers. Replace the sales pitch with helpful information and the consumers will start to open their eyes and ears. Market with the goal to make buyers see your brand as a valued information provider — not an interruption.

This type of marketing is called content marketing. Content marketing focuses on communicating with the customer and creating and distributing information with the intent to engage a target audience and promote brand awareness. Information needs to be relevant and value-packed to help your small business attract and retain customers. Take a look at these 4 ways content marketing can drive results and increase your bottom line.

Ways to Use Content Marketing
Bolster Brand Awareness
One key to a successful content marketing strategy is consistency. Publish fresh content regularly to create multiple opportunities for your target market to see your company’s name. This is one of many ways to stand out from your competition, plus repetition makes your brand more familiar. Stay in the forefront of consumer’s minds so the next time they want or need the products or services you offer, they support you.

Build a Reputation as an Industry Leader
If there are eight electricians in town and only one provides helpful information to people in the community, this is the brand that will stand apart as the trusted expert. Take the necessary actions to demonstrate your expertise so prospective customers don’t question or research your skills. The small business that helps consumers, especially when they aren’t getting paid, will also earn a reputation of being trustworthy.

Reel People In With Shareable Content
Create a steady flow of new information on various topics to open doors and drive traffic to your website. You want to bring people in through search, traditional media, social media, and more. Marketing tactics such as pay-per-click advertising and digital banner ads don’t work as well if there is no content to promote. These vehicles need something to discuss and a place to link to. Publish relevant and current content so people have a reason to click and to encourage repeat visitors. These types of content also boost search engine ranking and increase the chances that potential customers will find your small business before they find your competition.

Keep Your Website Fresh
Today’s consumer relies heavily on the web to find the information needed to make decisions. A website is often a consumer’s first impression of that business, so it’s crucial to make it a good one. A stale website will not impress your customers and gives off an unprofessional vibe. Consumers who are on the fence may look at a website or a social media page multiple times, so make sure to have new information to see to make their experience a better one.

Content marketing is one of the most low-cost and effective ways you can drive traffic and build awareness for your small business. Work to create content that attracts, acquires and engages your target audience. It may take some time to see the results, but don’t give up. Stick with your content marketing strategy and continue to refine it and it will lead your small business to great success.

Easy Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

To grow a successful business, you need to be able to market to customers online and then communicate with them effectively. There are plenty of methods you can use to improve your online customer relationships. Here are some top tips from members of our small business community.

Keep These CRM Influencers on Your Radar
If you want to improve your relationships with customers, then you need to have the best information at your disposal. That means you can benefit from following the CRM influencers listed in this Salesflare post. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell is honored to be included.

Use Social Media Emoji to Humanize Your Business
When attempting to really connect with customers online, it helps if you can humanize your business. And using emoji on social media can help, as this post by Aleh Barysevich at the Social Media Examiner explains. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Get These Marketing Tools for Local Business Owners
Marketing a local business can require a unique set of skills different from those needed to market other kinds of businesses. But there are plenty of tools out there to help you market your local business to the right customers. In this Mobile Marketing Helper blog post, Kevin Cortez shares some essential tools for local marketers.

Go Online to Benefit Your Brick and Mortar Business
Even if you have a store or business that only sells to customers in person, you can still benefit from getting online. You can find some potential benefits for brick and mortar businesses going online in this Revel post by Caitlin Stanley.

Learn About the Cost of Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be a really helpful tool for businesses looking to expand their online reach. But you need to learn about the pricing structure if you’re going to take advantage of it. Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses more here. And BizSugar members chime in with their own thoughts too.

Amp Up Your SMB’s Performance and Productivity
If you want to connect with more customers, increase sales or otherwise improve the chances of your small business succeeding, you need to find ways to improve your business’s performance and productivity.

Build Links Without Creating Content
Content marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses. But it’s not the only way to increase your reach online. This Marketing Land post by Andrew Dennis explains how you can build links without creating your own content.

Define and Create Your Brand Voice
You need to have a consistent brand voice in order to effectively communicate with your customers over time. And you can define and create the right voice for your brand using the tips in this post by Jomer Gregorio on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Take These Steps for SEO Strategy Success
To get your business found online, you need an SEO strategy. But some business owners might not know where to start when creating that strategy. For five steps to a successful SEO strategy, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Sergey Grybniak.

Grow a Site to 10,000+ Visitors a Month
If you want to reach more customers for your small business, you need to get them to your site first. In this post from Basic Blog Tips, Anil Agarwal details how you can quickly grow your site in terms of visitors each month.

Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

hard isn’t it?
Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.
It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.
But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.

To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?
Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?

Online Branding Steps
That’s what this post is about. In this post, I’m going to give you some basic pointers that will set you on the path to building a thriving online presence. You will learn the steps you need to take to begin earning more traffic, getting more subscribers, and converting customers.

Start Your Blog
If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.
Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging:
Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.

It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
Blogs are a great way to build your email list.
So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.
Start Creating Content
After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
Not so fast.

Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard.
You just need to ask yourself the following questions:
What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?
Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.

People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!
Create Your Social Media Strategy
Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.
Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.

Use The Right Social Media Platform
Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.
The key is to find out which services your target market is using the most. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.

Social Media Marketing Is About Being Helpful
Just like writing content, your main objective when using social media should be to help as many people as you can. It’s not about just promoting your products and services. Social media should be used to share your content and engage with your prospective clients.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never use social media to promote your products and services. It’s a great way to create awareness of what your business offers. However, you don’t want to overdo it.

One effective method for sharing on social media is to use the 30/60/10 rule. Here’s how this works:
30 percent of your social media posts should be your own content.
60 percent should be curated posts of other people’s content.
10 percent should be posts that promote your products or services.
You don’t have to stick hard and fast to that ratio. You might find that tweaking it a bit will work better for your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what’s most effective for you.

Build Your Email List
When you start earning more traffic from your content marketing and social media efforts, it’s time to start converting these visitors into subscribers. This is how you will build your online audience and keep in touch with your followers.
Not only is email marketing great for building and nurturing your audience, it’s a highly effective way to get more customers. Email marketing is 40 times more effective than using only social media to attract business.

Give A Compelling Offer
How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.

Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?
So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the “reciprocity principle.” It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.

In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.

The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.

Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:
Ebooks
Cheat sheets
Checklists
White papers
A free consultation
A video teaching
Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.

Engage With Your Audience
After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.
When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.

You don’t want that, right?
Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:
Send updates on your latest blog posts.
Give content that only your email list gets to see.
Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
Give your readers a “behind the scenes” look at what your business is doing.

When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.