Updated: Oct 20, 2021
So much out there
The internet created a massive forum for different forms of marketing. What used to be billboard ads and commercials has now turned into brands having real conversations with customers. To give you some insight, you will want to leverage each and every one of these channels, but if you need a place to start, this article will help you find that starting point.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing or SEM is basically google ads. Of course, there are other search engines, but Google has the highest user base. It leverages the search engine’s user base and targets potential customers that are already searching for your product or service. I don’t know of many companies that can get away without having a google ad presence. One of the main benefits is that people searching for your product and service on google are probably already interested in it, so convincing them to buy is more about having a more enticing landing page and working on conversion rate optimization. The ads are typically placed as the top 2 results depending on specific keywords and search criteria. This gives you a lot of potential for new leads.
Piggybacking off the above comment of the interest being there. Typically if you are searching for a product or service, you already want to buy into it. If you are searching for a plumber, you may just take the first number you see and give them a call. If you are looking for a product like dog-themed water bottles, you’ll likely click the first search result. I’d recommend even newer businesses begin with a search engine marketing campaign to start getting the name out.
Search engine optimization
On the topic of search engines, Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the more beneficial marketing tools for your business. Search engine optimization is what ranks your website on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you want to get to that number one spot, then SEO is the way to do it. The main drawback of SEO is the length of time it takes to get ranked. It takes time to get that first page, and it is quite the patience it takes to develop all the backlinks, listing, content, and keyword research. It can sound like a digital marketing agency is trying to pull your ad budget and milk it for all its worth, but it honestly does take time to develop an SEO strategy.
There are some basic ways to do SEO on your own and there are tools that can help you out along the way, but if you are serious about doing it I would recommend focusing your attention on content creation, and then hiring an SEO expert. SEO and content creation can go hand in hand. Search engines like seeing that a website is active, so you can’t just build a website and hope for visitors to come. If you want organic search traffic you are going to need patience.
Social Media Management
Social media is a huge marketing tool. There is a lot to it, but we are going to start with paid advertising on social media. You’re more than likely familiar with channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Each of those channels is unique in its own way, but there is a big difference between Social Media Management and Search Engine Marketing. Social media management is supposed to be far more engaging than your traditional ads. You want a good content strategy, compelling ad copies, and knowing your target audience slightly covers the advertising side. The main difference is, each ad is basically a regular post on that platform. Your audience can like, comment, and share it. It also means you need to engage with your audience too. It is an open forum for individuals to ask questions, rate or review their past experiences, and even give insight to other users as well. It helps create your brand’s personality and can be quite a daunting task.
A few things to consider when starting a social media campaign are how consistent you are with checking it, posting to it, and engaging with it. Luckily if you have a creative imagination and can post roughly 1-2 times per week you can keep your audience engaged and keep that top-of-mind presence every business is looking for. The less you post the fewer people will see you when you do decide to post. Social media platforms will internally boost any content that is engaging to the audience, because well they want to keep their audience on their platform. It’s why you’re more likely to see a video with 1 million views than one with 21 views. Before starting any social media efforts I would recommend creating at least 10 pieces of content. Whether it is a basic post, a long-form blog, a meme, or a video. This will give you a headstart and give you the ability to see where you are going with your content. Then I’d schedule every post using a social scheduler (like we provide *cough*) and then posting to any and every form of social media you want to be a part of.
A few things I want to note is Pinterest is incredibly powerful and is basically its own mini search engine. Tik Tok is also an up-and-comer in the social media marketing space, but creating content may prove to be a bit more difficult (we can help you strategize with that). Also, Snapchat has been doing a really good job with engagement and focusing its audience but it still has a way to go.
I’ve always said that content creation and SEO are basically siblings. Content creation like SEO is one of those pieces that take time but will give you a constant source of organic traffic and leads. If you wrote a blog post about something related to the industry you’re in it will keep people coming back. Content creation has many different forms. Blogs, videos, podcasts, and social media posts are the most common, however, social media posts don’t have the same weight as an older blog or video do. To give you insight check the date of the next video or article you read/watch on the internet. It might be a year old which means that site/channel just got a new viewer and they didn’t even have to do anything for it. Content creation can be fun, and a tedious task as well. The main benefit is. Once you create the content you can post it literally anywhere. For videos, you can upload them to Facebook, and youtube. For podcasts, you can upload them to iTunes, Spotify, stitcher, and so many more. For blogs, you can post them to your website, medium, pocket, and all your social channels. This also shows search engines your site is active and starts creating brand awareness. You don’t need to be an Instagram influencer to get a strong target audience. Just create engaging and compelling content and you will start to see your customer base grow.
Listing and Reputation Management
Your online reputation is worth so much more than you might think. Especially for service-based businesses. If you are a small business and you’re not asking for reviews you need to start. Anything below a 4-star review can really have a negative impact on your business. 88% of consumers are researching products and services online before they buy. Take yourself for example, when was the last time you bought something that was rated 1 star? I personally never have. I really won’t go to any business that is below a 3.5-star rating and that is pushing it. The main issue is if you aren’t asking for reviews from happy customers, you will only get reviews from unhappy customers. You could have 100 satisfied customers and 1 unsatisfied customer. If you only have 2-3 stellar reviews that 1 unhappy customer’s review will tank your rating. Fortunately, there are reputation management tools that can help you ask customers for reviews. Having a 4.0-star rating and up will more than pay for itself. You also aren’t asking for anything crazy from your customers either. Did they have a good experience? Then ask them to quickly go on google or Facebook and give a rating. They can decide to say something positive or just leave it blanks.
Another thing worth mentioning is engaging with happy customers via the review is great. You can also respond to negative reviews as well. This is helpful because if you remember the customer then you can share your side of the story or apologize. Also if it happens to be a fake review then you can also let that be known until it can be dealt with.
To sum it all up
These are the platforms that can help you grow your business and may give you some insight into what you will want to start doing or maybe add to what you are currently doing. As a business owner, you wear many hats. One of which may be marketing, but if you are finding it overwhelming or too time-consuming, it may be time to reach out to a marketing agency to help you out. We can help you develop a strategy and even take care of your marketing for you. Have more time to do what you love and leave the extensive keyword research and content creation to us. Ask us how!